Reforming the Veteran’s Administration was a common talking point during then-candidate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and for good reason. For many of our veterans, navigating the VA has proven more deadly than the wars from where they’ve returned home.The VA became officially a subject of scandal in 2013, with those on both sides of the political spectrum horrified by the poor quality of care we discovered our veterans were receiving, and the massive wait times (and attempted manipulation and cover-up of those wait times). It was amusing to see so many liberals railing against government-run healthcare for once – and how could they not?
A VA Inspector General report last year found 307,000 records belonging to veterans who had died months or years in the past. Not all were seeking health services, but it shows just how inefficient the system is for veterans to get anything. There are a number of stories of veterans committing suicide in the parking lots of VA hospitals after being turned away for care.And of course, the discovery that the VA was manipulating their wait time statistics to make it appear they were meeting their wait time goals only added fuel to the outrage. Jon Stewart had a particularly hilarious rant on the general incompetence of the VA back in 2013. (sorry for the poor quality).
Among the biggest problem with government is that unlike the private sector, it’s pretty damn hard to get fired. And when that’s the rules of the game, to paraphrase Office Space, it’s a great recipe to get your employees to work just hard enough not to get fired.But are the times changing? That would appear to be the case, as the VA is the latest swamp to be drained.
As the Daily Caller reported five hundred and forty-eight Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employees have been terminated since President Donald Trump took office, indicating that his campaign pledge to clean up “probably the most incompetently run agency in the United States” by relentlessly putting his TV catch phrase “you’re fired” into action was more than just empty rhetoric.
Another 200 VA workers were suspended and 33 demoted, according to data newly published by the department as part of VA Secretary David Shulkin’s commitment to greater transparency. Those disciplined include 22 senior leaders, more than 70 nurses, 14 police officers, and 25 physicians.
Many housekeeping aides and food service workers — lower-level jobs in which the department has employed felons and convicted sex offenders — were also fired.When is the last time you heard the government engage in mass firings of anyone? Probably right around “never.”
There’s still much work to do, but given the incompetence of the VA, the more current employees fired the better.