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Witmaster
10-12-2011, 12:37 PM
Dear Senator

I am a United States Soldier currently serving in Afghanistan with the 1-279th Infantry Regiment, 45th IBCT, and I am writing you today to express my deep concern regarding the new “budget plan” the White House recently released.

According to this “plan”, the White House proposes to freeze all salary rates for military personnel. Additionally, Housing allowances will be frozen, while medical insurance (Tri-Care) premiums and co-payments are spiked to (using their language) “levels commensurate to current national levels”.

Furthermore, this proposed “budget plan” takes aim at our current retirement structure, obliterating it entirely and instituting a government controlled “401k” style of retirement system.

Senator, I cannot express to you how unsettling and disturbing this is to me. I have read the President’s Joint Committee Report entitled, “Living Within Our Means and Investing in the Future” and I must say I am gravely disappointed, concerned and offended.

In his report, the President states, “The men and women who serve their fellow Americans in the Armed Forces and civil service are patriots who work for the Nation often at great personal sacrifice. Just as families and businesses must tighten their belts to live within their means, so must the Federal Government. One area to examine is the retirement and health benefits offered to the Federal military and civilian workforce.”

The President further goes on to state, “The Administration is proposing a group of reforms to better align these retirement programs with the private sector, while still preserving the Federal Government’s ability to recruit and retain the personnel that the American people need.”

Senator, it is challenging to find the words that adequately express how disturbed I am by the language used. Sure, it sounds very regal and honorable; however, the underlying message here is that, “Military personnel have not paid their “fair share” and need to sacrifice more.” I want to ask the President, “Are you kidding me?”

Senator, this is my 4th Deployment overseas with this unit. President Clinton sent me to Bosnia in 1997-98. President Bush (Jr.) sent me to Afghanistan in 2003-04 and Iraq in 2007-08. Now I am back in Afghanistan under the orders of President Obama. Every deployment has been hard. Every one of them has been a sacrifice; but I have no regrets. I love being a proud member of this institution and I am honored to serve with the men and women who stand here beside me.

Sir, it’s difficult to describe in words what life is like over here. The War on Terror, now “officially” 10-years old, is still alive and well out here regardless of what the spin is back home. To date, my Brigade has lost twelve men, eight of whom were from my battalion; one was a very close personal friend. The media really doesn’t mention much about the wounded… we’ve had our share; men whose lives are forever changed, years of physical therapy and rehabilitation in their future. The rest of us continue on, moving forward with the mission and trying to stay focused despite the huge hole left in our lives at the loss of our brothers. We face hostile fire and uncertainty around every corner. We jump and stand ready to kill the things that go “bump” in the night. We live in a continuous state of tension and stress. We watch our fellow service members die. We carry them off the battlefield without even the opportunity to say goodbye. We weep together in whatever “private” solitude we can find. All we have is each other to lean on. There is a gut-wrenching and horrifying story to be told of what goes on here; things that the “general public” never has the misfortune of seeing. The “sanitized” press releases sent back home protect and shield them from the gruesome details.

The anguish and strain that our families are forced to endure is beyond comprehension. ESPECIALLY for the families of services members who are away at war. People are dying over here... OUR people. Our families don't have the luxury of watching TV, hearing about casualties, and then politely dismissing the news as "unfortunate" or "sad". For them, it is a horror they live with every day and every night. They spend their waking hours in dread and sleepless nights in fear of that horrifying news that their loved one... their life partner; son or daughter is gone. Or to hear the news... and for a brevity of a millisecond, be grateful that it isn't THIER loved one... only to be immediately plagued with guilt and remorse; for they know that another family, one of OUR military family, is forever shattered. It is an unspeakable and horrible situation that they must face, and embrace, each day. As we here on the front face the war, our families are every bit engaged in battle back home. Yet... they still keep our homes in order... still look out for us... impatiently waiting, hoping, praying and longing for that day when we return.

I’m not trying to place Military Service Members and our families on a plateau above the rest of the citizens of our great Nation. But it seems utterly incomprehensible to me that my Commander in Chief would take the position that members of the Armed Forces need to “Tighten our belts” and sacrifice like the rest of the country?!? Really? Our numbers make up less than 1% of the entire population (just over .7% if the last census numbers are correct). Less than ONE PERCENT of all U.S. citizens take this oath and subject themselves to this lifestyle and we do it without regret. Yet, somehow this isn’t enough?

In the President’s Joint Committee Report, he states, “… As a result, compared to the private sector, the Federal retirement program can seem generous.” Really? I didn’t feel that “generosity” the day I carried my dear friend, off the battlefield. I can guarantee his wife and two daughters didn’t feel that “generosity” when they watched him lowered into the ground; nor the millions of other service member families who have had to endure the unspeakable horror of their loved one “paying the ultimate sacrifice”. Painting a picture to the general public that we, the members of the United States Armed Forces, are somehow receiving a “perk” that is too generous is a clear demonstration of someone who is utterly detached from the stark reality that we live in.

As I mentioned above, we (Military service members) make up less than one percent of the population. I suppose that makes us an attractive target for a fiscal agenda. We don’t have much voting power based upon our numbers. It would seem this new budget proposal is laden with delicate language so as to convince the general public that this government restructuring of federal benefits is for the greater good. However, lumping military service members into this broad-brushed effort and trying to convince the public that we are, in some way, receiving an unfair “entitlement” is woefully wrong. It’s as if there is some twisted belief that we are somehow impervious to the rising cost of living that everyone else in the nation is enduring. Believe me, we feel it too. We pay the increasing prices just like everyone else. We pay taxes and we budget to live within our means. To imply that we haven’t “tightened our belts” like the rest of the country is grossly incorrect and a flat-out deception.

Senator, we need your help. Someone must stop this madness. Sacrificing what few benefits the military has for the sake of “public approval ratings” is not the answer. Hundreds of Billions of dollars are squandered on frivolous earmarks and mismanaged projects. We can do better than what the President is proposing.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I realize this has been a rather long-winded appeal but, I felt you deserved more than just the typical 1-paragraph rant you might typically receive from a concerned citizen.

God bless you in your efforts. I appreciate your support of what we do.

Sincerely,

marv
10-12-2011, 12:50 PM
I'm a retired Federal employee, and both my wife and I also collect modest SS benefits. Since Obama was elected, inheriting $1.58/gal gasoline, I'm lucky to find it at $3.29/gal. Meat, dairy products, produce, canned and boxed foodstuffs at the grocery store have inflated 5% to 18% while my pension and our SS income has been frozen. We're told that there has been "no inflation".

I'm not begging for higher retirement benefits, just fiscal sanity and sensibility at the Federal level. Stop spending the money I don't have.

AmPat
10-13-2011, 12:30 PM
To the Honorable ______________________________, Since President OBama is offering the US military such a generous and brilliant retirement plan, I propose that he and all national government types such as yourself and our esteemed president, refuse your current retirement and health care and sign up for the new and existing plans that our military have or potentially will have in the future.

After all, what's good for our troops should be good for our government servants. Think of the benefits. Before we experiment on a million Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen, we can test the new excellent system on a mere 536 people. When the rave reviews of this excellent system gets publicized, the troops will all join ranks and demand this most excellent retirement.

While we are at it, why are we forcing 350 million Americans to buy government chees,,,uh health care when we already have the model in our Veteran's Administration? We should immediately cancel the premium health care that Presidents, Congressmen/Senators get and fold them into the stellar system provided to our Veterans. Why should we have several different systems when the model government health care is already in existence? Surely our president wants to save money and we all know that duplication of programs is wasteful.

I propose that you immediately draft a bill that will fly through both Houses and be signed immediately into law by our frugal president. This bill should be simple:

1. Repeal of Cadillac Health care plans for the ruling cla,,, uh national leadership to include president, vice president, cabinet members, Congressmen, etc. There will henceforth be no more duplication of health care and all government employees from the president all the way down will be automatically enrolled in our most excellent Veteran's Administration, and all health care shall be administered for government employees by and through the VA.

2. There shall be one all encompassing retirement plan. All government employees, elected and appointed shall have one government approved retirement plan.

This bill contains a mere two articles. Even the former Speaker and Charlie Rangel should be able to read and comprehend such a simple bill. This bill will certainly be embraced by all branches of government and both parties. I see no reason why we cannot have this passed in a matter of days and begin saving TRILLIONS of dollars overnight.

Respectfully,

AmPat

RobJohnson
10-26-2011, 03:39 AM
Tricare Rx copays just went up Oct 1st.... The company that processes prescriptions for TRICARE is ESI....ESI is refusing to sign contracts with major pharmacy chains. One chain even offered to rebate any surplus funds back to TRICARE....ESI (Express Scripts) won't respond...

Many of our older retired service memebers now must find new pharmacies....it's creating confusion...they have been dealing with the same pharmacy chains for years, and find it easier when they travel to get a refill on medication...but now they are told as of 12/31/11 to go somewhere else and hopefully it's not a long drive.


Over the past several weeks, Walgreens has heard from nearly 200,000 military beneficiaries who are concerned about not having access to Walgreens retail pharmacies as part of the Express Scripts provider network. Walgreens greatly values the relationship it has developed with the Tricare pharmacy program and proposed its price guarantee as part of its commitment to serving the country’s active and retired military men, women and their families, as it has done for more than 100 years.

http://news.walgreens.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=5485

txradioguy
10-26-2011, 04:56 AM
Tricare Rx copays just went up Oct 1st.... The company that processes prescriptions for TRICARE is ESI....ESI is refusing to sign contracts with major pharmacy chains. One chain even offered to rebate any surplus funds back to TRICARE....ESI (Express Scripts) won't respond...

Many of our older retired service memebers now must find new pharmacies....it's creating confusion...they have been dealing with the same pharmacy chains for years, and find it easier when they travel to get a refill on medication...but now they are told as of 12/31/11 to go somewhere else and hopefully it's not a long drive.



http://news.walgreens.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=5485

That right there is one of the many reason I wish we'd never been forced into TriCare in the first place.

RobJohnson
10-27-2011, 07:53 AM
That right there is one of the many reason I wish we'd never been forced into TriCare in the first place.

I might find myself with only a part time job or being laid off due to this....it was bad enough that I spent all summer with a 20% reduction in hours...and still had to work five days. The labor laws in NV are really screwed up on top of that....I do ok for a single guy with no kids, but in a different situation, I would be fucked. Luckily when I made pretty good money in IL, I saved a little....that helped.

Express Scripts wanted us to fill prescriptions for less then our cost just to have the other business!

Their webiste blames my company for members of other plans having to change pharmacies....the problem is, TriCare members have no choice...they have no "open enrollment"

Express scripts also is the middle man for Culinary, Teamsters, and a few other big players....they are also trying to buy Medco/PAID.

txradioguy
10-27-2011, 08:55 AM
I might find myself with only a part time job or being laid off due to this....it was bad enough that I spent all summer with a 20% reduction in hours...and still had to work five days. The labor laws in NV are really screwed up on top of that....I do ok for a single guy with no kids, but in a different situation, I would be fucked. Luckily when I made pretty good money in IL, I saved a little....that helped.

Express Scripts wanted us to fill prescriptions for less then our cost just to have the other business!

Their webiste blames my company for members of other plans having to change pharmacies....the problem is, TriCare members have no choice...they have no "open enrollment"

Express scripts also is the middle man for Culinary, Teamsters, and a few other big players....they are also trying to buy Medco/PAID.

It used to be that you were seen by a military medical officer if you needed meds he wrote out the prescription and you walked down the hall to the pharmacy handed the scrip to a Jr. NCO or enlisted and they filled it on the spot...case closed.

It worked that way for not only the soldiers but their family members as well for medical as well as dental and other needs.

I can't think of anyone in the military that thinks things improved when we were forced to accept tricare back in 1996.

Elspeth
10-29-2011, 01:14 AM
Witmaster, is that your letter to Congress?

Witmaster
10-29-2011, 07:07 AM
Witmaster, is that your letter to Congress?
Yes.

I sent it to every Senator in the country. Most have responded.

It's been a mixed bag of tricks. Some weighing in starkly against the proposed cuts to Military benefits. Others in favor of modifying. Some just hedging up and not committing to anything.

Many are replying with "canned" answers, presumably prepared in advance or as a result of the multitude of emails they are receiving.

Ben Nelson was the first respond with a personal email as well as a .pdf file of a letter he drafted to Panetta (signed by several bi-partisan members) in objection to the proposed cuts.

djones520
10-29-2011, 09:07 AM
It used to be that you were seen by a military medical officer if you needed meds he wrote out the prescription and you walked down the hall to the pharmacy handed the scrip to a Jr. NCO or enlisted and they filled it on the spot...case closed.

It worked that way for not only the soldiers but their family members as well for medical as well as dental and other needs.

I can't think of anyone in the military that thinks things improved when we were forced to accept tricare back in 1996.

Here at Scott, it's mostly like that. Though they are making changes. They just stopped supplying my wifes sleeping pills at the base pharmacy and we're gonna have to start using Tricare to get it filled.

Witmaster
10-29-2011, 09:22 AM
It used to be that you were seen by a military medical officer if you needed meds he wrote out the prescription and you walked down the hall to the pharmacy handed the scrip to a Jr. NCO or enlisted and they filled it on the spot...case closed.

It worked that way for not only the soldiers but their family members as well for medical as well as dental and other needs.

I can't think of anyone in the military that thinks things improved when we were forced to accept tricare back in 1996.
Well... there are a few Exceptions. I am one.

I'm a AGR soldier with o major military installation within a 200 mile radius. Without Tri-Care, I'd be pretty hosed.

Of course, back when I was regular Active Duty, it was just as you say. But then, I lived on base so it was easy for me then.

Starbuck
10-29-2011, 09:24 AM
.....According to this “plan”, the White House proposes to freeze all salary rates for military personnel. Additionally, Housing allowances will be frozen, while medical insurance (Tri-Care) premiums and co-payments are spiked to (using their language) “levels commensurate to current national levels”.

Furthermore, this proposed “budget plan” takes aim at our current retirement structure, obliterating it entirely and instituting a government controlled “401k” style of retirement system.....
[I only spent 8 1/2 years active, so I never retired from the military. I served in Vietnam in Operation Game Warden, 1968. 14,000 men were killed that year.]

The problem that I see with your complaints is that it puts you in the same bucket with everyone else in America. Pay rates are frozen everywhere. Everyone's retirement is in shambles, and many of them are simply gone; no money.
Everyone knows and everyone agrees (at least those that count) that your missions are hard. Terribly difficult, even.

But consider that the current system was designed when military personnel were paid significantly less than their civilian counterparts. Generals and Admirals never made as much as well paid executives; Sergeants, and Chief Petty Officers never made what a competent electrician could make. So they retired early, and took home half their salary, which was a pittance.

My, how things have changed. My father, who retired in 1959 as a Lt Commander, died in 2009, after collecting half the pay of an active duty Lt Commander for a solid 50 years. We could debate all day about how much he was due and how it should be paid, and I'm sure everyone has an opinion. But the fact is, that no system - military or civilian - can survive that kind of economic backloading. To pay someone half their salary for 50 years after serving 20 is just not affordable if they have been paid adequately. The old system - the one they are now phasing out - assumed the old military pay scale.

Bubba Dawg
10-29-2011, 09:36 AM
It's disgraceful the way our active duty service men and women, and retirees and those dependent on Tri-Care are being treated.

Elspeth
10-29-2011, 03:20 PM
Yes.

I sent it to every Senator in the country. Most have responded.

It's been a mixed bag of tricks. Some weighing in starkly against the proposed cuts to Military benefits. Others in favor of modifying. Some just hedging up and not committing to anything.

Many are replying with "canned" answers, presumably prepared in advance or as a result of the multitude of emails they are receiving.

Ben Nelson was the first respond with a personal email as well as a .pdf file of a letter he drafted to Panetta (signed by several bi-partisan members) in objection to the proposed cuts.

Awesome.

And good on Ben Nelson. I need to write my own Senators here in California.

AmPat
10-29-2011, 04:25 PM
Awesome.

And good on Ben Nelson. I need to write my own Senators here in California.

Ben is trying to shore up his reputation. The good citizens of Nebraska don't forget that easy. He is up for re-election and hopefully he will be replaced by a real Conservative from the GOP.

Starbuck
10-29-2011, 05:13 PM
...... I need to write my own Senators here in California.....

Oh, and good luck with THAT!:) You think Barbara and Dianne are on board with what a constituent may want?:D

Novaheart
10-29-2011, 09:49 PM
[FONT="Lucida Sans Unicode"][SIZE="5"]To the Honorable ______________________________, Since President OBama is offering the US military such a generous and brilliant retirement plan,

I haven't read the actual plan in question. But I have been told by my Republican governor that 401K programs are the future, that traditional retirement plans have to go.

Scott: State workers should move to 401Ks

Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 12:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 12:24 p.m.
TALLAHASSHOLE - Gov. Rick Scott says the Legislature's proposed changes to state pensions don't go far enough and wants to move to a 401K retirement plan for state workers.

djones520
10-29-2011, 10:17 PM
I haven't read the actual plan in question. But I have been told by my Republican governor that 401K programs are the future, that traditional retirement plans have to go.

Scott: State workers should move to 401Ks

Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 12:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 12:24 p.m.
TALLAHASSHOLE - Gov. Rick Scott says the Legislature's proposed changes to state pensions don't go far enough and wants to move to a 401K retirement plan for state workers.

When having a limb blown off is a not so entirely unreasonable expectation of the average state worker, then we can start compairing the military retirement plan to theirs.

Novaheart
10-30-2011, 12:07 AM
When having a limb blown off is a not so entirely unreasonable expectation of the average state worker, then we can start compairing the military retirement plan to theirs.

Should all retirement plans be rated for risk?

http://www.beforeyousignup.info/joining/army/54-danger

txradioguy
10-30-2011, 02:55 AM
Should all retirement plans be rated for risk?

http://www.beforeyousignup.info/joining/army/54-danger


You know...nah never mind...:rolleyes:

txradioguy
10-30-2011, 02:57 AM
A senior defense official told a congressional panel Tuesday that the current military retirement system is “neither unaffordable nor spiraling out of control, as some would contend,” and cautioned against proposals to replace it with a private-sector-style plan.

Jo Ann Rooney, the principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told a House Armed Services subcommittee Tuesday that private-sector models “may not necessarily be the proper approach for the military.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/military-retirement-plan-not-unaffordable-defense-official-says/2011/10/25/gIQA2X01GM_story.html

Witmaster
10-30-2011, 05:01 AM
[I only spent 8 1/2 years active, so I never retired from the military. I served in Vietnam in Operation Game Warden, 1968. 14,000 men were killed that year.]

The problem that I see with your complaints is that it puts you in the same bucket with everyone else in America. Pay rates are frozen everywhere. Everyone's retirement is in shambles, and many of them are simply gone; no money.
Everyone knows and everyone agrees (at least those that count) that your missions are hard. Terribly difficult, even.

But consider that the current system was designed when military personnel were paid significantly less than their civilian counterparts. Generals and Admirals never made as much as well paid executives; Sergeants, and Chief Petty Officers never made what a competent electrician could make. So they retired early, and took home half their salary, which was a pittance.

My, how things have changed. My father, who retired in 1959 as a Lt Commander, died in 2009, after collecting half the pay of an active duty Lt Commander for a solid 50 years. We could debate all day about how much he was due and how it should be paid, and I'm sure everyone has an opinion. But the fact is, that no system - military or civilian - can survive that kind of economic backloading. To pay someone half their salary for 50 years after serving 20 is just not affordable if they have been paid adequately. The old system - the one they are now phasing out - assumed the old military pay scale.

Well… as I’m sure you expected, I vehemently disagree.

My argument does NOT, as you say, “put me in the same bucket” as everyone else. I make the clear distinction that our numbers make up a very small percentage of the entire U.S. population.

Furthermore, painting this broad-brushed comparison of Admirals and Generals to the average Enlisted Retiree is hardly accurate. Additionally, not everyone retires at the rank of Lieutenant Commander; even if we all did, so what?

The overall total number of living veterans (both prior service and currently still in service) is approximately 22 million. That’s roughly 7% of the total population. Of that 22 million, approximately 9,800,000 receive pensions and benefits. That’s [roughly] 3.14% of the U.S. (veteran) population that receive pensions and benefits.

Now… I think we can all agree that the percentages are small. However, the “powers that be” don’t highlight this fact. They choose to highlight dollar figures that will (appear to) justify their logic in dissolving Veteran’s Benefits. For example, it’s no secret that the average total amount of federal government spending for veteran’s benefits programs is approximately $95.6 Billion. HOLY $H!!ZZA!!! That seems like a staggering amount!! But wait… it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do simple math.

Let’s work it out. Take 95.6 Billion and Divide it by 9.8 Million. That works itself out to be approximately $9,755.10 per veteran / year (averaged). Of course, that’s not really a fair assessment. Not ALL veterans are getting an equal amount. General and Admirals and Lt. Commanders (obviously) receive more than the average 20-year enlisted retiree.

Of that 95.6 Billion, $44.7 billion went to compensation and pensions (taxable income), $43.4 billion for medical programs and the remainder to other programs, such as vocational rehabilitation and education. In other words, it’s not like this astronomical figure ($95.6 Billion) went directly into the pockets of veterans. A large percentage of this money is taxable… which means a portion of it went BACK to the government. Furthermore, the remaining money was used to pay doctors and medical professionals for their services to vets, and finally, what little is left is spent to pay teachers and vocational instructors. In summary… a HUGE percentage of this money is invested back into communities by paying for goods and services that veterans NEED. Veteran’s actually “pocket” a very small sum of this money. However, If you were to listen to the spin some proponents of the “benefit overhaul”, you’d think we were all out buying small private islands to retire on.

Now…

The approximate number of individual WELFARE CASELOADS in the United States is 4,963,771. Now… a “caseload” can entail anything from a single person to a household of people but…for the sake of discussion (and my limited math skills), let’s just “assume” we’re talking about 1 person per case. That equals out to about 1.59% of the population. Now… who in the class wants to guess what the annual expense for this group is? Any takers?

FOUR HUNDRED and NINTEY FIVE BILLION, SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND Smackeroos! (That’s just too awesome to not spell out.) HOLY BEEJEEBUS!! That's nearly a HALF-TRILLION DOLLARS!!! Seriously though, that works itself out to around $99,843.45 per “caseload” per year. The only problem is…. It’s not really per year; it’s more than that. It’s climbing. Every year we spend more… and MORE.

Tell you what…
There are currently about 13 BILLION DOLLARS in earmarked funds JUST FOR “highway improvements” that can never be spent because some bonehead congressman/woman tried to earmark money for roads that don’t exist. Some “bean counter” caught the “mistake” and the funds are now just sitting there…locked in an escrow account, un-invested and wasted. Well… I got a road. It’s called the ULTIMATE EXPRESSWAY to Erik’s Totally Kick Ass Retirement Party and Private Island. I’ll even invite every Friend on my FaceBook Page and their friends too!! Heck… I’ll split it evenly with every member of my Battalion. That’s about $18 Million apiece. Not bad… and I’ll tell you what, Mr. “Military Pension Revamp Man”, you can keep mine. Just toss me one of these absolutely LUDICROUS demonstrations of totally wasted taxpayer money, and you’ll never hear from me again!!!

Novaheart
10-30-2011, 09:03 AM
You know...nah never mind...:rolleyes:

You may not want to discuss it, but it is clearly open for discussion.

Mind you that I don't actually have a hard and fast position on this at the moment, merely that there is a sauce for the goose factor to it, and you can't simply declare that only the military is goose and everyone else is gander. The military retirement system was designed at a time when active duty military compensation was quite different from the present. It's not surprising that when one thing changes other things will change as well.

Besides, we are being told that unlike nonmilitary jobs (including police, fire, and convenience store clerk) , changes will not affect those currently enrolled. So the changes, if any, will be part of the decision to make a career of the military, as they always have been for some people.

Novaheart
10-30-2011, 09:14 AM
....................

Welfare and highway expenses aren't relevant to military expenses, or the cost of the IRS for that matter except that spending cuts have to come from somewhere. What the politicians are saying is that everything is on the table, and what you are saying is that one thing should not be on the table, and should only be increased. What some others are saying is that if you simply entertain the question, or god forbid disagree, then you must hate the military. Bullshit. The military budget is and has always been in play, and that includes the cost of the personnel.

Besides, this is probably some cloak and dagger thing anyway, with some force in Congress wanting to shut something down and getting resistance, so they fire a shot over the military retirement system, the same way they fire a shot over Social Security or Medicare to get some traction.

Serving in the military is a noble and patriotic thing, fortunately the young men and women of America haven't traditionally made the decision to join based on their expected paycheck.

Witmaster
10-30-2011, 09:27 AM
Welfare and highway expenses aren't relevant to military expenses, or the cost of the IRS for that matter except that spending cuts have to come from somewhere. What the politicians are saying is that everything is on the table, and what you are saying is that one thing should not be on the table, and should only be increased. What some others are saying is that if you simply entertain the question, or god forbid disagree, then you must hate the military. Bullshit. The military budget is and has always been in play, and that includes the cost of the personnel.

Besides, this is probably some cloak and dagger thing anyway, with some force in Congress wanting to shut something down and getting resistance, so they fire a shot over the military retirement system, the same way they fire a shot over Social Security or Medicare to get some traction.

Serving in the military is a noble and patriotic thing, fortunately the young men and women of America haven't traditionally made the decision to join based on their expected paycheck.You've missed my point... almost entirely.

This government squanders trillions of dollars of frivolous and ethically imballanced "projects". Welfare fraud, waste and abuse is just one ov the many areas we hemmorage our tax dollars.

My (Highway fund) statement was another example of how billions of funds funneled into special interest projects that would have never been funded otherwise.

I never ONCE made the claim that anyone who disagrees with me "hates the military" so you can kindly shove that thought back up your ass. ;)

Novaheart
10-30-2011, 09:45 AM
You've missed my point... almost entirely.


I saw your point, and consider it historically unsupported.



This government squanders trillions of dollars of frivolous and ethically imballanced "projects". Welfare fraud, waste and abuse is just one ov the many areas we hemmorage our tax dollars.

By "this government" I have to assume you mean the United States government. Can you point to a time when the government didn't spend great sums of money in ways that displeased those who didn't directly benefit? We worship the "robber barons", and if you study them you will find that with few exceptions their wealth was in some way created with US tax dollars. That's what the government does: it taxes everyone and makes millionaires out of some. This has not changed since the King of Egypt built the granary.

Novaheart
10-30-2011, 09:51 AM
My (Highway fund) statement was another example of how billions of funds funneled into special interest projects that would have never been funded otherwise.


The assumption being that military expenses do not fund millionaires and special interests, when in fact they do. Much wealth is made by being a vendor or contractor to the US government.


They also fund lots of little people who own stores and rental properties next to obsolete bases which are kept open in a kind of collective welfare. Whenever someone tries to close one of those bases, pictures of Biafran babies and suburbanites scrounging for food are played in Congress.

djones520
10-30-2011, 09:53 AM
Should all retirement plans be rated for risk?

http://www.beforeyousignup.info/joining/army/54-danger

If you want to put it that way, sure.

When you need to fill ranks that your putting your life at risk for on a frequent basis, what incentive are you offering when your rewarding the exact same thing to people who sit at a desk in their home city easy peasy for their whole lives.

The retirement plan was a HUGE reason I joined the military, and have STAYED in the military.

Offering me a 401k that I could have gotten anywhere, I would have had no reason to stay beyond my first enlistment. And believe me, I was doing some serious thinking about getting out. Hell, I'm coming up on my second reenlistment right now, and I was again doing some serious thinking.

Military is going to lose a lot of people hands down with such a plan.

Novaheart
10-30-2011, 09:57 AM
I never ONCE made the claim that anyone who disagrees with me "hates the military" so you can kindly shove that thought back up your ass. ;)

That would be why I said, "Some other people .... ". The English language is an amazingly precise one, try learning it.

Witmaster
10-30-2011, 10:03 AM
The assumption being that military expenses do not fund millionaires and special interests, when in fact they do. Much wealth is made by being a vendor or contractor to the US government.


They also fund lots of little people who own stores and rental properties next to obsolete bases which are kept open in a kind of collective welfare. Whenever someone tries to close one of those bases, pictures of Biafran babies and suburbanites scrounging for food are played in Congress.
OK...

Now YOU are talking about something completely different, and ironically, we'll probably agree on quite a bit. I've seen the astronomical level of spending and abuse in the military. I see the outrageous salaries we pay to contractors (although not all contractors are "millionaires" as you would imply), and yes, I've seen the arguments to keep military bases alive because of the financial impacts to neighboring towns and cities (although I don't recall pictures of babies scrounging for food in front of congress)

However, I opened this thread to address MILITARY RETIREMENT BENEFITS. Go hijack someone else.

Witmaster
10-30-2011, 10:04 AM
That would be why I said, "Some other people .... ". The English language is an amazingly precise one, try learning it.I did, what part of "shove it back up your ass" didn't you understand?

Novaheart
10-30-2011, 10:12 AM
If you want to put it that way, sure.

When you need to fill ranks that your putting your life at risk for on a frequent basis, what incentive are you offering when your rewarding the exact same thing to people who sit at a desk in their home city easy peasy for their whole lives.

This assumes that everyone in the military is a front line warrior and everyone in the state workforce is a file clerk, does it not? Many jobs come with risk of death or dismemberment, even more come with an accelerated level of physical breakdown from physical demand.

I guess what I would like to see is you and some others to see yourselves as being part of this country's workforce rather than something apart from it. Isn't the noncombat portion of the active duty personnel something above 80%?

djones520
10-30-2011, 10:23 AM
This assumes that everyone in the military is a front line warrior and everyone in the state workforce is a file clerk, does it not? Many jobs come with risk of death or dismemberment, even more come with an accelerated level of physical breakdown from physical demand.

I guess what I would like to see is you and some others to see yourselves as being part of this country's workforce rather than something apart from it. Isn't the noncombat portion of the active duty personnel something above 80%?

Right now Nova, everyone in the military is expected to be. And it's not just the inherint physical risk of bombs and bullets. We're required to keep ourselves at a much higher level of physical conditioning, which can frequently lead to trouble later in our lives. Over the first 8 years of my career I saw the Dr. exactly 0 times outside of my yearly check up. In the last two, I've had to be put on several medical profiles because of the issues my body has been experience keeping up with the physical demands of this life style. I imagine over the next decade, it will only get worse. Christ Nova, I'm a desk jockey weather forecaster, but I'm expected to keep pace with the Army and Marines.

We deploy a lot more often, ranging from months at a time, to years at a time. Removed from our family, our homes, and basically everything we have in life that helps make this job doable. At those times the best quarters you can expect to have are aluminum walls, with heaters that sometimes work. Expect to be living with 2-4 other people in a room you wouldn't say was big enough for 1.

We miss child birth, first days of school, birthdays, anniversary's, holidays, and any other special occasion you may think of. Rate of divorce is high and families are shattered quite often because of the demands of the job. Hell, I had to watch my own father try to kill himself because of the stressors of the job.

And this is just a few of the things everyone of us must deal with. Everyone of us. Some undoubtedly have it plenty worse then others, but we're all out there doing the job that NO ONE back in the US has to come close to doing.

And you think it's ok to give us the same retirement package as regular state employees who deal with none of this at all? It's bullshit. There has to be incentive to do what we do. Wanting to serve the country is great and all. I love America, I love the Air Force, but I know I've done my part. 10 years of my life I've given to it. Why should I continue to give more of what I have, and maybe even more, if I'm not getting anything out of it that I couldn't have gotten getting a nice safe cushy job elsewhere?

Lager
10-30-2011, 10:39 AM
As a military member myself, I do see the necessity of the military budget being "on the table" along with everything else. It is almost a given, that with a government controlled mostly by the Democratic party, cuts in defense will have to be offered up to the liberal base. Through out a career spanning over twenty years, I have seen how benefits have risen or fallen based on the number of international conflicts and depending on if there is a shortage, or surplus of troops in the ranks.

We're being told in the USAFR, that financial incentives to get people to retire early may be coming soon. They have already begun using the War Fit physical fitness test to push some out the door by tightening up the standards. That too, I've seen happen in the past. I recently heard that educational benefits such as tuition assistance, are being considered for trimming or elimination.

It's not that I don't see the logic of cutting defense costs, especially if the wars are indeed running down. But what gets me is how it's always targeted right at the average enlisted member. Those that wield the axe, never seem to go after the enormous, and I do mean ENORMOUS amount of waste and overspending in the system. In the reserves, we have baseline budgeting. And I've seen headquarters send out messages when the last fiscal quarter of the year arrives, imploring every unit to spend quicly and wantonly in order that the money alloted in the budget is 100 percent used up. Then the credit cards come out, and we end up with a lot of nice toys and other things that we really don't need, because there is no incentive to turn funds back, or actually come in under budget. And that's just a small example. I'm sure current members of the military have seen this, and countless other examples as well. So I wish they might focus on other more meaningful cuts, instead of always going after programs that hit the troops on the ground the hardest.

Novaheart
10-30-2011, 10:46 AM
There has to be incentive to do what we do.

The currency is changing, the incentive to do what you do is increasingly to have a decent job and paycheck, retirement is something most people aren't even counting on at the moment.

Our government and corporations (not a Democrat or Republican thing, a greed thing, a transfer of wealth thing) are driving labor into the ground. As that happens, it devalues you because it make you more replaceable, just like everyone else. When the military is a decision based in need, rather than desire or vocation, that will truly be a problem.

Novaheart
10-30-2011, 10:53 AM
It's not that I don't see the logic of cutting defense costs, especially if the wars are indeed running down. But what gets me is how it's always targeted right at the average enlisted member. Those that wield the axe, never seem to go after the enormous, and I do mean ENORMOUS amount of waste and overspending in the system.

Of course they do, and it's the same all over. That's why I would like to see some broader support coming out of the military, instead of "Fuck those union people."

The politicians aren't going to cut the transfer of wealth to the big vendors and contractors, those people donate money and allow social climbing politicians to come to their Christmas parties. They go after the rank and file. The government isn't going to take away the Director of Government Services car allowance, they are going to cut a garbageman. They aren't going to fire a head shed's driver, they are going to fire a police dispatcher.

But as long as some folks think that they are part of Them rather than US, we'll continue to be weaker than the people who are robbing us blind. Some welfare queen might be stealing a few dollars a month in benefits she doesn't need, but she's an amateur compared to the blue suit and red tie guys.

Odysseus
10-30-2011, 11:40 AM
You've missed my point... almost entirely.
Nova is very good at that.


I never ONCE made the claim that anyone who disagrees with me "hates the military" so you can kindly shove that thought back up your ass. ;)
Nova's good at that, too. You should read his take on DADT repeal.

I did, what part of "shove it back up your ass" didn't you understand?
Don't go there. He really knows more about that than you do. :D

Of course they do, and it's the same all over. That's why I would like to see some broader support coming out of the military, instead of "Fuck those union people."
Why? The unions are more than happy to F*** us. How many unions are out there demanding unilateral defense cuts that have nothing to do with collective bargaining?


The politicians aren't going to cut the transfer of wealth to the big vendors and contractors, those people donate money and allow social climbing politicians to come to their Christmas parties. They go after the rank and file. The government isn't going to take away the Director of Government Services car allowance, they are going to cut a garbageman. They aren't going to fire a head shed's driver, they are going to fire a police dispatcher.
So many lapses in logic... Where to begin...

First, the government goes after big vendors and contractors all the time, especially if they can protect their own interests. Obama's NLRB refused to allow Boeing, a major contractor and vendor, to build a new plant in South Carolina, at the behest of their unions. Second, while you are right that the various government agencies will not cut the perks for the higher ups if they can avoid it, that's not a justification to go after the military's budget, but a reason to go after every federal agency's budget, especially those that serve no purpose except to centralize power in DC, such as the Departments of Education and Energy. Right now, Right now, there is an Army Task Force that is reconciling records at Arlington National Cemetery and fixing errors going back to the Civil War. Show me any other federal agency that can do that with its records. The IRS loses over a million returns per year. The DOJ can't find subpeonaed memos from Fast and Furious that it sent last year. Most federal agencies do everything that they can to avoid audits, and some have succeeded to the point where they have no idea how many employees they have or what they spend. You are supporting cutting the most efficient, effective agency of the federal government, one of the few that has a Constitutional justification for its existence, and making excuses for the rest.


But as long as some folks think that they are part of Them rather than US, we'll continue to be weaker than the people who are robbing us blind. Some welfare queen might be stealing a few dollars a month in benefits she doesn't need, but she's an amateur compared to the blue suit and red tie guys.
Oh, please. You're ready to gut any program that isn't fully rainbow-compliant, and then complain about an us-vs-them mentality? This is chutzpah, even for you.

txradioguy
10-31-2011, 05:57 AM
This assumes that everyone in the military is a front line warrior and everyone in the state workforce is a file clerk, does it not? Many jobs come with risk of death or dismemberment, even more come with an accelerated level of physical breakdown from physical demand.

In the wars we are fighting now...YES everyone is a "front line warrior" as you put it.


I guess what I would like to see is you and some others to see yourselves as being part of this country's workforce rather than something apart from it.

I'd like for you to cpomprehend that we are the reason the country's workforce is able to GO to work.




Isn't the noncombat portion of the active duty personnel something above 80%?

You really need to quit citing cold war statistics as if they are current.

Novaheart
10-31-2011, 11:11 AM
In the wars we are fighting now...YES everyone is a "front line warrior" as you put it........


You really need to quit citing cold war statistics as if they are current.

Got stats?

AmPat
10-31-2011, 11:27 AM
Originally Posted by Novaheart View Post
This assumes that everyone in the military is a front line warrior and everyone in the state workforce is a file clerk, does it not? Many jobs come with risk of death or dismemberment, even more come with an accelerated level of physical breakdown from physical demand.

This really displays your ignorance. There are no WWI style trenches or front line traces in this type war. Every Soldier, Sailor, or Airman that deploys is in danger. The FOBs they live on are fixed much like those previously mentioned trenches. That means they are well known to the enemy. Any troop/equipment/supply movement carries an inherent risk of being shot at,and unfortunately captured. Not all Soldiers are combat. Most are Combat support or service support.

I am an attack pilot. In the army, that means officers go into direct battle with the enemy. The enlisted keep my aircraft fixed, fueled and armed. I cannot turn the enemy into pink mist and bone fragments without them. While I am out hunting the Turdistanis, the enlisted and other service support are back on the FOB cooking, cleaning, and repairing. It takes many more of them to fight a war than it does me. The FOB has been a target, albeit somewhat safe since we began this war.

The closest I came to being blown up was while on the FOB during rocket and mortar attacks. The "non-combat" troops were right beside me.

txradioguy
10-31-2011, 11:32 AM
Got stats?

This coming from the guy who pulled that 80% stat out of his ass.

You first.

AmPat
10-31-2011, 11:40 AM
This coming from the guy who pulled that 80% stat out of his ass.

You first.

What "stats" are we seeking?

txradioguy
10-31-2011, 11:43 AM
What "stats" are we seeking?

He was citing some 80% figure and I made the comment that what he was spewing sounded like outdated Cold War stats and in typical Libtard fashion Nova wants ME to prove something he said.

Novaheart
10-31-2011, 11:54 AM
This coming from the guy who pulled that 80% stat out of his ass.

You first.

Regardless of where I got the figure, it was a question not a statement. Either you know the actual figure or you don't, however since you challenged it then you ought to have one of your own, preferably an accurate one.

http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/041019DeployPercent.pdf

The way I am reading this chart, about 26% of the military is stationed overseas (down from a high during Vietnam) and of that 26% about half are in "overseas military operations" which is defined as a position where combat is or is likely to occur.

Starbuck
10-31-2011, 12:17 PM
Well… as I’m sure you expected, I vehemently disagree.

My argument does NOT, as you say, “put me in the same bucket” as everyone else. ..........
Sure it does. My pay has been frozen; so has yours. My medical expenses have gone up; so have yours.


The overall total number of living veterans (both prior service and currently still in service) is approximately 22 million. That’s roughly 7% of the total population. Of that 22 million, approximately 9,800,000 receive pensions and benefits.....
You ignore the problem by lumping in people like me who never retired and are no longer producing anything for the US military in with the active people. Dunno where you get 9.8 million retirees....:confused:

I show 1.5 million active; 1.4 million reserve; and 1.9 million retirees. And that is the problem. We have more retirees than we do active members. It all worked out well back when military people were paid a pittance and most people died at the age of 60, but now they are paid well and live longer, and it creates a problem.

Population of the US or any other country has nothing to do with it.

Of course, it is a fact; you military people can't do your job until the age of 60. It's just not possible. It requires too much of you, and I think most people accept the fact that about 20, maybe 30 years is all you have to give. Then you're done. Age 50, +- .

I don't know what the answer is. The way it is now, we have to support a million man army that doesn't exist. (that is arrived at by taking the 1.9 million retirees and assuming they draw about 50%+ of their salary)

I can see why you're upset, but I can see the problem for congress, too. I really expect that congress will do nothing.

Peace:)

txradioguy
10-31-2011, 02:23 PM
Regardless of where I got the figure, it was a question not a statement. Either you know the actual figure or you don't, however since you challenged it then you ought to have one of your own, preferably an accurate one.

Sorry Libtard...you threw out the stat...you back it up.




The way I am reading this chart, about 26% of the military is stationed overseas (down from a high during Vietnam) and of that 26% about half are in "overseas military operations" which is defined as a position where combat is or is likely to occur.

And the other half are in some stage of retrofit after returning from deployment or are in the field currently getting ready to deploy.

It's a continuous circle that you don't seem to comprehend.