We’re going to be perfectly honest with you. We don’t really understand the $900 billion dollar stimulus bill. We can’t say how it will help Americans or even if it will help. We know it’s a buttload of money, and our economy is in the shitter. We also know that when President Obama says, about the bill, “(T)he package is the right size,” we trust the guy, because we’re confident he knows from right-sized packages, if ya know what we mean.
There’s a $198 million provision in the stimulus plan to provide benefits for Filipino veterans who fought for the U.S. in World War II. Approximately 250,000 Filipino men served in the U.S. Armed Forces at that time. FDR promised the benefits in 1941, but Congress reneged on the deal in 1946. Today, only 18,000 of those veterans are still alive, and about 7,000 of them are U.S. citizens. Their average age is 90 years old, and they are staring down the barrel of mortality, like all WWII vets, who are dying at a rate of 850 men per day.
The $198 million allotment gives these veterans a one-time, lump sum payment of $15,000 dollars if they are citizens, and $9,000 if they are not. Although the $198 mil is a miniscule part of the stimulus package, it is being cited as an emblem of the bill’s wastefulness, particularly by Republicans like Rep. Steve Buyer of Indiana, who sits on the House Veterans’ Affairs committee (paging Eric Shinseki and the newly-appointed Tammy Duckworth). But then we read this week that, if the stimulus bill passes, the money for these Filipino veterans would not technically come out of that package. The money was already appropriated in another bill that passed last year, and the stimulus legislation would simply release that money.
See what we mean about confusing?
But there’s one thing we’re not confused about. These brave, deserving veterans who risked their lives for this country in WWII–for fuck’s sake–need to get paid. They’ve been jerked around for 63 years while our Congress has played with their dicks and waited for them to die. Can you think of anything more disgraceful than that?
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