Impact of Funding Cuts on Veterans

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With Veteran's Day coming up, it is time to consider the impact that funding cuts are having on our veterans. Funding for a variety of veteran's issues typically comes through the federal Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA). There have been instance recently where budget cuts have reduced the quality and quantity of state-funded memorial services for veterans (Brunswick, 2012) and cut access to service dogs for PTSD veterans (Dolak, 2012). These incidents are not isolated. Federal funding for Veteran's Affairs has been under pressure for years. There was talk during the election campaigning that Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan's budget cut the VA budget a further 24%, though the actual GOP proposed budget endorsed by Governor Romney did not contain such cuts. There has been no proposal recently, however, that would increase VA funding. This comes despite the fact that the number of veterans in the United States has ballooned in the past decade as a consequence of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the fact that there is greater awareness of PTSD and other veteran-specific conditions now than there has been in the past. Additionally, the so-called "fiscal cliff" is another issue. This prescribes further budget cuts to the VA. There is real concern that further cuts to an already cut-ravaged system will only do tremendous harm to the 2-million-plus veterans that have returned from the Middle East, in addition to the existing vets from previous wars.
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