Editorial: Good deal sounds an alarm

Jul. 28, 2014 @ 11:39 PM

Monday’s deal to help fix the Department of Veterans Affairs should send an alarming signal to lawmakers at the local, state and federal levels.

Know if programs are working because if they become broken, the price is heavy.

Human lives have been significantly impacted by the poor effort from our government. No amount of money infused to fix the problems will change those tragedies. But we can hope that the future will be brighter for those who defended the red, white and blue with courage. Our responsibility now is to provide them care and dignity.

Sadly, we have not.

The price tag of $17 billion is astounding. Lucky for the federal government, they are not required to balance their budget, as the folks on Jones Street and Rose Avenue do.

That figure represents a flashing neon caution to our lawmakers closer to home. The programs they are charged with maintaining don’t carry dollars in that ballpark. But the services provided are almost always affecting a larger percentage of population among neighbors.

Percentages might be the same, but 10 percent within a group of 100 can be a more significant impact than 10 percent within a group of 1,000. There’s a few industries that can vouch for how that has worked since 2008.

What happened at the VA is subject to debate. Whether some chose to look the other way or some were not capable of handling duties, the bottom line is the department failed our veterans. It should have never happened, certainly not to this degree.

So now we’ve got $10 billion in emergency spending, $5 billion for hiring doctors and nurses, and another $1.5 billion for facilities.

The bill, expected to be signed before the week ends and representatives go home on recess, is being called reform. We’ve also heard that description with immigration — another dastardly mess gripping our hearts and tax dollars.

Responsibility extends deep with our government leaders. And we share in the requirement to make sure they do their job.

The cost of repair is great.