Sara Carter is joined by veteran Daniel Gade who discuss why the VA focus should be on recovery and jobs, not disabilities. Gade lost his right leg in Iraq in 2005 due to a roadside bomb and was the 2020 Republican nominee for the United States Senate in Virginia. He’s also the author of “Wounding Warriors: How Bad Policy is Making Veterans Sicker and Poorer.”
The subject is particularly meaningful to Carter, whose husband was wounded when he was hit by a grenade, which left him blind. The episode begins with Gade reliving the tragic day he lost his leg. He then goes into the difficulties our heroes have when they transition back to civilian life, and the faults of the VA in its assistance. “they began to their identities began to shift from powerful, strong mission focused to something else like dependent. And I saw it and I didn’t have the tools yet to think about it from a policy point of view.”
Gade was getting his masters degree when the Bush administration asked him to come to the White House to assist in veterans policies. “And what here’s what I discovered” said Gade.
“The reason why bad policy is making veterans sicker and poorer, is because the left and the right are making a terrible mistake when it comes to veterans, the left believes, basically, and I’ll say this, because I’m not a member of the left, but the left believes that every veteran is a broken toy, and therefore deserves everything.”
Gade explains that in his book, “I lay out a couple of principles for how we can get out of this morass that we’re in and one of the principles is, we need to first off, we need to change how we talk about disabilities, because not every condition is a disability.”
“Some of them are just conditions, you know. And number two, and I think this is probably most important, actually, is that we need to prioritize job placement, and civilian thriving as our main goals that should be our number one goal, and then only after we’ve done everything we can to help a veteran, thrive and be placed in the labor market.”
“So instead of disability being first and then employment being an afterthought, we need to make employment and thriving first as our number one goal of all of our public policy, and then disability should be the tail, but the dog is employment and the tail is this disability.”
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