Thursday Numbers

You can only be young once. But you can always be immature. – Dave Barry

Welcome to “Thursday Numbers!” In case you’re a first-time visitor, this is the weekly column where I take a look at the numbers that are in the news (in descending order) and provide commentary sometimes sprinkled with just a little bit of sarcasm.

This week’s topics include VA bonuses, oil business money, unemployment, Medicaid expansion, oldest living WWII female veteran, veterans in Congress, The Western Word poll results, Tester’s VA bills & Report, University of Missouri, Congressional job approval, Capitol Hill staffers, undefeated teams in the NFL and the NBA.

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Veterans: The Backlog Increases

The problem with the backlog of veterans’ disability claims and appeals continues.

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) issued a press release yesterday in which they reported, “The backlog grew by 1,979 to a total of 401,562. There are also 266,407 appeals pending (a new record), a number that increased by 228 claims over the past week.”

According to IAVA, the backlog had not increased since July.

I guess they should cancel the parade and the party.

The International Business Times (IBT) recently published a story where they reported that the Veterans Administration is broken. IBT’s headline kind of said it all: “VA is Broken: Death, Medical Mistreatment, Claims Backlogs And Neglect At Veterans Affairs Hospitals And Clinics.”

It appears the Department of Veterans Affairs is a bureaucracy at its worst. IBT reported:

Most VA observers contend that the problems in the department stem from a layer of lax middle managers who are not held responsible for outcomes in facilities or groups under their supervision. According to a Government Accountability Office report issued in July, VA routinely rewards incompetent managers with bonuses although they have allowed obviously poor conditions to fester and have shown little interest in fixing the problems veterans face.

More veterans serving in Congress could help the situation. The Washington Post recently reported:

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