Comments about ‘Michael Gerson: Why the VA scandal sticks’

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Published: Thursday, May 22 2014 10:52 p.m. MDT

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Durham, NC

The problem I have with this piece is once again it is being played as though it were a partisan issue. I completely agree this administration should have its feet held to the fire on how it deals with this issue. There is nothing that cuts to the core more of American Vets families than the treatment of our returned veterans, and the Obama administration owns that responsibility - no excuses.

But this issue reaches back not 5 or 6 years, but decades. A good friend of mine in our ward is a Vietnam vet, who sat on the wait list with debilitating knee issues for many years. It was not until a lady in our ward who worked for the VA bumped him up the priority list that he got needed treatment. This was 7 or 8 years ago.

Before that, my grandfather was a WW I vet who suffered PTSD - though they didn't call it that back then. He died in deplorable conditions in the VA hospital in Salt Lake.

This is a decades old problem, that finally is getting its due attention. The Obama administration may not have created the problem, but they own fixing it.

There You Go Again
Saint George, UT

"...Conservatives are convinced that the liberal media are harder on Republicans. There is a natural human tendency to attribute good motives to people with whom you agree — and corrupt motives to people with whom you don't. This is also not unknown in the conservative media...".


Thanks to the washington post employee for proving his thesis.

Centerville, UT

Will someone please remind us of anything Obama has done well?

Anything at all?

One failure after another. One mistake after another. One lie after another. Blunder after blunder.

I guess we could say he won two elections. That is an indictment of the voters who put this man in the Oval Office.

History will judge us very poorly for electing this man.

I'm proud to say I didn't vote for him.

Can you tell I am frustrated? I would much rather have a competent, decent Democrat in the White House than a poor Republican. I would rather our country be successful. But the past several years have shown us that Obama is a very poor president.

Pleasant Grove, UT

Take a long look at the VA, and think about whether single-payer is really where we want to go.

Virginia Beach, VA

Deseret News certainly loves its "Conservative" columnists . . . Will, Krauthammer, Gerson, et al . . . All impressively verbose and all offering nothing much in the way of legitimate criticism or useful insight.

So the VA is a problem huh? And it's because of Obama's incompetence and Liberalism? “It is the Obama administration in sum and in miniature: incompetent management of a health system . . .”

. . . Sure it is.

That's why Walter Reed Hospital in DC was closed down right? Because of the "Neglect Scandal" in 2007.

. . . Oh but wait, 2007 precedes Obama's time in office.

If Liberalism is the cause of all this incompetence in the VA, then it must be all the hard core Liberals working for the Bush administration who caused that scandal as well . . . except Bush's Republican administration didn't employ many Liberal Democrats, did it?

"Conservative" columnists sure know how to rant and rave, but unfortunately for them, a little thing called REALITY usually disagrees with what they say.

Madsen Hall Magic
Centerville, UT

We liberals now recognize that Obama (liberal progressive) has been a mistake.

OK, we own that one. Sorry.

But if we can just get Hillary (liberal progressive) into the White House, with Nancy Pelosi back in as Speaker of the House, and Harry Reid to continue on as Senate Majority Leader, then we'll be able to solve all the problems in America.

The problem has really been those pesky Republicans that have stonewalled everything.

But if Hillary can win, maybe I can get a new cell phone, and the government will pay off my student loans, and also my mortgage. I may never have to pay for gas in my car again. And the rising waters will go back to normal. Climate chaos will go away. I think the government will build me a new home with those solar panels on the roof.

It'll all happen with Hillary because she's poor and knows what its like. She'll tax the rich and take everything from them and give it all to the rest of us.

And healthcare will finally be a single payer system. Like the VA. That's what we really need.

salt lake city, UT

Oh boy, this article is really streched. Seems is all the GOP and it's minions have been doing for 6 years is throwing scandals up against the wall, like spaghetti noodles, to see if something sticks. The current or past issues with the VA are hardly an indictment against BO. The only ones who believe that are Faux News loyalist or right wing partisans. We're grateful we have an incredible President who has guided this country out of it's deepest recession, opened up an avenue for healthcare to all Americans, passed legislation to protect consumers from financial predators and laid the foundation for clean energy independence.
For two more years, the radical right will continue to toss scandals up against the wall but at the end of 8 years BO and his proud legacy will be left standing.

clearfield, UT

Hate to break the news to you, but now even many of Obamas strongest supporters are having to face the truth, and they are admitting it. Your quote. incredible President who has guided this country out of it's deepest recession........ is so false on so many fronts that I have to believe you are talking about FDR. Because it sure isn't Obama. And as I mentioned, there are now, finally, after all of this incompetancy, some Obama supporters who are finally admitting that Obama has been a disappointment. In this latest scandle, we have the spectacle of Obama saying he found out about the VA issues only a few days ago. However, his transition team was informed of the problems by the Bush people, and not only that, Obama made mention of this issue himself years ago. Now, he, and Carney and others are trying to cover up once again for him with the "I had no idea" defense. Pathetic Man, President, and Leadership, (or lack of). Biggest Presidential mistake in American history. That is and will be his legacy.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

When government fails, the failure can always be traced back to the corrupt influence of private parties. The reason is simple and logical. Government competes with private business and has advantages that allow it to provide the better goods and services at a lower price than private business. Mainly the unnecessary requirement of making a profit.

Businessmen oblivious to their true responsibility to the society of people have the notion that government should provide the opportunity for business rather than take it away. In the case of Veterans Administration services they would hamper and hinder and even prevent the government service in order to bolster the private doctors.

It seems to me that the Republicans have failed at discrediting President Obama by their campaign against his policies, so they now are using a strategy of destroying those who work for him. By harassing and removing those who work for Obama they can hamper the election of democrats in the future.

Centerville, UT

Ultra Bob,

If what you say is true, then why does government always cost more to provide the same service? Why is the USPS always non-profitable and over budget when FedEx and other carriers are profitable?

Why would the government Defense Department hire independent contractors if it was cheaper to do it themselves?

The list is endless. Evidence and history shows that government is more expensive and wasteful than business because business has a self-interest to make profit, whereas government has a seemingly endless supply of tax money and politicians are not held to the same accountability.

I own a small business and manage it very carefully.

So why have there been news reports of government agencies wasting money on posh resorts, trips to Vegas, $400 screwdrivers?

You comment is completely wrong.

salt lake city, UT

@SC Fan
"Pathetic Man, President, and Leadership, (or lack of). Biggest Presidential mistake in American history. That is and will be his legacy."
Wow, that's quite a stretch even for an ardent follower of Faux News and Talk Radio. Even if your not a student of US History you should be old enough to remember a president named George Bush.

Centerville, UT


Typical liberal defense--"the Republicans did it too!" Doesn't make it right.

So Bush was president in 2007. Does that make single payer, socialized medicine better? Absolutely not. Liberalism and socialism are never better than freedom and free markets. So put a Republican over a socialist system and the system will still fail. Just like we see at the VA hospitals. Just more evidence that you're wrong.

Hans Delbruck
Spokane, WA

To Ultra Bob:

Ah yes, if it wasn't for those pesky entrepreneurs, greedy small business owners, and corrupt Mom & Pop shops that just keep springing up out of thin air everywhere, the government could meet all our needs in its natural utopian fashion.

My suggestion for you would be to grab a copy of the writings of Adam Smith and John Locke, as well as an Economics 101 textbook, and rethink your philosophies about the relationship between government and free enterprise. Even the Chinese have figured this out.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

David of Centerville
Government is supposed to do the things we ask it to do, economically if possible, but to get the job done before worrying about cost.

The last time I was aware, it costs less than 1/2 dollar to mail a letter. FedEx runs about $10. When my meds got to $11,000 per year, I checked and found I could get them from the VA for less than $2000 per year. My barber used to make a trip to Mexico to get the meds for his family and said it was cheaper than buying them here in Utah. Now he says Obamacare makes it cheaper to buy the meds here rather than go to Mexico.

Our government uses private enterprise to supply much of the military's needs. The military/industrial complex corrupts our government by bribing politicians. On my boat, long before the use of private suppliers, we had a cook that baked the best bread that I had ever eaten.

You say the list is endless, I challenge you to find some examples.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The Mom and Pop shops that you say keep springing up have a very high casualty rate due to the predator businessmen that thrive on them. And I don't think there are any Mom and Pop shops that are a part of the military/industrial complex.

My book says that government is created by people to do the things that the people cannot or just don't want to do for them selves. There is no exact formula and the things that people can ask of their government are limited on by the ability of the government.

The institution of business is the creation of people living in a joint society to fairly and properly provide the sharing of the talents and problems of the society. The people in general own the institution of business and they can make rules for business to match their needs and desires.

Durham, NC

@David.... you ask a question.... "If what you say is true, then why does government always cost more to provide the same service? Why is the USPS always non-profitable and over budget when FedEx and other carriers are profitable?"

Quick answer - USPS has a regulated budget which requires it fund employee benefit 20 years in advance. Remove that requirement which is unique to USPS, they would be just as profitable. But that is also a moot point because by law, no agency of the government is to be a profit center. It is counter its charter. Why don't you ask FedEx to deliver a letter from your house to another cross country - door to door - for 50 Cents.... see what their response is.

More talk radio arguments based on emotional hate than anything factual.

"Why would the government Defense Department hire independent contractors if it was cheaper to do it themselves?"

Because by statute, the DoD is not allowed to do many tasks, or the task is not part of its corp mandate. Why does Shell, Exxon, Chevron higher companies like WiPro, Accenture, etc to run their data centers? Are these also poorly run companies - because they ruse contractors?

Hayden, ID

The purpose of bureaucracies is to serve the bureaucrats first and bureaucracies are never accountable nor transparent! This VA scandal (and all the rest of them) proves it! The growth and expansion of federal government bureaucrats are out of control and impossible to manage, even for President Obama! In order to "fix" these problems the only solution is fewer bureaucracies. Washington DC needs to go on a diet, not create more ever more bureaucracies like Obamacare because as we are seeing, they are unmanageable, corrupt, inefficient, wasteful and sometime innocent people die as a result! Our federal government is critically obese and getting more so!

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

How nice of conservatives to use the ill-fortune of our vets to promote their anti-Obama agenda. How patriotic. Gee, doesn't it just melt your heart?

I have a better idea, how about repubs work to fix this problem? Especially since it hit record highs during Bush's administration. Especially after under Reagan's watch the VA purposely instructed supervisors to lie about wait times.

Maybe if Bush hadn't sent our boys to war in Iraq, we wouldn't have as many vets that needed health care.

Hayden, ID

Maverick. I have some honest questions for you. Why constantly blame others for Obama's failures? When will HE ever be held accountable? Why do you hold other Presidents to such a high standards but only constantly apologize for your man Obama?

Virginia Beach, VA

David -

" Liberalism and socialism are never better than freedom and free markets."

Liberalism promotes both freedom and reasonably free markets.

Our nation's government should provide for and promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

You can call that Socialism if you want.

I call it Good Governance.

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