Monday, November 12, 2007

A Half-Good Idea for Veterans Day.

State Treasurer Richard Cordray has recently been softening the ground for a proposed ballot issue to benefit veterans. Someone has posted about the plan on the community section of Progress Ohio.

Cordray's idea is a ballot issue to allow Ohio to issue bonds so that we can pay out bonuses to returning war veterans. Helping veterans is hard to argue against -- men and women who have seen combat have endured hardships and seen horrors most of us can't imagine to keep us free and safe. Still, I have some reservations.

First and foremost, an idea this popular should be paid for. Issuing bonds may make sense for development projects that, in theory at least, will pay for themselves in the form on economic growth and increased revenue. Then you can at least pretend that the result is a net gain for the state. A program like this on the other hand should be paid for up front. If the people of Ohio want to benefit veterans, we should, but we shouldn't be adding to the debt to do it.

I also have reservations generally about the state making up for Federal shortfalls in veterans benefits. It's a familiar refrain by now -- the administration claims they support our troops while in theater, but has little interest in providing them sufficient resources when they get out. It's a tricky stand to take: I wouldn't want to thwart political will to benefit Ohio's vets just based on the Bush Admin's dereliction, but at the same time, I bristle at the thought of letting them off the hook.

Notwithstanding the above, thanks to all who serve and have served in our armed forces, and a very good Veterans Day to you all.