Sequestration hurts veterans programs
In his column praising the trillion-dollar budget sequestration cuts, Bruce Ramsey ignores the devastating impact on groups such as veterans [“Sequestration: I begin to like it,” online, April 10].
Sequestration cuts shelters for homeless veterans, who number as many as 200,000 on any given night, one-fifth of the nation’s homeless population. Sequestration slashes job training for veterans who struggle with drastically high unemployment rates. The cuts even furlough 60 percent of mental-health staff at military clinics while we lose an average 22 veterans every day to suicide.
We should be cutting programs that we don’t need or aren’t working. The Pentagon is spending $1.5 trillion on a new fighter jet, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, that fits both of these criteria. It’s way over budget and years behind schedule. It’s been beleaguered by a string of malfunctions and flaws. The plane can’t fly near lightning, its faulty fuel system could cause engine fires and its rear blind spot makes it less capable in dog fights than today’s fighters. The F-35 is a Pentagon money pit.
Anthony T. Hawkins, national coordinator, Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust, Washington, D.C.