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Neither Sense nor Sensibility

March 20, 2009

The good news – well, ‘olds’ actually – is that the administration of Change and Hope has changed the plan that they hoped would squeeze $540 million out of wounded veterans. The bad olds is that this doesn’t change the fact that they hoped they could do so in the first place and that it took massive protests from veterans, Congress and others to make the kids who had come up with that idea realise how stupid it is. Well, they certainly paid with a lot of political brownie points and let’s hope they moved up a bit on their long and steep learning curve.

Meanwhile, the French Cowboy is wondering whether this idea was the result of a total lack of political sensitivity or the conscious wish to stick it to veterans, the military, and private insurance companies. If the White House was ruled by a computer which had been fed with a (myopic) algorithm and a bunch of parameters to calculate ways to set free a few hundred million dollars of the government’s expenses, it might have pointed its virtual finger on the Department of Veterans Affairs saying: “Look, here’s that set of entities that cause a lot of medical costs to the government despite their private insurance. Why treat those entities any different than the rest of the entities that comprise the total of voting entities?” But you would expect actual human beings to take into consideration whether the proposal is compatible with certain moral values or at least whether it’s politically feasible.

So does the administration work with myopic algorithms or do they actually think that it is a good thing if their redistributive efforts hurt veterans and the military? Most likely the answer is a mix between the two. The smart kids in the White House are themselves probably by a majority rather unsympathetic to all things military. Their logic might be that today’s veterans have fought wars that the Great Obama would not have engaged in in the first place, so their feats are not honourable. Hence, they figure, why should Obama sacrifice his plans to transform federal government only to pay for the treatment of those who caught bullets in the name of Obama’s unworthy predecessors? And since from now on all wars will be prevented through ‘tough diplomacy’, there’s no need to consider negative effects on the morale or the enrollment numbers of the – soon to be obsolete – military either.

If this is how team Obama believes things to be then – and here comes the ignorance part – they must have a tendency to assume that a majority of Americans see them likewise. So when Obama’s pseudo Brain Trust that puts science in its rightful place came up with the result of its calculations and proposed to leave veterans alone with their service connected disabilities, they thought nothing of taking up this idea until out there, in the real world, it became clear that this plan would cut away a huge chunk of Obama’s political capital. As much as Obama and his friends wished it were otherwise, the fact that Obama got elected doesn’t mean that Americans are longing for the trampling of conservative values.

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