Letter to the editor: Disabled vets deserve compensation

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Our disabled veterans are grossly under compensated and have been for generations. This is most especially true for our totally and permanently disabled veterans.

Our disabled veterans have been asking various congresses and administrations for fair and adequate compensation since the end of World War I in November 1918. That was a 104 years ago!

In fiscal year 2023, a totally disabled veteran with no dependents is compensated at the ridiculous rate of $43,463.40 annually. The National Average Wage Index for 2021 was $60,575.07 per annum and the median income for 2021 was $70,784. The per capita GDP in 2021 was $69,288, among the highest in the world. This rate of compensation to disabled veterans is deliberate and cruel.

Email newsletter signup

It is unconscionable that the wealthiest nation that ever existed compensates its disabled veterans at such a “low rent” scale. This is a national disgrace.

Perhaps the biggest problem with low compensation for disabled veterans is that we pay them only for projected lost wages. Quality of life payment is not included in their compensation, which is the norm in the court system in personal injury cases.

Disabled veterans realize that they are being manipulated and given short shrift by the wealthy and politically connected top 5 percent of the wealth pyramid who lobby Congress hard in order to keep their compensation low in order to ensure a low tax rate for the elites.

Since our wealthy elites make their money by investments and not by personal labor, they are not subjected to the same tax situation as a worker. That is wrong and it is causing all sorts of problems in the U.S. right now relative to revenue collection.

It only exacerbates the already fierce divisions in the country due to the widening wealth gap between the Investor Class and the Laboring Class. And this disparity in turn severely affects quality of life for disabled veterans.

So we can levy at least a penny tax on every dollar traded on the stock market to pay for their compensation. The New York Stock Exchange alone traded about $1.46 shares a day in 2019. There are presently 13 separate stock exchanges operating in the U.S..

This would be a 1 percent tax on all stocks bought or sold on the stock market over and above the 1 percent tax already being levied on stocks transacted in corporate buybacks.

It is long past time for our wealthy elites to carry their fair share of the tax burden. To be very frank, that laboring class sees them all as parasites on the system.

Please introduce legislation now to set compensation at least at the level of the NAWI for ALL types of totally and permanently disabled veterans and/or give them federal tax exclusion for up to $125K per annum.

One more thing; this is a growing national security problem.

We all need to fully understand the danger to all of us should this untenable situation for disabled veterans continue much longer.

Once our young people fully comprehend that should they enlist in the armed forces and subsequently suffer serious illness or injury then they are looking at a lifetime of near poverty as disabled veterans. At that point, the armed forces will collapse. In truth, this is already happening. Enlistments into the armed forces are dangerously low.

Ultimately this all boils down to our elites refusing to be taxed at an adequate level, thereby making proper revenue collection to fully compensate disabled veterans and other disenfranchised Americans impossible. Congress must correct this.

Herman Konczal