Lonsberry On The Loose
Eliminate Military Pensions?
They want to cut military pensions.
The Obama Administration’s panel of smart guys has decided military retirement has to go.
Welfare can stay, free pills for Grama can stay, bogus SSI checks for life can stay, Food Stamps for soda and steak can stay, cushy federal civilian benefits stay, congressional compensation packages remain the same, but pensions for guys on their fourth tour, well, we can’t afford them.
You now what this means?
It means the military is a small and Republican-leaning voting bloc that the Democrats don’t care about alienating. It means that veterans have no political pull – on either the support or the consciences of the politicians.
To balance the budget, in the Obama world, we target millionaires and the military. And not just weapons systems, but the men and women who use them.
We pull the rug out from under them.
We take a low-paying, dangerous, high-stress crap job with a pittance of a pension, and we yank the pension. And by so doing we will reduce spending, over the next 20 years, by less than one-sixth of this year’s Obama budget deficit.
Put another way, over those same 20 years, the savings from nixing military pensions will be about the same as was given to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Citigroup and Bank of America in the bailout. We threw away in a foolish ineffective stimulus enough to pay military pensions for more than a century.
The big banks got theirs, and the soldiers are going to get the shaft.
SSI is a lifelong, guaranteed right, just like Food Stamps and any number of other welfare programs, and those programs absolutely dwarf the money spent on military pensions, but pensions go and welfare stays.
Because welfare recipients vote – if it’s not raining and you give them a ride – and they vote Democrat.
So their money is safe.
While reporters and politicians who’ve never been in the military opine about how we can’t afford military pensions anymore.
Let’s look at those pensions.
Currently, people in the military are allowed to retire after 20 years. They receive, as a pension, half of their base pay.
And what is that base pay?
Well, that depends on their rank, but the overwhelming majority of people in the military are junior enlisted people – low-rank grunts who get paid squat.
Here are some examples. An E-4 – the most common rank in the U.S. military – pays between $1,900 and $2,300 a month, depending on how long a person has been in the service. For those of you without calculators, that works out to between $22,800 and $27,600 a year.
That is less, in terms of spending power, than the money and benefits given to welfare recipients.
And, whereas GIs face the prospect of fighting and dying for our freedom, welfare recipients just sit around on their arses.
The most common retiree rank in the U.S. military is E-7, which has a base monthly pay, after 20 years of service, of $4,189. That’s $50,268 annually, or about what a New York State Trooper makes in his rookie year.
Of course, that same trooper will soon average $101,000 a year – if he never passes the sergeant’s test – and be eligible for 50% retirement after 20 years.
Just like an American combat veteran.
Except that half of $50,268 a year is $25,134.
Twenty-five thousand dollars a year.
In most of America, that’s not a mortgage payment. In most of America, that’s substantially below the welfare payout.
In all of America, that’s dramatically below congressional compensation and pension.
In all of America, that’s a crying, immoral shame.
The military is a lower-middle-class job. It is, financially, targeted at lower-income people, offering them a chance to step, barely, into the middle class, to get some college and maybe buy a house. The military is peopled by folks who, if they were less honorable, could have stayed home and made more money on public assistance.
And the Obama Administration is begrudging them a pittance of a pension.
The Obama Administration wants to push these people into a 401k – how much do people making $25,000 a year have left over to put into their 401k – and have that 401k be off limits to the military retiree until they are 65 or 70.
Apparently, the Obama Administration begrudges GIs their 20-year retirement. So let’s take up that issue. Why can people in the military retire after just 20 years of service?
Actually, the only people who ask that question are people who’ve never been in the military.
The military is the hardest, most dangerous and personally draining job our society has. It destroys families, it takes lives, it grinds down souls. It is very hard to be in the military. You are treated like crap, and your life is not your own. You do very difficult and dangerous things. Some sail off in ships for six months at a time, some are sent to war zones for a year at a time, all must uproot their lives and their families every two or three years to move off and start over at some far-distant post.
And some of them come home in a box, or with a hook where their hand used to be and a plate where their skull used to be.
And it is a young man’s game. Yes, older people serve, and some stay far more than 20 years. But the overwhelming majority of men and women in the service are young people whose duty is literally pounding the life and youth out of them. They give the best years of their lives and after 20 years many of them simply don’t have anything left anymore.
Cops all across America retire after 20, with better pay and retirement than servicemen, and they face less-stressful jobs.
How is that fair?
And how is it fair that an administration that was pushed into power with union money is targeting its largest non-union workforce for a benefits cut? Does anyone think for half a moment that the Democrat-affiliated, union-represented federal workforce would face similar unilateral cuts?
But there will be no negotiations, no asking of the troops, there will simply be a plundering, a breaking of promises, a deserting of our national honor.
And a repudiation of a sentiment of obligation felt since the disbanding of the Continental army and best expressed in Lincoln’s Second Inaugural:
“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan -- to do all which may
achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”
To care for him who shall have borne the battle.
That started with Washington and will end with Obama.
If we are silent in the face of this outrage.
We have a massive, bloated, entitlement government. It is ripe for the cutting. And we are offered the veteran’s head on a platter. Let us refuse it. And let us turn our ire on those who take, but have given nothing. Veterans have earned their pension, let us pay them before we pay those
who are “entitled” to welfare.