Posted on | May 31, 2014 | 34 Comments
So Eric Shinseki resigned yesterday as Veterans Affairs Secretary and is going to be replaced by Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson. And lo, all over Facebook, Twitter, and the rest of the Intertubes there was much rejoicing, for Something Had Been Done. Now there’s a lot of discussion over who’s going to be Shinseki’s successor, because of course all we need is the right guy in charge over there, right? Somebody to clean house, exorcise the eeeevil culture of sinister ineptitude, and usher in a new dawn of caring, sensitive, timely care for all those who served, right? Maybe Jim Webb can clean this Augean stable! Or Mad Dog Mattis!
Yeah, right. In case you missed my previous post about the VA, I suggest you go back and read it. The problems with the VA don’t start with Obama -although he’s done precious little about the problem except hector Congress for more money and pissed it away when he got it- or with Bush, as some on the left are trying to claim*, or even with Bill Clinton, Bush The Elder, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon or LBJ, to name just the presidents whose administrations I personally remember. You think it’s actually going to make a difference who replaces Shinseki? The Rock has some advice for you.
The only things that will change the VA are an aggressive expansion of the program to take Medicare-eligible vets out of the VA system and hand them off to civilian healthcare providers, and giving the new Secretary the power to utterly purge the Veterans Health Administration of everyone connected with the current scheduling debacle. Both of these will be fought tooth and nail by the existing bureaucrats and their union, along with the Democrats in Congress who are their allies – and the Establishment RINOs who just want to go along to get along. Of the two, I think the former is more likely, since it doesn’t do much to imperil the bureaucracy in the short term and is the simplest way for the current Administration to look like it’s “doing something for veterans”. Ideally, we’d terminate the Veterans Health Administration with extreme prejudice** and give veterans who can’t afford medical care Tricare without co-pays, but in that world we wouldn’t have the Departments of Education, Energy, Homeland Security and other exrescences either. Small steps. Reduce the load on the existing system now, and make reform of the VHA the opening wedge for destroying the civil service – or at least ridding the Federal government of its employee unions. One thing’s for sure, changing the man at the top won’t make any more difference to the Department of Veterans Affairs than changing the figurehead on a sailing ship made to the way it handled.
*h/t Charlie Martin on Facebook.
**There are other parts of the VA that aren’t nearly so screwed up.