May 22 2014

VA Scandal is Just a Glimmer of the Kind of Government “Service” That’s Coming

Vicki E. Alger

How much more evidence do we need that the federal government is woefully unequipped to manage our day-to-day affairs, given that it cannot seem to manage its Constitutional duties?

Today President Obama's Deputy Chief of Staff  Ron Nabors is heading to Phoenix to help Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki sort out the Phoenix VA Hospital debacle in which 40 veterans died waiting for care. Meanwhile, Sharon Helman, director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System, received an $8,500 bonus last month (which has been rescinded since the scandal broke).

President Obama’s reaction was swift but sadly predictable. In a statement yesterday morning, Obama huffed and puffed about being outraged:

So when I hear allegations of misconduct -- any misconduct -- whether it’s allegations of VA staff covering up long wait times or cooking the books, I will not stand for it.  Not as Commander-in-Chief, but also not as an American.  None of us should. 

Obama issued a five-point plan of supposed action, including holding culprits “accountable” (whatever that means), discovering the “full scope of the problem” (in all likelihood it’s systemic), having Nabors conduct a review (images of the fox guarding the henhouse comes to mind), cooperating with Congress to get to the bottom of this outrage, and refocusing on “upholding our sacred trust to all of our veterans.”

The deadly dereliction in oversight concerning the care of our veterans is a grim foreshadowing of what we can expect under ObamaCare. But we should have known better—long before the VA scandal or even the successive expensive failures of the ObamaCare enrollment website that are prompting a growing number of states to throw in the towel.

More than three decades ago we entrusted the federal government with the education of our children. We were told that the feds had superior know-how, more cost-effective management, and would raise student performance. The reality is, K-12 spending has tripled in real terms since 1970, yet overall student achievement has flat-lined, racial achievement gaps have actually increased slightly since 1988, and they have remained largely unchanged in spite of numerous federal programs to close them.

Just as the federal government is undertaking an unprecedented expansion into healthcare, we should not forget that it’s also expanding its foothold in American classrooms nationwide through Common Core national standards. 

The federal government has shown that it cannot effectively manage its Constitutional responsibilities.  We should not tolerate federal expansion beyond them--even if the feds were capable of handling more.

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