According to the NY Times, all 470 senior executives at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) were rated as “fully successful” or better over the past 4 years and 80% of them received bonuses on top of their six-figure incomes in 2013. Yes, they are fully successful at Poor Management which caused the deaths of as many as 1000 veterans who did not receive proper medical care. The schedulers at the VA were “successfully” directed to keep secret waiting lists to delay medical care for sick and injured vets so that management could meet quotas which qualified them for bonuses.
The VA paid out $2.7 million in taxpayer funds for senior executive bonuses last year. This was True Success…for VA Senior Executives. Bravo.
Gina Farrisee, the Assistant Secretary for Human Resources at the VA argued that the bonus awards were necessary to compete in tough labor markets for skilled personnel.
I find her defense of executive bonuses hard to believe as it is an employers’ market with a plethora of talented people looking for work. The Weekly Standard reports that the average federal employee made $126,141 in pay and benefits in 2012, more than double the private sector average. More “success” for Federal Employees..at the expense of the Taxpayer.
Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) says that the VA doctors have an easy job compared to their private sector counterparts. He says that the VA doctors see about 1200 patients per year, compared to private sector doctors who attend to 2300 patents per year. In Phoenix, private sector doctors do almost twice as much work while earning about half of what the VA doctors make, which is in excess of $300,000. Salary “success” for Federal Doctors.
This list names the employees of the scandal-plagued Phoenix VA facility and reveals their salaries, in a first step toward transparency:
As a result of the failed wars in the Middle East, VA expenditures have doubled over the past 12 years. The VA spent $61 billion in 2001, compared to funding in 2012 that rose to a whopping $125 billion. “Success” for the taxpayers who are bankrolling the corrupt system.
Meanwhile, the Senate is proposing throwing money at the VA problem that could cost taxpayers an extra $50 billion per year, instead of rooting out the corruption and fixing the system.
Tom Coburn says money is not the solution as the VA is expected to have $5.9 billion in unspent funds at the end of the year. He recommends that Congress provide better oversight of the VA, transparency, accountability and the firing of bad employees.
Senator Coburn’s assessment is right on target, but doesn’t go far enough. Any VA employe who committed a serious crime, especially management, should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Some “success” should be punished, and renamed criminal fraud and waste.
The objective of Congress should be to focus on reducing VA costs by eliminating war.
The beneficiaries of war are the elites who control the Military Industrial Complex. The elites and bureaucracies like the VA are enjoying the “success” of the wars in the Middle East that are profitable only to them.
The wars have brought only death, destruction and complete misery to American soldiers and to the countries that were “liberated”. American vets are committing suicide at a rate of 22 per day! US military operations are bankrupting America. Hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya have been killed as a result of US intervention. This is the real cost of war.