Playing Politics at the VA
10:07 AM, Jul 9, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The ineptitude and corruption at the VA were examined last night at congressional hearings and the revelations were dismaying but not necessarily shocking. It is no longer news that the VA is broken so the details of how bonuses were paid to senior bureaucrats for covering up the problems and whistleblowers were punished for reporting them have begun to lose their shock value.
There was an apology from a senior VA official. But what else could he do? Defend the agency and those bonuses?
There was one small bit of news that emerged from the hearings that might serve to illuminate a deep and even incurable problem with governmental behemoths like the VA. Namely, a spirit of politicization. The bureaucracies pursue self interest – survival, expansion, etc. – and, thus, will recognize the political parties and factions that will advance their goals and find ways to support them.
So the VA, while it was busy neglecting the patients in its care, found time and resources to advance the political agenda of the administration. As Matthew Daly of the Associated Press reports:
The primary objective of every bureaucracy is a larger budget in the next fiscal year.
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