The White House’s plan to Balance the Nation’s Budget Problems by using the Military Servicemember’s Retirement System is Wrong!
For last few weeks, some of my closest aviator friends and I have been discussing the current White House’s apparent lack of respect for the military and the nation’s budget problems. In fact one friend had been asked to review a suggestion by the White House to do away with the current military retirement system.
Today, August 15, 2011, Fox News reported http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/08/15/pentagon-scraps-traditional-pensions-in-its-proposed-retirement-program/ indeed the White House would like to trim the Department of Defense budget by eliminating the current retirement system. Instead, of 50% of base pay after 20 years, while you're dodging bullets, you have the benefit of knowing your 401(k) contribution will be reduced since you're in a combat zone. So who is to pay your retirement portion? – Why you and your family of course. Your current pay will be reduced as you pay the member contribution portion of this White House plan to reduce the budget. How much money did the White House send to those failing Banks? Hmmm that plan worked well.
Paraphrasing the White House’s campaign slogan of “Hope and Change” there is also “hope” if you’re over age 50. The White House is thinking of providing a break in the amount those over 50 are required to pay into this Thrifty retirement plan.
Military members earn every penny of their current retirement. In contrast I fail to see the sacrifice social programs are being asked. I understand welfare assistance is to help people, often people who through no fault of their own need financial assistance. But you cannot compare the military to the civilian working world. If I did then an enlistee need not work to be paid, combat - - “Sarge I think I will sit this one out and get my pay, it is scary over there, and I like to be home with the wife and kids by 6 PM (commute you know).” … “Call me when you get back Colonel, I want to see the pictures you took on your “vacation to Iraq and Afghanistan.” Oh yeah Colonel I know the responsibility of waging a war you did not start is tough, keeping track of all those servicemember’s lives (I refer to as our National Treasure – Thanks Gen. Keys you said it well years ago), but remember your 401(k) retirement co-pay will be reduced, so there you go living off the taxpayers again Colonel.”
The White House plan shows a total lack of understanding of the hardships and inherent differences in the military and civilian world. For those of you who have retired, you understand the difficulties in moving every 2 to 3 years, having to deploy to combat zones, leaving your family to protect the nation, training where people die, the responsibility for protecting people’s lives, carrying out missions, to kill the enemy, and not being guaranteed to go home from work every day.