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OPINION — Editorial

Make VA great again

This article was published June 29, 2017 at 2:54 a.m.

Bugs Bunny, that font of wisdom, once tried to sell some real estate to yet another foil. As Bugs was shuffling paperwork, he asked the man, as an aside: "Are you a veteran?" No, said foil replied. "Good!" shouted the rabbit. "Then it'll be easy!"

The veterans and their spouses sitting down to a movie in the 1940s must've thought that gag a hoot. Ol' Bugs knew, as they did. When it comes to vets and the government they defended, it has never been easy.

Americans--well, many Americans--went to the polls last November knowing what they didn't want. Which is why there's a businessman of some reputation in the White House these days. He's appointing people to the National Labor Relations Board. And nominating conservative judges. And, when he's not getting himself into trouble, surrounding himself with an outstanding Cabinet. The other day he signed another piece of legislation that we have trouble seeing his November opponent ever signing.

It's called the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, and makes it easier to suspend or fire government workers. Specifically workers at national Veterans Affairs offices.

Disciplinary appeals will be speeded up. Bonuses can now be recouped. And, generally, more government employees in charge of helping veterans will be held accountable. No matter what the American Federation of Government Employees says.

Speaking of which, The Military Times reports that the union bosses are none too happy with the new law. Dispatches from that outfit report: "Labor representatives are pushing back strongly against what they see as opponents' attempts to use VA policies as a way to jump-start wholesale reforms to government employment rules, promotion schedules and worker protections."

Why, if that's the case, we like this reform even better! Veteran protection is more important to some of us. Including the president: "Veterans were put on secret wait-lists, given the wrong medication, given the bad treatments, and ignored in moments of crisis for them," President Trump said at the bill signing. "Many veterans died waiting for a simple doctor's appointment." Which is why the head of the agency had to resign in 2014.

It's an old saw by now: We the People owe the veterans who protected us. And the very least we owe them is the ability to fire somebody who doesn't treat them well, without having to go through a web of union rules to do it.

Editorial on 06/29/2017

Print Headline: Make VA great again

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