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Cnn's Jack Cafferty Blasts Va


Finally, national media attention.

This was an awsome story and I think will air again tomarrow.


This weekend’s show

This weekend the gang looks at how the government is failing when it comes to caring for our injured vets, and why “shopping ‘till we drop” this holiday season is bad for America



This covers both healthcare and the claims process.


Edited by timetowinarace
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  • HadIt.com Elder

Time thanks I had just found it and was going to post it, Jack is one of the good guys when it comes to us, last year when he was still on the morning show he read one of my answers about things we wish we could take back, I wrote that I wished I could take back "rasiing my hand for the chemical weapons and drug tests done at Edgewood Arsenal between 1955 - 1975" Bill Hemmer was like "wow" he sent me an autographed coffee cup the kind they used on the show back them FEDEX'd it even lol :huh:

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I see a light starting to flicker here.......within 3 weeks there has been more focus on Vets than I have seen in years......We need to keep those e-mails coming.......It does work.

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Muchas gracias for sharing this, Time. Is anyone on hadit.com truly surprised by the contents of this transcript? Not if they're firmly grounded in reality and not blinded by delusional, corrupted, self-serving partisan politics. Just my humble opinion.

I cringe ever time I see a news segment or read a news article where our national politicans routinely wrap themselves in our flag and proclaim how they "support our troops and veterans"....and then a review of their voting records disproves those claims - showing how they have either sponsored or condoned status quo or cutbacks to the VA's budget.

A million backlogged claims at the VA expected by next year....Cafferty and his colleagues are so right....what a national disgrace!! -- Michael

Here is the portion on VA funding. The link will bring up the entire transcript.


CAFFERTY: Another triumph of, what is it -- form over substance. Gee, why am I surprised?

President Bush wound up his trip to Iraq this week by brushing off calls for a U.S. pullout. This, as the administration gets ready to ask Congress for a big check to fund the war. The cost of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan also includes helping veterans once they come back to the United States. And according to a new study when you factor in those costs the price tag of the war goes through the ceiling. Linda Bilmes is a co-author of that study, and a former assistant secretary of commerce. She's now a lecturer of public finance at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Linda, it's nice to have you with us. Welcome.


CAFFERTY: Can we get a number on this? Is it possible to get your arms around the dollars involved and help -- we've got a million kids go to war in Iraq as we've rotated troops in and out of there, how much is it costing the taxpayers? The part of the bill we don't hear about.

BILMES: That's right, Jack. Even if we pulled out tomorrow the budgetary cost, the cost to the taxpayers is well over a trillion dollars.

CAFFERTY: A trillion?

BILMES: That's right. And the reason is that even after we pull out, we still have to pay $125 billion to take care of veterans and we have to replace all of the military equipment that's being used up.

ELAM: Linda, I was curious, because originally the Bush administration was saying we were looking at $60 billion for this. And obviously when you factor in all of the taking care of vets, also you need the weapons, do you think the Bush administration really knew it was going to be more than that and they were downplaying the numbers or do you think they really just got sidelined here?

BILMES: Well, I think it's interesting that everyone in the administration said that this was going to cost $60 billion and the only person who deferred from that was Larry Lindsey, the economic adviser. He said it might cost over $100 billion and he was actually fired for saying that.

WESTHOVEN: Linda, I think you said $125 billion is the tab for the health care for vets, is that right?

BILMES: That's right. That's right.

WESTHOVEN: Why is there -- I mean, that's huge, right? Compared to what they were talking about early in the day. Why were so they so far off the mark just in terms of the health care bill? I mean, this is something that we know every time we go to war, we're going to have to take care of our veterans?

BILMES: Well, I think what's happened here is that the number of veterans who are coming home and who are claiming medical care and disability benefits is much, much higher than we anticipated. And we've already had over 200,000 veterans who've come home from Iraq and sought medical care from the V.A. We've had another 150,000 who have come back and sought counseling services from the V.A. and we expect that at least 50 percent of those who have served will claim for disability benefits at a minimum because that's how many claimed in the first Gulf War.

CAFFERTY: Can you compare the war in Iraq with the other military conflicts we've been involved? And I'm thinking in terms of, for example, in Vietnam, we lost 58,000 soldiers. We've lost almost 3,000 in Iraq. And yet the number of wounded soldiers, as a percentage of the overall force, the people who come back with devastating injuries seems to be much higher than perhaps it was in some of the earlier conflicts.

BILMES: Well, that's right, Jack. In the -- in the Vietnam War, there were three soldiers wounded for every one killed. In Iraq, there are eight soldiers wounded who come back seriously wounded for every one killed. Now, obviously the improvements in body armor are a good thing, but it does mean that there is a large cost to taking care of our wounded veterans and this is what we had not anticipated and what the Veterans' Administration has been overwhelmed with.

ELAM: It seems to be that I'm focusing more on the economy when I look at this, but it seems to me that all of this money that has been transported out could have been used somewhere else here in the United States. Where else do you think this money could have been more usefully played?

BILMES: Well, I mean, a lot of the money that has been used here has ended up in the hands of, for example, a Nepali contractors that doesn't have much use in the United States. But I think the bigger question is, where has the money gone? If you look at the Defense Department's own audit reports and its own inspector general reports, they say, not my words, that there are tens of billions of dollars that are simply missing. They have a financial statement that has never received a clean opinion and they are very concerned internally about the fact they actually don't know where all of the money has gone.

WESTHOVEN: That is one of the driving reasons that you think you to come out with the kind of research that says, you know, good or bad we're trying to take a look at the estimate for the total cost of the war in Iraq because it seems like you can get those kinds of numbers straight from the federal government?

BILMES: That is one of the reasons. I think the other reason that is every time one of our congressmen votes to add more money for the war, they're making an implicit cost-benefit analysis. They're saying the benefit we're getting is worth the cost. So, we need to have an accurate look at what the cost actually is.

CAFFERTY: How do you reconcile the kinds of numbers you're throwing around? Tens of billions of dollars that have simply fallen through cracks? And yet I get e-mails on THE SITUATION ROOM, here on CNN in the afternoon, from military families that are on of food stamps. We have a long history in this country of not taking care of the veterans once the fighting is over. What does that say about our national mind-set and what can we possibly do to begin to address the welfare of these wives and children of the soldiers who are fighting and dying over there and who have to live at poverty level or in some cases even below, in this country?

BILMES: Jack, I could not agree with you more. This is a national disgrace. It's a national scandal. We are sending 18, 19- year-old kids over to Iraq and when they come back we're not processing their claims. The number of backlogged claims, that is soldiers who have fought, who have come back, who have claimed, they're backlogged at Veterans Administration now, has risen from 400,000 to 600,000 and we expect it to reach a million claims by next year. It's absolutely outrageous that these kids then come home and face this paperwork trial.

CAFFERTY: And yet the checks are cut Halliburton on time, I assume.

BILMES: I'm sure they are.

CAFFERTY: Yeah. Linda, you're right, it's a national disgrace. I couldn't agree more. Thank you for putting a little light on it here IN THE MONEY today, I appreciate it.

BILMES: Thank you very much, Jack.

CAFFERTY: Linda Bilmes, lecturer of public finance, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.


What an awsome point. While Veterans fight for bennifits for years, Halliburton doesn't seem to have the same problem.


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Sorry, the first time I hit submit, I got one of those "this page cannot be displayed" screens. So, I hit back and then hit submit a second time. Oopsie....Michael

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