Changing the rules after the fact
While the media has mostly hailed this week's Paul Ryan-Patty Murray budget deal as good for America, they have largely overlooked a very important piece of this legislation. True enough, there are a few positives to come out of the deal - chief among them is probably the demonstration that both sides of the aisle can actually still talk to each other and reach a compromise. Other positives include a reduction (tiny though it is) to our seemingly out-of-control budget deficit and some relief from the ridiculous constraints imposed on our military by sequestration.
What the media has mostly ignored, however, is that a fairly large portion of the deal is being paid for on the backs of the generation of Americans alive today who have given the most to our country - i.e., those that are serving or have recently retired from serving in our armed forces. That Congress would slip into a budget bill (not the National Defense Authorization Act where it would more appropriately belong after a series of hearings) a measure that reduces the hard-earned pensions of these military members who have pledged their lives to defend us and do our nation's bidding - without input from them - is unconscionable.
Although retired military, I am personally too old to feel the effects of this present "deal". But I know many times throughout my 34-year career my family and I made decisions on whether to stay in the military (and continue to endure the sacrifices that are a part of military life) or get out or retire earlier, based on "promises" I thought were made by our nation - promises of a certain monetary benefit that was calculated and well understood by all.
Now Congress wants to break faith with the tens of thousands of Americans and their families who have gone through exactly the same decision-making process and change the rules.
To me, changing the rules after the fact for those who had made similar calculations, the tens of thousands of those that have put their lives on the line in Afghanistan or Iraq or endured additional remote tours, and the hundreds of thousands of those who have served our nation honorably during the longest wartime footing our nation has endured, just seems plain un-American.
This is not to say the military retirement system is not ripe for reform given the significant budgetary challenges we face as a nation. Finally, as disconcerting as this break in faith and the way it has been unfurled is, one has to be equally concerned about the dangerous precedent that is now being set. My fervent hope is that we do not become a nation that does not honor our promises.
Lt. Gen (Retired) Rod Bishop, USAF
Deal specifically targets the military
It is a disgrace that Rep. Doug Lamborn voted to cut the retirement pay of recent retirees and currently serving military personnel. This compromise federal budget deal specifically targets those people who have fought and are fighting our most recent wars.
To take away pay that was promised to them when they volunteered to fight these wars is worse than a disgrace.
That Lamborn sees cutting military retirement by up to 20 percent as a reasonable compromise to "draconian sequestration budget cuts to defense" is inexcusable.
Forbes magazine is reporting this budget deal as a win for defense contractors. Military families know who the losers are in this deal. And we know which side Lamborn chose.
This deal is a betrayal to those who have served this country.
Only paying lip service
Thank you Sen. Michael Bennett, Sen. Mark Udall and Rep. Doug Lamborn.
Thank you for voting in favor of the budget act. Your vote ensured that all current and future military retirees under age 62 just lost one percentage point on all future cost of living allowances for the rest of their lives.
That's the equivalent of about four full years of military retirement for me over my lifetime that I will not see.
From now on, whenever you talk about how great our military personnel are and how proud you are of them, we know you are only paying it lip service and don't really mean it. Your actions speak louder than words.
You take the easy way out and target a group of people who have no recourse in defending the erosion of their "earned benefits". You conveniently forget that we all signed a real contract with the government, who you represent; to serve this great country in return for certain monetary benefits.
You should read a real good report, The Wastebook, put out by Sen. Tom Coburn. There is over $30 billion that could be saved right there.
But not on the backs of the U.S. military!
Shame on all of you. We will remember come election time.
Patrick C. Boyle, CMSgt, USAF, Retired
We can do better than this
Let me see if I can get this right, John Kerry is giving the Vietnamese hundreds of millions of dollars and then reducing the benefits promised to retired vets?
The head of the justice department gave hundreds of fully automatic weapons to the head of drug cartels resulting in many people killed, but wants to restrict my ability to defend my family against all enemies both foreign and domestic.
Reducing the benefits of Social Security recipients who have paid into it - 15 percent of their earnings for 40-50 years - and give Pakistan $2 billion of our money. (The government has no money except what they take from us).
There are thousands of wounded warriors who have waited years to receive compensation for injuries received during combat or their years in the toughest jobs in the world, who keep getting (still in progress) delayed.
Come on America, we can do better than this, get rid of them all!