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Dying Veteran Bill Schoonover’s Letter to Senators-Authorship Confirmed!

9/11 Attack on America

Dying Veteran Bill Schoonover’s Letter to Senators-Authorship Confirmed!

Truth or Fiction

Dying Veteran Bill Schoonover’s Letter to Senators-Authorship Confirmed!

An open letter to senators written by a dying veteran named Bill Schoononver about government waste and abuse of power has gone viral. The Truth: A veteran named Bill Schoonover did in fact wrote this open letter. The letter to U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) appeared on conservative blog sites in September 2013, and it has been widely circulated in chain emails and discussion forums ever since. Let’s start with what we know about its author, Bill Schoonover. Schoonover identified himself as a retired lieutenant colonel in a guest book entry from 2011 for the 97th Engineer Battalion, a construction detail based in France in the mid to late 1950s. Today, Bill Schoonover is listed as a resident of Oak Harbor, Washington. That makes claims that the 2013 open letter was written by a “dying” questionable. No information about his health was readily available, but Schoonover regularly submits letters to the editor of a local newspaper, and his last entry was published in November 2015. So, as of the end of 2015 — more than two full years after the open letter first appeared — Schoonover was alive and well enough to write letters to the editor. Now we’ll turn our attention to a few of the claims Bill Schoonover made in his open letter.Schoonover argues that President Obama has been living large and “spent an estimated 1.4 $billion on himself and his family.” It’s true that the White House budget was $1.4 billion in 2012, but the idea that that can be blamed on the Obama family’s extravagant spending is misleading. According to a paper by the Brooking Institution’s Bradley Patterson, questions about how much it costs to operate the White House are complicated:

What are the annual dollar costs, for a typical year, of operating the modern presidency—of running the White House, the whole White House? One of the reasons that question has never been answered (and perhaps never even asked) is because the pathway to the answer is so complicated. One may start with the tab “White House Office” in the annual congressional budget submission of the Executive Office of the President, but that is only an initial fraction. In addition, twenty-two other budget accounts, thirteen of them in other departments, or parts of departments, pay the expenses, and the salaries, of men and women who are in fact members of the White House staff family. Not only are those costs scattered through those twenty-two other budgets, but in at least nine of them the dollars are not in any fashion identified as White House. Realistic estimates have to be made.

Patterson estimated that the White House budget (excluding classified expenses for things like Air Force One) was about $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2008.That’s important because the government’s fiscal year 2008 ran from October 2007 to September 2008, so it encompassed the presidencies of both George W. Bush and Obama. And if those rough estimates are any indication, there wasn’t a big jump in White House spending under Obama, and there was actually a slight decline. It’s fair to argue that the cost of maintaining the White House has become too expensive for all presidents — but it’s not fair to pin that on the Obama family. In reality, operational costs of the White House are roughly the same for Democrats and Republicans. Schoonover also takes aim at the amount of time Obama has spent on vacation, noting that Obama had spent 92 days on vacation over the first five years of his presidency. Some commentators have noted that presidents are never truly on vacation because there are always briefings, meetings and phone calls to answer. But another important point is that Obama’s vacation time isn’t unusual as far as presidents go. An ABC News review found that compared to past presidents, Obama had actually spent less time on vacation by the end of 2014:

However, compared to past presidents, Obama has taken relatively few vacation days. At this point in his second term, former President George W. Bush had taken a whopping 405 vacation days. Before him, Bill Clinton took a total of 174 days for himself. Another big vacationer was Ronald Reagan, who took a total of 390 days during his time in office.

In comparison, Obama has only taken 161 vacation days to date.

So, again, it’s fair to argue that presidents in general take too many vacations. But since Obama has actually taken less time off than other modern presidents, it’s not fair (or accurate) to single him out for extravagance.  

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Collected on: 03/09/2016

Dear Senator:
I have tried to live by the rules my entire life. My father was a Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army, who died of combat related stresses shortly after his retirement. It was he who instilled in me those virtues he felt important – honesty, duty, patriotism and obeying the laws of God and of our various governments. I have served my country, paid my taxes, worked hard, volunteered and donated my fair share of money, time and artifacts.
Today, as I approach my 79th birthday, I am heart-broken when I look at my country and my government. I shall only point out a very few things abysmally wrong which you can multiply by a thousand fold. I have calculated that all the money I have paid in income taxes my entire life cannot even keep the Senate barbershop open for one year! Only Heaven and a few tight-lipped actuarial types know what the Senate dining room costs the taxpayers. So please, enjoy your haircuts and meals on us.
Last year, the president spent an estimated 1.4 $billion on himself and his family. The vice president spends $millions on hotels. They have had 8 vacations so far this year! And our House of Representatives and Senate have become America ‘s answer to the Saudi royal family. You have become the “perfumed princes and princesses” of our country.
In the middle of the night, you voted in the Affordable Health Care Act, a.k.a. “Obama Care,” a bill which no more than a handful of senators or representatives read more than several paragraphs, crammed it down our throats, and then promptly exempted yourselves from it substituting your own taxpayer-subsidized golden health care insurance.
You live exceedingly well, eat and drink as well as the “one percenters,” consistently vote yourselves perks and pay raises while making 3.5 times the average U.S. individual income, and give up nothing while you (as well as the president and veep) ask us to sacrifice due to sequestration (for which, of course, you plan to blame the Republicans, anyway).
You understand very well the only two rules you need to know – (1) How to get elected, and (2) How to get re-elected. And you do this with the aid of an eagerly willing and partisan press, speeches permeated with a certain economy of truth, and by buying the votes of the greedy, the ill-informed and under-educated citizens (and non-citizens, too, many of whom do vote ) who are looking for a handout rather than a job. Your so-called “safety net” has become a hammock for the lazy. And, what is it now, about 49 or 50 million on food stamps – pretty much all Democrat voters – and the program is absolutely rife with fraud with absolutely no congressional oversight?
I would offer that you are not entirely to blame. What changed you is the seductive environment of power in which you have immersed yourselves. It is the nature of both houses of Congress which requires you to subordinate your virtue in order to get anything done until you have achieved a leadership role. To paraphrase President Reagan, it appears that the second oldest profession (politics), bears a remarkably strong resemblance to the oldest.
As the hirsute first Baron John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton (1834 – 1902), English historian and moralist, so aptly and accurately stated, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” I’m only guessing that this applies to the female sex as well. Tell me, is there a more corrupt entity in this country than Congress?
While we middle class people continue to struggle, our government becomes less and less transparent, more and more bureaucratic, and ever so much more dictatorial, using Czars and Secretaries to tell us (just to mention a very few) what kind of light bulbs we must purchase, how much soda or hamburgers we can eat, what cars we can drive, gasoline to use, and what health care we must buy. Countless thousands of pages of regulations strangle our businesses costing the consumer more and more every day.
As I face my final year, or so, with cancer, my president and my government tell me “You’ll just have to take a pill,” while you, Senator, your colleagues, the president, and other exulted government officials and their families will get the best possible health care on our tax dollars until you are called home by your Creator while also enjoying a retirement beyond my wildest dreams, which of course, you voted for yourselves and we pay for.
The chances of you reading this letter are practically zero as your staff will not pass it on, but with a little luck, a form letter response might be generated by them with an auto signature applied, hoping we will believe that you, our senator or representative, has heard us and actually cares. This letter will, however, go on line where many others will have the chance to read one person’s opinion, rightly or wrongly, about this government, its administration and its senators and representatives.
I only hope that occasionally you might quietly thank the taxpayer for all the generous entitlements which you have voted yourselves, for which, by law, we must pay, unless, of course, it just goes on the $17 trillion national debt for which your children and ours, and your grandchildren and ours, ad infinitum, must eventually try to pick up the tab.
My final thoughts are that it must take a person who has either lost his or her soul, or conscience, or both, to seek re-election and continue to destroy this country I deeply love and put it so far in debt that we will never pay it off while your lot improves by the minute, because of your power. For you, Senator, will never stand up to the rascals in your House who constantly deceive the American people. And that, my dear Senator, is how power has corrupted you and the entire Congress. The only answer to clean up this cesspool is term limits. This, of course, will kill the goose that lays your golden eggs. And woe be to him (or her) who would dare to bring it up.
Bill Schoonover