Regarding the column “Politicians Waver Under Pressure From Veterans” by syndicated columnist Ruth Marcus in the Feb. 13 Albuquerque Journal, I would be remiss not to question the reporting stye of Marcus concerning the about face by Congress and the Obama administration concerning a 1 percent cost of living allowance cut on pensions for retiring military personnel.
She infers that veterans groups aimed their artillery towards Congress after a budget bill had been passed that included savings of $7 billion over 10 years by reducing cost of living adjustments for working age military retirees.
It was fitting that they did!
What she neglected to mention was that many congressmen failed to read the budget bill that had been passed and, like Obamacare, would not have realized its full content until it was implemented.
Absent the “uproar” from the veteran groups the cuts would have been made.
Marcus also failed to mention that military members had been promised a retirement pay system that included COLA increases commensurate with those of other federal employees. Why was only the military singled out for these cuts?
“Keeping the promise” of pay and benefits is one of the major determinants of choosing a military career. The writer also failed to mention that the DOD military leadership had not been consulted, in advance, on these COLA cuts, and had they been consulted they would not have concurred.
How fair is it to snip an average of $80K from a promised retirement plan with the stroke of a pen? You can bet that it would never happen in corporate America or the public sector without a storm of protest and litigation.
Marcus also notes that the military retirement system is “extraordinarily generous” compared to private sector programs. Really? There are many private sector retirement plans for emergency service personnel, nationwide, that rival or better the military plan.
These pay and benefits for military personnel are necessitated by a very unique profession that involves frequent and dangerous deployments to combat areas, exposure to many health hazards, extensive family separations and a necessary workplace discipline that few in the civilian world would tolerate.
Marcus might visit any of our major military medical centers and see the thousands of young servicemen with missing limbs, burned bodies and irreparable psychological damage and get a better perspective why this small sector of our society (less than 1 percent) who put their lives on the line every day, should be singled out to pay down the trillion dollar debt incurred by many of our oxygen deprived politicians whose flagrant and irresponsible spending would be a much better subject to address.
Military members are trained to “Ready, Aim. Fire.” Marcus reversed that order in her column. She fired first, without doing due diligence, and aimed at the wrong target!