No More Lip Service – Letâ€™s Actually Support The Troops!
By: J.J. Jackson
Here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania we are supposed to be guaranteed a â€œrepublicanâ€ form of government. Itâ€™s in the United States Constitution if you doubt this. Look it up.
That means that I and other Pennsylvanians go to the polls and elect representatives to the legislature who in turn we expect to go to Harrisburg to vote on issues and manage a strict list of affairs delegated to them. Believe it or not, we actually pay them to do this too!
So I get more than a little perturbed when our elected representatives decide that they are not going to do their job. May I present to you Exhibit â€œAâ€ as this year in Pennsylvania our elected officials have placed on the ballot the â€œPersian Gulf Conflict Veterans’ Compensation Fundâ€ which is a plea to the people of the Commonwealth to let them borrow money. What our representatives are basically doing is giving us a direct democracy which requires every person who votes to cast an opinion on an issue.
The Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans’ Compensation Fundâ€™s basis is noble. The legislature, which we are now paying to sit around and play golf I guess, wants to borrow money to compensate soldiers that served in the Persian Gulf Conflict. And they are asking us for approval.
I will come right out and say that I am all for compensating our troops for their service. In fact I am all for dramatically increasing the pay our soldiers get. They do not get enough and are vastly under appreciated while other Americans get paid to sit on their asses through any number of social welfare programs.
But what I am not for is how the legislature wants to go about this. Like I said, this is an attempt at direct democracy which we do not have in this country.
What the legislature wants to do is be able to avoid having to go on record as having supported borrowing $20 million dollars which really wonâ€™t give a serious â€œthank youâ€ to our soldiers. In fact the Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans’ Compensation Fund will only give a measly $525 dollars to veterans who served in the Conflict.
Letâ€™s face it. The men and women that serve our country certainly do not do it for the money. But come on. This is nothing. If weâ€™re going to try and put a dollar figure on this noble service I dare say we have not done a good job with the Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans’ Compensation Fund.
And why do we have to borrow the money? Canâ€™t the greedy little bastards in Harrisburg give up some of their pork and their power to come up with this extra reward for our soldiers? Do you mean to tell me that out of our $26.1 BILLION budget here in Pennsylvania we cannot find $20 million? We already send a lot of money to these guys and gals in the form of taxes and now they want to burden us with debt too?
To be fair, the proposition also provides $5,000 to any veteran who was a prisoner of war and also to the families of a veteran who died during the conflict. Ok better, but not really that good. Iâ€™m sure that families of soldiers killed would love the extra $5,000 but is that all that their ultimate sacrifice was worth? $5,000? Forgive me for thinking the life of patriots is more precious than that!
This is typical political pandering from politicians who want to mortgage the future to be able to say they did something that made them feel good today. I know there are a lot of people on November 7th that will vote yes on this proposal to show their support for our troops. But this proposal does not do them justice and quite frankly flies in the face of the concept of republican government. At the risk of sounding cruel and mean I will tell you right now I am voting â€œnoâ€ on the Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans’ Compensation Fund because this is the job of our politicians and not the voters.
So let us lay out a better plan ok?
First of all, I want our politicians to show some balls and vote for compensating our troops themselves rather than floating it before the public to see if they can avoid potential fallout from those that may not like the idea. They should do what we are paying them to do rather than working on shaving a stroke or two off their golf game.
Second of all I want to see a proposal that does not borrow money for the sake of a future political campaign commercial. You know the ones I am talking about. The ones that will say â€œIâ€™m Joe Schmoe politician and I supported additional compensation for our troops and for their service. Oh, and by the way my opponent wants to drink the blood of your children. Vote for me!â€ What they wonâ€™t tell you is it was only $525 dollars. Which is nothing more than a pittance for their sacrifices.
And lastly I want to see a proposal where politicians are actually sacrificing a portion of their own pork and kickback spending to accomplish what is a worthy goal. Iâ€™m sure we can find tons of programs to shave a few dollars from in order to come up with money for a serious â€œthank youâ€.
How about we take just 5% of our budget (that is $1.3 BILLION which is about what the budget increased by this year anyway) and use that to support our troops? Thatâ€™s sixty-five times what you slobs in Harrisburg are proposing. Letâ€™s make the compensation real and letâ€™s show our veterans that we really do support them and appreciate their service.
Such a pot to pull from would mean $34,125 for veterans that served and $325,000 for veterans who were POWs and for families of slain soldiers. I would go for that! Iâ€™ll seriously consider voting for a candidate that would propose this!
Itâ€™s still not enough, especially to compensate the families of those that were killed but if we are going to try and put a price on military service letâ€™s at least make a real gesture of support for the men and women that protect the sorry rear ends of fat, dumb and happy politicians.
The problem is that such a real and genuine â€œthank youâ€ would ultimately mean these bums in Harrisburg would have to give up some of their power. They certainly would not want to do that now would they? Heck no!
On Election Day the Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans’ Compensation Fund will probably pass even without my vote and our troops will be thanked for their service to the sum of $525 each. Could we at least throw in a gold watch too?
J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author from Pittsburgh, PA who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the Pittsburgh Conservative Examiner for Examiner.com. He is also the owner of The Right Things - Conservative T-shirts & Gifts The Right Things. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at Liberty Reborn.