Our Opinion: Putting your money where your mouth is

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A unique thing happened in Des Moines. Reality and rhetoric merged and the people who need help actually got it.

During his Condition of the State speech, Gov. Vilsack called on legislators to approve an aid package for veterans, in particular a one-time cash payment for those seriously injured during overseas deployments.

Minnesota has a program that offers seriously wounded veterans a one-time cash payment of $10,000. The package approved by the legislature provides $2 million for housing assistance programs for veterans, and $1 million will be allocated for cash payments to those who are seriously injured.

It is fitting and proper that we take care of those who serve our nation so selflessly. These funds are money well spent. There is another bit of good news about all of this, which makes the story even better.

The money to fund the program will come from funding for the Iowa Veterans Home at Marshalltown, where recalculations of Medicaid spending have given the home an additional $8.9 million, freeing up money for additional veterans programs.

It is our fervent hope that all of these funds will be spent on programs for veterans, who have historically been forgotten. It is a cruel irony that is not lost on veterans that we only remember them and their families when we need something from them.

One of the many needs of a democracy is a well equipped, well trained military. The military's most precious resource is its people, and we all need to make sure that "support the troops" is more than a magnet on the back of our car.