We talk all the time about the soaring Pentagon budget, every year setting a new record in the history of all mankind. Yet a large portion of these costs is dedicated to attacking and/or occupying nations around the world, and simply not doing that could see the Pentagon’s expenses plunge overnight.
Not so with the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is seeing its costs soaring with the returning disabled veterans, and no theoretical end in site. Unlike the wars, which could be ended at any time, the disabled veterans produced by those wars are simply on the books for the rest of their lives.
Nearly 6,500 US soldiers have been killed in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. It is surely a large number, but an equally scary and much less well known figure is 633,000, the number of soldiers disabled during those wars.
Not all those disabled during the war will be kept from ever working, of course, but with the ever-worsening jobs market the Department of Veterans Affairs is seeing its costs soar, $57 billion in the next year, up 25% from the previous year. And as the wars continue the problem continues to mount.