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Is the Federal Government “Fully Successful” for You?

Obama Burns the Constitution

In the wake of the scandalous revelations about how veterans are being treated at the Veterans Administration and VA wait times have contributed to the deaths of dozens of veterans The New York Times reported that over the past four years every senior V.A. executive was rated “Fully Successful” or better.

That in and of itself is an outrage, but it gets worse.

According to the NYT it turns out that only 15 senior executives across the entire federal government had received either of the two lowest ratings in the most recent year — suggesting that the high ratings enjoyed by V.A. officials were not out of line with those of their counterparts at other government agencies.

In other words, those senior officials in charge of the disastrous Obamacare rollout were “Fully Successful.” The senior officials in charge of the failed “Fast and Furious” gun walking fiasco that got agent Brian Terry killed; “Fully Successful.”  Lois Lerner and the rest of the thugs at the IRS responsible for the targeting of conservatives, you can bet they were given job performance reviews of “Fully Successful,” as well.

Our friend Mark Flatten at The Washington Examiner has been covering the abuse at the VA for a number of years. His reporting has revealed that Agency executives write their own performance evaluations, which seem to receive only cursory reviews from their supervisors.

Not surprisingly, 78 percent got a bonus in 2013, despite a string of patient deaths and falsification of records related to patient wait times, according to Flatten’s reporting on congressional testimony Friday.

The Washington Examiner has reported for more than a year that top administrators have routinely collected five-figure performance bonuses, despite overseeing long backlogs in processing disability claims and inadequate care at medical facilities.

Top executives at VA were paid more than $14.5 million in performance bonuses since 2010, according to Gina Farrisee, Assistant Veterans Affairs Secretary for Human Resources, including about $2.7 million in fiscal year 2013. She did not supply a breakdown of payments to individuals.

What’s more, past evaluations cannot be rescinded, even in light of new revelations that hospital administrators nationwide engaged in “systemic” falsification of patient wait lists to hide backlogs in medical care, Flatten reports.

Meeting agency deadlines for delivering care weighs heavily in the performance goals that lead to bonus awards.

Lost in the Republican chest-beating, and the desperate attempts of Democrats up for election to find political cover in Secretary Shinseki’s resignation, is the fact that the VA’s problems have been known for many years. 

The VA is now America’s largest healthcare provider with some 207,000 employees, 163 hospitals and a vast number of programs and services for veterans. 

Since 2005, the VA inspector general has issued 18 reports that identified deficiencies in scheduling at both the national and local levels of the Veterans Administration hospitals. During that same time funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs has risen from over $69.4 billion to over $125.3 billion.

Despite the reports issued and the vast sums spent nothing has been done to correct the VA’s problems because the problems of the VA are inherent to big government and bureaucracy.

The abuses of the VA, the EPA, the NSA, the IRS, the BLM and other notable scandals of the Obama administration all have a common thread – out of control bureaucrats acting beyond their constitutional authority in a vast bureaucracy that seems like it is on autopilot because no one has responsibility for its results.

Establishment Republicans would like us to believe that if we just fire the Democrats, pass a few new laws, and put them in charge, things will be better. The problem is not the incompetence of Barack Obama and Eric Shinseki or the venality of a few government employees manipulating the numbers to protect their bonuses.

As CHQ Chairman Richard Viguerie documents in his new book TAKEOVER, the fact is it hasn’t mattered whether Big Government establishment Republicans or Big Government Democrats held the White House or controlled Congress; government has grown larger and less accountable and scandals such as those plaguing the VA have become more common.

In figuring out how to solve the problems at the VA Republicans should look to the wisdom of President Ronald Reagan who said often and most memorably in his first inaugural address, “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

The problems at the Veterans Administration hospitals are a teachable moment that Reagan was right and conservatives should seize the moment to demand that the size and scope of the federal government be reduced, not just at the VA, but across the vast breadth of the extra-constitutional responsibilities the federal government has undertaken over the past eighty years.  

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