Monday, December 08, 2014

Being Frank about giving aid to our enemies

Did you hear about the Nazis who were drawing Social Security? Don't wait for the punch line. It's not a joke and sadly it wasn't one of the lead stories reported last week.
On Tuesday and Thursday of the same week as the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. House and Senate passed nearly identical bills that would close a loophole allowing the Social Security Administration to cut off benefits from those who admitted being World War II Nazis or who were convicted of war crimes as Nazis, if it is signed by the President.
How long has it been since World War II ended?
I didn't hear about the bills until Sen. Dan Coats' office issued a press release stating the senator had approved of the bill.
What? In my mind that should have been both obvious and shouted from the rooftops! Of course we don't support those who were our enemies in World War II. Of course we we don't send Social Security to the enemies of "The Greatest Generation," as Tom Brokaw called them.
Apparently, these former Nazis have received millions of dollars of benefits from the Social Security Administration over the years.
When I received the press release I called Washington and spoke to people in the offices of Sen. Coats, Sen. Joe Donnelley and Congressman Larry Bucshon.
Sadly, the news was true.
The bills were introduced following an investigation by The Associated Press.
Both bills passed their respective bodies unanimously and is expected to be signed into law by President Obama. However, when the AP contacted the White House, the reporter was told the White House is reviewing the matter.
Again -- what? The outrage expressed by Americans that this has been allowed to continue should be deafening. There should be no question that we would close a loophole allowing such a thing to happen.
I visited American Legion Post 2 in Brazil. I wondered what people who have sacrificed so much in the service of our nation thought of the matter.
 “Them (bleep) should go back over there and die," said one man. He was not a veteran himself but three of his children had served in the military. "They shouldn’t have gotten (the benefits) in the first place."
Other men I met weren't quite as colorful in their language but were definite in stating their opinions.
One veteran questioned the news report but if the media got the it right the Nazis' benefits should be cut off.
This sounds like an episode of "Hogan's Heroes" or "MASH" but it's real.
So, this Congress, known for accomplishing very little, was able to unite on an issue that came to light 70 years after it should have been settled ... and the President is considering the matter before he decides to sign the bill when it crosses his desk.
In a country where too many torn and faded American flags can be seen in too many residents' yards, I ask you, "When will we take pride in our country as we should?"

Frank Phillips is a reporter for The Brazil Times and a freelance writer. He can be contacted at frank.phillips@gmail.com.