Our country has been at war for over 15 years and counting, and these wars have cost us trillions of tax dollars while we have very little to show for it here at home. But far worse than the money squandered on these wars is what these wars have cost us in human capital. As I pointed out here, nobody goes to war and comes back having lost nothing. They all pay a price. And then when they come home, they often can’t get the healthcare they need in a timely manner, if at all, and our federal government treats them like second-class citizens.

Cartoon by John Darkow

Cartoon by John Darkow

I want to end that. War veterans who answer the call of duty and go to battle for their country have already paid more than most ever will, so I propose that we exempt their first $100,000 of taxable income from federal income taxes, every year, for life. And the spouses of any Soldiers, Marines, Airmen or Sailors who lose their lives in service of their country – in battle or not – should receive the same exemption.

Not only do I feel this is the right thing to do in general, given all that these veterans have done for our country, I also hope it will serve as an additional disincentive for our government to send Americans into war in the first place, knowing that the government will forever lose the tax revenue from any Americans deployed to battle.

In addition, I will make sure there are safeguards in this proposed bill to prevent the government from repeatedly deploying the same people in order to avoid additional losses in revenue.

Along with my push for universal healthcare, which will obviously cover veterans as well (effectively cutting the inept VA out of the loop for veteran medical care), I want to increase oversight at the VA and have the agency move to just handling disability for veterans, and fund the VA well enough to make it happen. At the same time, I will make sure there is a system of accountability in place to remove those who get in the way of us taking care of our veterans in a timely manner.

With these changes, we will start showing that we care for our veterans instead of just talking about it, as our elected representatives love to do.