The Other McCain

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Shinseki Resigned? This Changes Everything!

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.

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  • M. Thompson

    Pretty much. Start with Tuscon as a warning to the rest of the system.

  • Quartermaster

    I’d say make “Mad Dog” Mattis the hatchet man, but he’d really use a hatchet and record the executions to show “Pour Encourager” to the rest of the lot. Starting in Phoenix would have very good optics.

  • Quartermaster

    Actually, the probability of nothing happening is as close to 1 as you can get in this life.

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  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    The best solution would be disband the VA and reimburse Veterans treatment to third party medical providers (like the government acting as an insurer). But that is not going to happen.

  • Wombat_socho

    We’d be halfway there if they just had the vets who qualify for Medicare seeing civilian healthcare providers instead of the VA – and there’s a pilot program to do just that – but under this Administration it’s going to remain a token.

  • MrPaulRevere

    Have they clawed back those disgusting fraudulently obtained bonuses yet? I’m guessing not. What a damn disgrace.

  • Adjoran

    Shut it down. The VA is a hotbed of union corruption and can no more be “reformed” than the Mafia could.

    Give vets federal employee insurance with vouchers to cover all co-pays and deductibles so they can choose the doctors and hospitals closer to their homes or that best serve their needs. Transfer the benefits check-writing to HHS.

    Vets will get faster, better care with more choice, cheaper for the taxpayers. The union thugs will be out of jobs. It’s a win-win situation.

  • Adjoran

    I not only want the money back, I want those who obtained taxpayer money via fraud and deceit prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    Bunch of damned union thieves is what they are.

  • Adjoran

    Yes, at least under Obama, nothing will happen. Which is why I was sorry to see Shinseki go, he will be made the scapegoat and now we will be told to “give the new man time to get it all fixed,” as if.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady


  • A Federal Employee

    My father (a WWII veteran who passed away with shrapnel still in his body) refused to use the VA (for a number of reasons) until he was in his
    late 70s, and only then because he was in poor health and on a fixed income. Even then, it rankled him.

    What made it worse was that those asshat bureaucrats f**ked with him over minor crap, like having oxygen delivered to his home weekly. They wanted to save money by having him drive 2 hours, one way, to pick it up from a VA medical center. Yeah, right. It took a letter writing campaign and additional documentation that he was a bona fide POW to get the bean counters to back down.

    That was in the late 1980s. Fast forward to the turn of 2001-2010 era, with me living near a VA facility, and knowing a fair number of the employees there. Everyone of whom was either aghast at the incompetence and corruption rampant in the VA, or was happily involved with said incompetence and corruption up to their eyebrows.

    And now we have these latest “revelations”. Terminate the VHA with extreme prejudice? More like, nuke it from orbit to be sure.

    And I concur about cleaning out the Federal civil service. It’s a safe harbor for the corrupt, incompetent, political hacks, and lazy lardbutts. The unions are a big problem, but not the entire problem, there’s plenty of personal fiefdoms that need termination with extreme prejudice.

  • Steve Skubinna

    The problems in the VA are endemic to bureaucracy – it’s the nature of the beast. Mission creep, empire building, careerism, over emphasis on “metrics” all add up. Some bureaucracies can resist it for a longer time, on the other hand DHS sprang fully formed from George Bush’s forehead with all the sclerotic corruption and incompetence other agencies require generations to develop.

    What this really is, is a lesson to never permit the government to assume responsibilities beyond the narrow ones laid down in the Constitution. The framers knew what they were writing about. And so did Lord Acton:

    “Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    The solution, as has been noted here and elsewhere, is privatization. It will never happen while Obama, or any other Democrat, is in power. Nor will it happen under an establishment Republican.

  • M. Thompson

    Nah, keep Mattis out of this, and let him run in 2016 as a White Knight Presidential candidate.

    Insty reccomends former Tenn Gov Breslin (sp) who’s done similar things in the past.

  • Quartermaster

    I doubt he’s sufficiently insane to try. He has a strong business background and knows a losing proposition when he sees it. As I recall, he had no designs on higher office. Tenn Gov was as far as he wanted to go.

  • M. Thompson

    That is the issue.

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  • Dana

    The idea of giving the vets Tricare without copays is the best one I’ve heard; that gets them into the private health care system.

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