Bridging the Gap: How to Improve Mental Health Care for Veterans

Every year or so, the Congressional Budget Office [CBO] releases a report to Congress with options to reduce the Federal deficit. As our current deficit is nearly $800 billion (deficit, not the national debt which is much crazier number in the trillions) this has aroused a lot of eyes on what the CBO releases. This past December, the budget gurus released their report and buried within was some troubling ideas to reduce VA disability benefits, and more specifically a “means-test” idea. This means-test would reduce the disability payment as it relates to the wages of the veteran. For example, if the veteran makes $125k a year in salary or hourly wages, the disability payment would be reduced by a certain percentage. If the veteran earns more than $170k, no disability payment would be awarded.

Another idea being suggested by the CBO is to begin taxing veteran disability benefits. This would, in effect, reduce the overall disability payments by a considerable amount, depending on the monthly payment. This would impact the quality of life substantially, especially for those who depend on this monthly stipend to survive.

Side note, VA Secretary McDonough has committed to zero cuts and confirmed this in an article by But Bush Sr. said no new taxes too….and we live in extraordinary times.

Let’s get to the bottom line. How much would this means-test save Uncle Same over a 10 year period? It would save $253 billion or $25.3 billion per year. To put that in perspective, for FY 2024 we have earmarked $63.1 billion for “foreign assistance and diplomatic engagement” (USAID, 2023). We also earmarked $32 billion “in foreign assistance for USAID fully- and partially-managed accounts” (USAID, 2023). In 2021, according to the US State Department, we spent $8.9 billion for “International Security Assistance” which includes $6.175 billion in “Foreign Military Funding [FMF]” (US State Dept, 2023). Finally, in FY 2021, for “Bilateral Economic Assistance” we spent $24.8 billion which includes but is not limited to:

  • $9.2b – Global Health Programs
  • $4.4b – International Disaster Assistance
  • $3.5b – Development Assistance [DA]
  • $3.2b – Economic Support Fund [ESF] 

Maybe it is just me, but perhaps we are looking at the wrong areas to cut? I know what you are going to say, but the CBO puts out this report every year and it goes nowhere. If it was 2018, I’d say you’re right. However, we are in some tight economic times and with our national debt spinning out of control and record inflation, cuts will come and they are coming for veterans. Believe me or not, mark my words, they are looking to cut. But there are other places to find it.

I found a fancy infographic at the CBO and I’d like to point your attention to the portion that reads “Corporate Income Taxes”. Check it out, I will wait.

It seems that number there should be a lot bigger. $372 billion in corporate taxes when this country has seen corporate profits balloon exponentially? Don’t believe me? Here’s another fancy infographic from

But Doc, what does this have to do with Veterans and the Graffiti of War Project you ask? Simple, we owe our veterans past, present, and future the guarantee they earned. That this nation would take care of them for the rest of their lives because they were willing to write that blank check and signed with their lives. Former congressman, Dan Lipinski stated, “Let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free”. We owe a sacred obligation to the 1% of our citizens from a grateful nation that didn’t have to serve in hell, only watched from home.

I will leave you with this. Weeks ago they were arguing in a congressional committee about why the military recruitment numbers were so low and whether this had to do with some perceived political issue or “wokeness”. According to the survey that was completed, the most popular reason that the youth of this nation are unwilling to serve had nothing to do with “wokeness”, and everything to do with not wanting to die. I venture to say that they see how our government treats its military and veterans and figure it isn’t worth their courage or bravery because even if they make it back alive, their government is going to hang them out to dry only to ensure more corporate profits and less taxes for the rich. Do you think the government should cut veterans benefits and continues the low taxes for millionaires and billionaires? Should they tax veterans disability payments while cutting corporate tax rates to the lowest levels in history? Seems like our priorities are a bit skewed and I don’t blame the 20-year-old who doesn’t want to be another government statistic.


Always Forward!

Jaeson "Doc" Parsons

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Jaeson "Doc" Parsons

Founder and CEO of The Graffiti of War Project, Doc is a decorated combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he was a combat medic with the 54th Engineer Battalion. He is currently the a journalist for Force 12 Media and is featured weekly on Docas been featured in numerous media outlets such as, and For more information about Jaeson “Doc” Parsons click HERE or send him an EMAIL.

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