Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Triumphant Return of Fiscal Conservatism

The Bush administration has long come under fire from conservatives and liberals alike for its rampant deficit spending. According to a recent report by McClatchy Newspapers, federal spending under President Bush has increased by at least as much, if not more, than it did under Lyndon Johnson.

Now the Bush administration is requesting another $196 billion for the war in Iraq -- a war that could ultimately end up costing taxpayers more than $2 trillion.

But it seems the Bush administration has found a novel way of paying for these expensive military operations while still managing to increase its fiscally conservative credentials: fund the war, just don't pay the soldiers who have to fight it.

As Pittsburgh television station KDKA reports:
The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.

To get people to sign up, the military gives enlistment bonuses up to $30,000 in some cases.

Now men and women who have lost arms, legs, eyesight, hearing and can no longer serve are being ordered to pay some of that money back.

One of them is Jordan Fox, a young soldier from the South Hills.

He finds solace in the hundreds of boxes he loads onto a truck in Carnegie. In each box is a care package that will be sent to a man or woman serving in Iraq. It was in his name Operation Pittsburgh Pride was started.

Fox was seriously injured when a roadside bomb blew up his vehicle. He was knocked unconscious. His back was injured and lost all vision in his right eye.

A few months later Fox was sent home. His injuries prohibited him from fulfilling three months of his commitment. A few days ago, he received a letter from the military demanding nearly $3,000 of his signing bonus back.

"I tried to do my best and serve my country. I was unfortunately hurt in the process. Now they're telling me they want their money back," he explained.

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