Tuesday, April 04, 2023

The Circle Of Life

After doing its best to create more disabled veterans, the Washington Post editorial board wants to cut their benefits. Something didn't sound right so I went to the google. This is... not plausible.
Though the Department of Veterans Affairs revises its disability ratings from time to time, Congress should consider a broader modernization of the disability ratings system. And lawmakers should consider means-testing disability benefits for veterans who are high earners. The Congressional Budget Office estimates limiting payments for veterans who earn more than $170,000 a year would save $253 billion over the next decade. Congress could alternatively tax the benefits, or some portion of them, particularly for new recipients with high incomes.

Ah, ok, so I go to the piece they link to in order to justify this.

Veterans' social media feeds erupted this week over a months-old report from the Congressional Budget Office that listed options for reducing the federal deficit, including the idea that the government could save $253 billion over the next 10 years by eliminating disability compensation for veterans who make more than $170,000.

Somehow "limiting" becomes "eliminating."  Of course it isn't full benefits at $169,999, and $0 at $170,000, so there's a phaseout! Over to CBO.

Under this option, VA would means-test all current and prospective recipients of VA disability compensation beginning in January 2024; after that date, veterans would receive full payments only if their gross household income in the prior calendar year was less than an inflation-indexed threshold for that year. Disability benefits would be phased out at a constant rate for veterans with income above the threshold: For every additional two dollars of gross household income, disability compensation would decrease by one dollar. Under that phaseout, veterans whose gross household income was $170,000 or higher in calendar year 2023 and who would have received the average annual payment would no longer receive any disability compensation from VA in calendar year 2024.


The income threshold below which veterans would receive full benefits in 2024 would be set at $125,000.


For this component, gross household income is defined as the income (before deductions) received by the veteran, his or her spouse, and any dependents in the prior calendar year. Income includes wages and salaries as well as unearned income, such as Social Security benefits, investment income, or withdrawals from a retirement account, but excludes VA disability payments. Household income would be used to determine eligibility rather than individual income because household income is a more comprehensive assessment of all the financial resources available to a veteran.

It's household income, not individual, and it starts phasing out ("limiting") long before $170,000. 

5 minutes of google to know they're full of shit! Even if they were stupid and not lying,  "limiting payments for veterans who earn more than $170,000 a year would save $253 billion over the next decade" is obviously bullshit!  Stupid doesn't mean "woopsie-doodle stupid" it means "really fucking stupid!"