Heterodox Views on Politics and Public Policy from Michael Blaine

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

McCain The Fraudster

Featuring John McCain As "Shyster"

The "Los Angeles Times" revealed today that presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain has been collecting a tax-free disability pension from the US Navy that in 2007 totaled $58,358. Only two conclusions can be drawn: If McCain is (psychologically?) disabled, he's not fit to be president. If he is not disabled, he's been defrauding the federal government for decades and should be criminally prosecuted. Either way, McCain's candidacy needs to end immediately.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

During military duty in the Vietnam War, John McCain was imprisoned and tortured over a period of five years. To this day, he still suffers physiological inconveniences from his injuries, such as the inability to lift his arms above his shoulders. His pension is for the sacrifice he made for this nation, however misguided the war was. Please criticize candidates on substantive issues.

Michael Blaine said...

From Wikipedia:

"By late 1974 McCain had his flight status reinstated, and in 1976 he became commanding officer of a training squadron stationed in Florida."

Do those sound like the exploits of a man who needs a disability pension? Obviously, McCain is stealing from our government. He is a free-loading shyster.

Anonymous said...

The military gives pensions for those who suffer from diseases or injuries sustained from combat duty. McCain's reinstatement of flight status was the result excruciating (and completely optional) physical therapy he put himself through, but because his injuries still persist to considerable extents, he is still eligible for pension. Does he need it? Of course not; he's a well-off senator. But it is not stealing, because his persisting injuries fully meet the requirements for pension.

Honestly, I think it would trivialize any campaign to cover insubstantial issues like this one. If you want to discredit McCain, why not bring up his connections to the Keating Five? Why not attack his belief that the Iraqis would welcome Americans as "liberators"? Seriously, this is possibly the least important issue in this election.

Michael Blaine said...

"[H]is persisting injuries fully meet the requirements for pension."

Where can one find the criteria for military disability pensions?

If one can go on and fly planes, command a squadron, serve as a senator, and run for president, all while receiving an annual pension that is HIGHER than the average household income in the U.S., then something is terribly wrong.

McCain's taking this handout from the government is intolerable.

Anonymous said...

Again, McCain does not need this pension. He does not need "an annual pension that is HIGHER than the average household income," but because of the military's negligence to enforce stricter protocols regarding pensions, his pension is fully legal. Unethical? Perhaps. Stealing? Hardly.

The purpose of such pensions, as can be found on the U.S. military pensions website, is to aid veterans whose disabilities could seriously affect their ability to work. Again, McCain does not need this pension because of his lucrative current career, even if he is inconvenienced by the injuries, but the military is not picky in handing out such generous pensions.

So yeah, McCain's a jerk for taking government money he totally does not need, but so long as the military sees reason to allow him to do so, you cannot accuse him of fraud and expect him to be prosecuted for it. Whether or not his candidacy "needs to end immediately" rests on issues much more pressing than this one.

Michael Blaine said...

Thank you, anonymous, for your perspective on this issue.

I think we have agreed on at least two points:

1. McCain's taking a disability pension from the military is, at a minimum, unnecessary; and

2. His presidential candidacy is highly problematic.

In my view, McCain is an American monster - bellicose, ignorant, warped; if he were to win the White House, the consequences for the U.S. (and the world) would be disastrous.

Kris said...

If those who served our country who are not wealthy senators were likewise receiving meaningful government benefits for their injuries, I would agree with anonymous that such payments, collectively, are less significant--an obligation the US meets to those who serve, across the board.

Sadly, we have all seen articles throughout the Iraq disaster telling the tales of Americans who went over there and got shot, got their legs blown off, suffered profound psychological stresses at the horrors unfolding around them and then got brushed off on their return by the very government that encouraged them to run into harm's way.

This being the case, a man who doesn't need the money, a man who--correct me if you've heard otherwise--is not aggressively lobbying the government for more benefits to those injured in its military service, is a blazing hypocrite for any criticism he has made of government largesse.

If he qualifies for that money, which he does not need, the honorable path--and honor is a concept McCain will try to wield against challengers--would be to give it back for redistribution to soldiers suffering for obvious debilitating injuries preventing them from dreaming of material wealth like McCain's.

Michael Blaine said...


Extremely well put. McCain's taking that money is unseemly.


Louis J. Concierge said...

I wonder...could an honorable man or woman actually be successful in running for high office now? Taking the honorable road is extremely inconvenient, especially for a person who has access to the good life. Could a person actually keep to the way of honor and even make it to the national stage? I guess, for that matter, would an honorable man or woman even want the stinking office?

I despair a little today thinking that we've long since run into mediocrity in our viable candidate pool, and also I bemoan the notion that it's never going to change. Is it going to be like this forever?

Quick, someone cheer me up, it's election year.