Alan Simpson’s scorn for people who use federal money goes beyond… well, everyone, in the form of Social Security. He also doesn’t like it when Vietnam-era soldiers breathed Agent Orange and put their greedy little hands out to cough into them because they had respiratory trouble the rest of their lives.
The system that automatically awards disability benefits to some veterans because of concerns about Agent Orange seems contrary to efforts to control federal spending, the Republican co-chairman of President Barack Obama’s deficit commission said Tuesday.
Former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson’s comments came a day after The Associated Press reported that diabetes has become the most frequently compensated ailment among Vietnam veterans, even though decades of research has failed to find more than a possible link between the defoliant Agent Orange and diabetes.
“The irony (is) that the veterans who saved this country are now, in a way, not helping us to save the country in this fiscal mess,” said Simpson, an Army veteran who was once chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
Yes, that is ironic!
Now, the specific issue is more a scientific one, about cause and effect. But it’s interesting that Simpson brings this up now, precisely as victims of Agent Orange end a 40-year wait for compensation from the government for a variety of ailments. Far from just handing out cash, the government made these soldiers wait 40 years to know if they would be fairly treated for the poison that their own country rained down on them in Vietnam.
If the country didn’t use a toxic herbicide to defoliate the jungle in a war without necessity that was based on lies, maybe we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Maybe if Simpson’s father, Milward, didn’t vote for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution and actively worked to oppose the rush to war, nobody would have been exposed. Maybe if Simpson and the ruling class weren’t so damned bloodthirsty, we wouldn’t have choices like this to make. Maybe if our health care system was in line with every other country on Earth, giving Agent Orange sufferers the care they need, regardless of the cause and effect, wouldn’t be such a burden.
In other words, Simpson’s problem is not with wasteful spending, it’s with the entire system he spent a life perpeutating.