I believe Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is being unfairly blamed for the problems in the VA hospitals. The problems are due to the ordinary mid-level and low-level VA employees. These people are mainly veterans themselves since the VA gives preference in hiring to veterans.
Some of these employees do a good job, but many simply don’t care about their fellow veterans and do as little as possible. Additionally, because of government unions, Equal Employment Opportunity policies and Merit Systems Protection Board policies, it is almost impossible to fire anyone.
Several things should be done to remedy the situation:
1. Unions of federal government employees should be eliminated (even FDR strongly opposed government unions);
2. Federal employees claiming they were unfairly treated on the job should be required to prove their cases by the standard of “clear and convincing evidence”;
3. Individual federal agencies should retain the authority to decide all grievances and claims against the agency (too many EEOC and MSPB employees find discrimination and unfair treatment everywhere, even in cases where it is nonexistent);
4. The VA hospitals should be abolished. Veterans should be allowed to have treatment in private hospitals, where the treatment would be better and cheaper than what they are getting now. Some VA hospitals are extremely underutilized and constitute a government boondoggle.
Only by getting rid of the deadwood in the federal government can the efficiency of the VA and other government agencies be improved.