Friday, May 16, 2008

Garrett, I Understand

Representative Scott Garrett is catching a bit of hell for his vote against the new GI Bill the other day. I think most of us in Garrett's position would have voted for the bill, but I understand why Garrett voted against the bill. It has nothing to do with Garrett's comments on the issue, because as usual he didn't make any. It also has nothing to do with the BS reasons given by the opponents saying it was a tax on small business, because it's not.

No, actually it was one of the arguments by a proponent of the bill. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, who I have a tremendous amount of respect for (due to her work to reign in private contractors like Blackwater and the abuses and waste they create in Iraq), said the following:
We are talking about people who are making over $1 million to pay a small sacrifice for this war where our military families are paying a huge sacrifice.

I suppose that's what I don't like about how they decided to fund the bill: targeting millionaires to pick up the entire tab. No one denies the way things have gone the last few years that certain income brackets (none of which I'm in) have done better than others in terms of taxes, however, those who serve in the military are all of our responsibility.

I crunched the numbers, and to pay for this bill without adding to the deficit, the average tax bill of $11,081.26 would have to go up $53.79. Basically, if you multiply your taxes paid by 0.004854202 that would be your increased contribution.

I don't know if I'm alone on this or not, but I've often said I have no problem with my taxes going up if I knew it was going to veterans. It's a national disgrace that we have veterans who are homeless, veterans who are lacking medical care, and veterans who find themselves struggling to make ends meet. Veterans have been willing to give their lives so all of us can have our freedoms, and we don't do enough for them.

Unfortunately, partisan politics and ideology have gotten in the way of providing what our troops need. The Republicans want to pass costs on to the next generation, and only support the troops in campaign commercials; while the Democrats want to only go after millionaires when all of us should be helping the troops and veterans. Meanwhile, things don't get better for O-U-R troops and veterans.

In that sense, I simply wish Democrats would show some real leadership and ask all of us to make the sacrifice. The Republicans didn't ask anybody to sacrifice, except future generations and military families, and now the Democrats are saying only millionaires and military families should. I understand the ideology and I understand this is an election year, but I'm sick of our troops being used as partisan political talking points instead of being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

We all should be kicking in for this, among other programs, for veterans; it's the least we can do when weighed against what they have been willing to do for us.

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