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COLA Wars
National Review ^ | 20 Jan 14 | Pete Hegseth

Posted on 01/20/2014 4:39:27 PM PST by SkyPilot

Why trimming military pensions irks this deficit-hawk veteran.

With a $1.1 trillion budget wending its way through Congress and likely headed for President Obama’s desk, officials in Washington are no doubt patting themselves on the back for a job well done.

Here’s who won’t be cheering the news: American veterans and military retirees and their families. Tucked away in this massive spending package is a provision that chops away at the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) raises for military retirees and family survivors, in order to save an estimated $6 billion over the next ten years.

You could argue that I, as a deficit hawk, should cheer this fiscal reform: “C’mon, Pete, you’re always going on about cutting spending, and here’s a spending cut! Why aren’t you happy?” And it’s true, spending reform is hard to come by in today’s profligate Washington, and the case could be made that we should celebrate any minor victory in that fight. But what’s galling about this specific spending cut is that it achieves so little, while breaking faith with veterans and sending a discouraging message to rank-and-file members of the military. Washington politicians can’t be bothered to make even the most minor adjustments to Social Security, Medicaid, or Medicare — but cutting back those who have served our nation honorably in uniform, or the families who have lost a loved one in combat? No problem. It’s an assault on the dignity and pride of our military personnel, for so very little in savings.

(Excerpt) Read more at nationalreview.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: budget; cola; military; pension
Peter Brian Hegseth (born June 6, 1980) is a former Executive Director of Vets For Freedom and a senior counterinsurgency instructor at the Counterinsurgency Training Center in Kabul with the Minnesota National Guard. Hegseth has made multiple appearances on national television as a military analyst and lost the Republican party endorsement for the United States Senate election in Minnesota, 2012 to Kurt Bills. He is currently the CEO of Concerned Veterans for America. Hegseth was commissioned as an infantry officer into the U.S. Army National Guard in 2003. In 2004, his unit was called to Guantanamo Bay where he served as an infantry platoon leader. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. Shortly after returning from Cuba, Hegseth volunteered to serve in Baghdad and Samarra, where he held the position of Infantry Platoon Leader and, later in Samarra, of Civil-Military Operations Officer. During his time in Iraq, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device, Combat Infantryman Badge, and a second Army Commendation Medal.

Hegseth's civilian employment during his non-deployment National Guard service was with Bear Stearns.

Upon return from Iraq, Hegseth worked briefly at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. In 2007, he left the conservative think tank to take the helm of Vets For Freedom as executive director. At that time, the organization had no staff, limited membership and no budget. By 2008, after eighteen months of Hegseth's leadership, the group had grown to 95,000 members with a $9 million budget and a dozen staff members. While leading Vets For Freedom from 2007–2010, he was also a Fox News Channel military analyst and made multiple television appearances on the Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC. Hegseth is also a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributor to the National Review Online, as well as the author of many editorials in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New York Post, and The Washington Times.

___________________________________________________________


1 posted on 01/20/2014 4:39:27 PM PST by SkyPilot
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To: SkyPilot
it achieves so little, while breaking faith with veterans and sending a discouraging message to rank-and-file members of the military.

No. It achieves its intent, which is breaking faith with veterans and sending a discouraging message to rank-and-file members of the military.

2 posted on 01/20/2014 4:49:24 PM PST by 17th Miss Regt
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To: SkyPilot

The “compromise” by Paul Ryan and Patty Murray had nothing to do with balancing the budget or reducing the deficit. Nobody’s taxes will go down because of it. Murray wanted some extra money for HEADSTART, and Ryan offered up the money from retired Veterans.


3 posted on 01/20/2014 5:15:42 PM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: SkyPilot

I dunno. Reagan appointee Larry Korb (former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower) presents a very compelling case in favor of this reduction in the increase of COLAs. Korb notes that when most vets joined, these lavish retirement packages were not in existence —they were only introduced later. So these packages weren’t part of most military members’ “contract” when they signed up. Plus, as SecDef Hagel and CJCS Dempsey have stressed, personnel costs are eating up half of DOD’s budget right now, and are going higher.


4 posted on 01/20/2014 5:22:05 PM PST by Poundstone (A recent Federal retiree and proud of it!)
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To: 17th Miss Regt; SkyPilot

5 posted on 01/20/2014 5:27:40 PM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: blueyon; KitJ; T Minus Four; xzins; CMS; The Sailor; ab01; txradioguy; Jet Jaguar; Defender2; ...

Active Duty/Retiree ping.


6 posted on 01/20/2014 5:28:18 PM PST by Jet Jaguar
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To: SkyPilot

6 billion dollars saved over ten years by gouging the service members and veterans Yet the U.S. sent $37,680,000,000 in foreign aid overseas in 2012 alone.

Detroit is going to get 108 million aid this year to try to get back on its feet. Egypt, however, will be getting 127 million in economic aid. I’m not saying I approve of giving all that dough to Detroit, but why Egypt?

$10.744 billion went to the top five countries on the list in 2012. Israel was #1. The next four are Muslim nations. Think about this as you write out your check to the IRS come April 15th.


7 posted on 01/20/2014 5:29:52 PM PST by beelzepug (if any alphabets are watchin', I'll be coming home right after the meetin')
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To: Poundstone

Are there more or fewer Soldiers now than in 1990? Are there more or fewer civilian government employees now than in 1990?


8 posted on 01/20/2014 5:31:08 PM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: blueunicorn6

Huh?


9 posted on 01/20/2014 5:31:43 PM PST by Poundstone (A recent Federal retiree and proud of it!)
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To: SkyPilot

Why....yes.....sitting in an air-conditioned government office drinking a latte and visiting about Oprah’s latest show while waiting for that 3pm quitting time is JUST like moving out under fire.


10 posted on 01/20/2014 5:33:54 PM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Poundstone

Figures.


11 posted on 01/20/2014 5:35:13 PM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: blueunicorn6

Idjit.


12 posted on 01/20/2014 5:35:57 PM PST by Poundstone (A recent Federal retiree and proud of it!)
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To: Jet Jaguar

13 posted on 01/20/2014 5:36:27 PM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: Poundstone

“...personnel costs are eating up half of DOD’s budget ...”

Personnel costs typically eat up 80+% of a school district’s budget and most of you get to vote on that. Face it, spending all levels of government are completely out of control.


14 posted on 01/20/2014 5:37:27 PM PST by beelzepug (if any alphabets are watchin', I'll be coming home right after the meetin')
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ph


15 posted on 01/20/2014 5:38:47 PM PST by xone
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To: Poundstone

“I dunno. Reagan appointee Larry Korb (former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower) presents a very compelling case in favor of this reduction in the increase of COLAs. Korb notes that when most vets joined, these lavish retirement packages were not in existence —they were only introduced later. So these packages weren’t part of most military members’ “contract” when they signed up. Plus, as SecDef Hagel and CJCS Dempsey have stressed, personnel costs are eating up half of DOD’s budget right now, and are going higher.”

******************************************************************

Poundstone, as a proud retired federal employee, I’m sure that you would agree that financial sacrifices should be shared and spread around. How about the following proposal?

I think that (as part any debt increase legislation coming up) ALL current and future federal employees & retirees should have their COLAs reduced (below whatever existing reduction is called for by current law) by 1% each year for the first 20 years following the later of 1) their year of retirement (independent of age at retirement) or 2) the first annual COLA that follows enactment. At the end of those 20 years, these 1% reduced COLA percentages can then be restored (prospectively only) for those retirees still living.

As you know “Something’s got to be done...”-—and that should apply to civil service compensation & retirement benefits. Surely YOU would agree with this! As a “proud federal retiree” I’m sure YOU would agree that YOU should share in this sacrifice for the next 20 years of your life.

By the way, you do know that Korb is a highly paid Senior Fellow at the progressive Center for American Progress? He, of course, would have no agenda.


16 posted on 01/20/2014 5:45:31 PM PST by House Atreides
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To: 17th Miss Regt
Bingo!



America demands Justice for the Fallen of Benghazi!

O stranger, tell the Lacedaemonians that we lie here, obedient to their command.

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. (Isaiah 49:1 KJV)

17 posted on 01/20/2014 5:47:40 PM PST by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3/5 Marines RVN 1969 - St. Mlichael the Archangel defend us in Battle!)
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To: xzins
While he was running for VP, I was impressed with his story. Now, my eyes opened, I am crushed. Strange, at this late age when I should be inured to such disappointment, I am still crushed.

Call me a cock-eyed optimist.



America demands Justice for the Fallen of Benghazi!

O stranger, tell the Lacedaemonians that we lie here, obedient to their command.

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. (Isaiah 49:1 KJV)

18 posted on 01/20/2014 5:52:43 PM PST by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3/5 Marines RVN 1969 - St. Mlichael the Archangel defend us in Battle!)
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To: ConorMacNessa

19 posted on 01/20/2014 5:55:55 PM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: Poundstone
Korb notes that when most vets joined, these lavish retirement packages were not in existence —they were only introduced later.

What are these "Lavish retirement packages" of which you speak? When I joined in 1982, retirement pay for 20 years of service was 50% of final base pay, but by the time I actually retired in 2006 it was 50% of the average of my last three years' base pay, a reduction which adds up after a while. So this isn't the first time the military has taken it up the chute.

20 posted on 01/20/2014 5:55:56 PM PST by GATOR NAVY
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To: Poundstone
Korb is on the direct payroll of George Soros.


The Center for American Progress was created in 2003 as a left-leaning alternative to think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.

Korb is also being paid off by the left wing Socialist Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, again by Soros, "whose aim is to redirect 15% of the military's budget to social programs like education, healthcare, job training, humanitarian relief, renewable energies"

Since its inception, the Center has gathered a group of high-profile senior fellows, including Lawrence Korb Also, Admiral (ret) Ryan blew every "argument" that Korb had out of the water during an appearance on PBS.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/military/jan-june14/pensions_01-02.html

Notice how agitated Korb gets when he is confronted with the facts. Notice also that Korb quickly changes the subject from pensions to attacking military health care.

Korb also is spearheading pro-homosexual issues vis a vis the military, and has already caused untold damage to the military by peddling immorality by his past "victories" on this issue.

21 posted on 01/20/2014 5:59:24 PM PST by SkyPilot
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To: GATOR NAVY
What are these "Lavish retirement packages" of which you speak? When I joined in 1982, retirement pay for 20 years of service was 50% of final base pay, but by the time I actually retired in 2006 it was 50% of the average of my last three years' base pay, a reduction which adds up after a while.

100% correct.

22 posted on 01/20/2014 6:00:46 PM PST by SkyPilot
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To: Poundstone; beelzepug; blueunicorn
“...personnel costs are eating up half of DOD’s budget"

Once again, incorrect.

The historical average has been approximately one third, and that is what they are today.


23 posted on 01/20/2014 6:04:42 PM PST by SkyPilot
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To: Poundstone

24 posted on 01/20/2014 6:06:26 PM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: Poundstone

You can call me one, but your writing proves that you’re one.


25 posted on 01/20/2014 6:13:35 PM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Poundstone; GATOR NAVY; SkyPilot; blueunicorn6
Korb notes that when most vets joined, these lavish retirement packages were not in existence

Korb is either uninformed or lying.

The 50% at 20 years was the rule in 1970 when I first enlisted. And it had been ongoing for many years before that.

I remember when leaving to go to college the talk I got from the reenlistment NCO who pointed out the retirement, the health coverage, the education.

Korb is nuts....there are very few "when most vets joined" who predate me. And I KNOW what it was then.

26 posted on 01/20/2014 6:32:48 PM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: SkyPilot

I can’t believe they complain about the personnel costs.

It’s like saying “We’re complaining that we have to have soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. We’d be much better off without them!”


27 posted on 01/20/2014 7:07:33 PM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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