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Apocalypse
11-04-2012, 11:44 AM
http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2012/11/military-think-tank-recommends-big-benefit-cuts-110112w/

Think tank recommends big benefits cuts

By Rick Maze (rmaze@militarytimes.com?subject=Question%20from%2 0AirForceTimes.com%20reader) - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Nov 1, 2012 11:36:21 EDT

A new report by a liberal-leaning think tank recommends a dramatic overhaul of military pay, retirement and health care benefits as part of a $1 trillion cut in defense spending over 10 years.


The Center for American Progress calls for capping pay raises, eliminating military health benefits for many retirees who are covered by an employer-provided plan, and reducing the value of military retired pay as well as making retirees wait until age 60 to start receiving it.


Recommendations are included in a report, Rebalancing Our National Security, released Oct. 31 by the progressive think tank and advocacy group. The report opposes across-the-board cuts in defense spending that could occur beginning in January under sequestration but still calls for major reductions in defense spending.


Capping pay raises, the report says, could save $16.5 billion over the next five years. Reducing retiree health care benefits, through a combination of restricting care and raising fees, could save $15 billion a year. Reforming military retired pay could save, in the short term, up to $13 billion a year, and over time could save up to $70 billion a year off the current plan.


In addition to cutting compensation and benefits, the report also recommends cutting the number of active-duty troops permanently based in Europe and Asia, saving $10 billion a year. It recommends withdrawing 33,000 troops from Europe and about 17,000 from Asia.

In calling for less spending on military pay raises, the report basically endorses a plan proposed, but not yet executed, by the Defense Department. Under the Pentagon plan (http://www.militarytimes.com/news/2012/08/PRIMEmilitary-dial-back-pay-raises-report-says-082012/), pay raises beginning in 2015 would be capped at less than the average increase in private sector pay, a move that responds to a belief that military members are being paid more than civilians with comparable jobs and experience. This happened because Congress, over Pentagon objections, has regularly provided the military with raises that were slightly larger than the average private-sector raise to eliminate what had been perceived as a pay gap. The end result, says the report, is that the average service member is receiving $5,400 more in annual compensation than a comparable civilian.


The Defense Department plan calls for a 0.5 percent raise in 2015, a 1 percent raise in 2016 and a 1.5 percent raise in 2017 to bring pay levels back in line, which the CAP report endorses.
“To its credit, the Department of Defense has attempted to tackle this problem in its FY 2013 budget request, outlining a plan that would gradually bring military pay back in line with the Employment Cost Index without cutting any service member’s pay,” the report says. “Congress should demonstrate political courage and allow the Department of Defense to execute this long-term plan.”


Similarly, the report endorses many of the Defense Department’s proposals for cutting health care costs by raising fees, mostly on retirees and their families. But the report goes a step further: “To truly restore the Tricare program to stable financial footing, the Defense Department should enact measures to reduce the overutilization of medical services and limit double coverage of working-age military retirees,” the report says.


One idea would be to modify Tricare for Life benefits for Medicare-eligible retirees so that the program would not cover the first $500 of costs per year and would cover only 50 percent of the next $5,000.


Another idea would be to mandate that working-age retirees could only have Tricare benefits if they or their spouses do not have access to employer-provided health benefits. The report suggests this would be an income-based restriction but does not say what the cutoff should be.
The report also recommends modifying military retirement benefits. For anyone currently in the military with fewer than 10 years of service, benefits could be cut: Instead of receiving 50 percent of basic pay after 20 years of service, with immediate benefits, the report says the benefits would be 40 percent of base pay with payments not beginning until age 60. For people not yet in the military, there would be no fixed retired pay in the future, only a pre-tax retirement savings plan based on contributions from the service member.

Rockntractor
11-04-2012, 11:49 AM
Of course they did.




Don't write in light yellow.

djones520
11-04-2012, 11:55 AM
My response?

http://i3.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/003/853/MIDDLE_FINGER_CHILD.jpg

djones520
11-04-2012, 12:02 PM
With all due respect to our local Col...

If they want to save some money, slash officer pay. Seriously, I've got 2nd and 1st Lt's here who do the jobs that E-3's can do, yet their making just as much, or more then I am. People who have been in the AF for 2 years, make as much money as I who have been in for 11, and they have significantly less responsibility then I do.

Drives me nuts.

Thats my Enlisted bitch about Officers of the week.

txradioguy
11-04-2012, 12:03 PM
Yet another reason to put responsible people back in charge of National Defense.

SaintLouieWoman
11-04-2012, 01:45 PM
With all due respect to our local Col...

If they want to save some money, slash officer pay. Seriously, I've got 2nd and 1st Lt's here who do the jobs that E-3's can do, yet their making just as much, or more then I am. People who have been in the AF for 2 years, make as much money as I who have been in for 11, and they have significantly less responsibility then I do.

Drives me nuts.

Thats my Enlisted bitch about Officers of the week.

It happens everywhere, including business. I had 23 years in with my company, had a much more technical sale necessitating knowing federal contracting, as well as the different procurement rules dictated by local governments, plus selling the entire product line vs a more limited one, and they'd end up compensating the flavor of the month hire with no experience other than advanced butt kissing more than me. It was extremely demotivating. I think their business in my area of expertise pretty much fell apart after I left.

Stuff just isn't fair sometimes. At least with a bit of distance from it, the negative feelings have subsided a bit. Now I understand how my dad felt when he had worked for one of the Baby Bell's for almost 45 years and would have to train the woman or recent college grad from one of the elite schools (my dad called them jet jobs who shot to the top) who would become his boss. Stuff just isn't fair all the time.

Retread
11-04-2012, 08:04 PM
In one of my earlier lives I watched as a wage/hr man compared first of the month paychecks with the district mgr who had told him that the pay scale was loaded in the hourly wage favor.

The 'grunt' said 'No, you did make more than me.'

The mgr responded 'But I don't have another check coming on the 15th like you do.'

Elspeth
11-04-2012, 08:38 PM
This means more reliance on Blackwater/Xe/Academi and other privatized military. It won't save money--it will just move resources out of government's one true function: military defense of the people.

Odysseus
11-04-2012, 09:27 PM
Calling the Center for American Progress a think tank does disservice to the word "think". They're simply a means to translate leftist ideology into policy goals by pretending to present their positions as the results of studies. From discoverthenetworks.org (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6709):




Think tank headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta
Helped launch Media Matters For America in 2004


The Center for American Progress (CAP) describes (http://www.americanprogress.org/about/mission/) itself as “an independent nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action” in such areas as “energy, national security, economic growth and opportunity, immigration, education, and health care.”

The prime mover (http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pdf/v1296495191.pdf) behind CAP's creation was the billionaire philanthropist George Soros (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=977). Deeply disappointed by George W. Bush's presidential election victory in 2000, and by the subsequent election of Republican majorities in both houses of Congress two years later, Soros was convinced that the Republicans' success was a result of their superior think-tank infrastructure and media presence. Thus he called for the creation of a new left-wing, pro-Democrat (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6214) think tank that, with proper funding, could establish a high-profile media presence of its own—and thereby counter the conservative message machine more directly than did existing liberal-left thinks such as the Brookings Institution (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6890), the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=7336), the Urban Institute (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6927), and Harvard (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6678)’s Kennedy School of Government.

Investigative journalist Robert Dreyfuss wrote in the March 1, 2004 edition of The Nation (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6779): "The idea for the Center [CAP] began with discussions in 2002 between[Morton] Halperin (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=1682) and George Soros (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=977), the billionaire investor.… Halperin, who heads the office of Soros' Open Society Institute (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/funderProfile.asp?fndid=5181), brought [former Clinton (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=644) chief of staff John] (http://www.discoverthenetwork.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=1626)Podesta (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=1626) into the discussion, and beginning in late 2002 Halperin and Podesta circulated a series of papers to funders." The Capital Research Center reports (http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pdf/v1185996377.pdf) that Podesta eagerly “took on the project of creating a new laboratory for liberalism.”

Soon thereafter, Soros and Halperin (who would become CAP's senior vice president) recruited Harold Ickes (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=1624)—chief fundraiser and former deputy chief of staff for the Clinton White House—to help organize the new think tank, which was launched on July 7, 2003 as the American Majority Institute. The name was changed to Center for American Progress on September 1, 2003.

Hillary Clinton (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/www.discoverthenetwork.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=18), too, was intimately involved in the formation of CAP. She told reporter Matt Bai of The New York Times Magazine on October 12, 2003, "We need some new intellectual capital. There has to be some thought given as to how we build the 21st-century policies that reflect the Democrat Party's values." She later told The Nation's Robert Dreyfuss: "We've had the challenge of filling a void on our side of the ledger for a long time, while the other side created an infrastructure that has come to dominate political discourse. The Center [CAP] is a welcome effort to fill that void."

Persistent press leaks during CAP's early years confirmed that Mrs. Clinton, and not its nominal leader, John Podesta, was ultimately in charge of the organization at that time. "It's the official Hillary Clinton think tank," an inside source confided (http://www.richardpoe.com/2007/10/11/bloggergate-hillary-leads-army-of-paid-bloggers/) to Christian Bourge of United Press International. Robert Dreyfuss noted (http://www.richardpoe.com/2007/10/18/newsmax-runs-my-bloggergate-story/) in The Nation: "In looking at Podesta's center, there's no escaping the imprint of the Clintons. It's not completely wrong to see it as a shadow government, a kind of Clinton White-House-in-exile—or a White House staff in readiness for President Hillary Clinton." Dreyfuss noted the abundance of Clintonites on the Center's staff, among them Robert Boorstin, Bill Clinton (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=644)'s national security speechwriter; Gene Sperling, Democratic Leadership Council staffer and the former head of President Clinton's National Economic Council; Matt Miller, former senior advisor to President Clinton's Office of Management and Budget; Debbie Berger, daughter of Clinton national security chiefSandy Berger (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2299); and others. In 2007 Mrs. Clinton said (http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2007/10/01/hillary-clinton-told-yearlykos-convention-she-helped-start-media-matt), at the YearlyKos convention of left-wing bloggers, that she herself had "helped to start and support" CAP.

Wealthy donors contributed many millions (http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pdf/v1296495191.pdf) of dollars to help the CAP establish itself during the first few years of its existence. These donations included $22,274,000 from the Sandler Foundation (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/funderProfile.asp?fndid=5381), created by Herbert and Marion Sandler (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2484); $3 million over a three-year period from George Soros; $3 million from the Marisla Foundation; $2,192,450 from the New York Community Trust; $1.9 million from the Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation; $1,849,991 from George Soros’s Open Society Institute (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/funderProfile.asp?fndid=5181); $797,983 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/funderProfile.asp?fndid=5299); and $765,000 from the Tides Foundation (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/funderProfile.asp?fndid=5184).

From its inception, one of CAP's chief priorities has been to carry out "rapid response" to what it calls conservative "attacks" in the media. To this end, CAP has always maintained numerous spokespeople and “experts (http://www.americanprogress.org/about/experts-alphabetical/)” ready to appear, on short notice, on national talk shows to debate or respond to conservative commentators.

In a related endeavor, on May 3, 2004, CAP helped launch David Brock (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2039)'s Media Matters for America (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=7150) to serve as a "watchdog" organization monitoring "rightwing" media for ethics violations and factual inaccuracies. According to The New York Times, Brock conferred with Hillary Clinton (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=18), Senator Tom Daschle (a Distinguished Senior Fellow (http://www.americanprogress.org/about/staff/daschle-tom/bio/) with CAP), and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2140) about Media Matters before embarking on the project. Podesta, noted the Times, "introduced to potential donors."

[B]CAP's Close Ties to the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama

The Capital Research Center describes (http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pdf/v1296495191.pdf) CAP, quite accurately, as “an adjunct of the Democratic Party” that “manufactures talking points, spins the daily news, and does opposition research”—essentially “a nonprofit public relations firm.” Little, if anything, that CAP produces can be considered serious research. Its policy positions and recommendations are indistinguishable from those of the Democratic Party. This is because (http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pdf/v1296495191.pdf) so many of the Center's senior staffers and Fellows (http://www.americanprogress.org/about/staff/) are veterans of the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=1511) administrations, and of the Democratic National Committee.

>Snip<

(http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/viewSubCategory.asp?id=1649)

From the moment Barack Obama was elected President in 2008, CAP had more influence (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=washingtonstory&sid=aF7fB1PF0NPg) on the new administration than did any other organization. As a November 2008 piece (http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1861305,00.html) in Time magazine put it: "[N]ot since the Heritage Foundation helped guide Ronald Reagan's transition in 1981 has a single outside group held so much sway. Just as candidate Obama depended on CAP during the campaign for opposition research and talking points, President-elect Obama has effectively contracted out the management of his own government's formation (http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1858701,00.html) to [John] Podesta.” Indeed, Podesta and at least ten additional CAP experts (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=washingtonstory&sid=aF7fB1PF0NPg) were among the president-elect's top advisors.

From the earliest days of the the Obama presidency, CAP helped formulate the administration's policies and supplied the White House with a steady stream of talking points designed to make those policies attractive to the public. Indeed, as of December 2008, before then-president-elect Obama had even taken his oath of office, he had already pledged his intent to fulfill some of CAP's chief policy recommendations. These included (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=washingtonstory&sid=aF7fB1PF0NPg) the Center's call for a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq coupled with a buildup of forces in Afghanistan; a plan to implement universal healthcare coverage for all Americans; and a plan to create “green jobs” that would combat “global warming.” According to (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=washingtonstory&sid=aF7fB1PF0NPg) a November 18, 2008 report by Bloomberg.com, CAP “has become ... an intellectual wellspring for Democratic policy proposals, including many that are shaping the agenda of the ... Obama administration.”

>Snip<

The CAP Message Machine

As of February 2011 (http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pdf/v1296495191.pdf), CAP's single largest department was its communications department, comprised of 31 full-time staffers tasked with spinning the news in a direction favorable to the Obama administration and the Democrats. “Rare is the day a reporter doesn’t get three or more press releases from [CAP],” said the Capital Research Center, adding:
“[CAP] hosts almost daily conference calls to reporters promoting its policy positions and responses to news events. The staff accommodates the press, eagerly arranging one-on-one interviews and supplying quot- able quotes for news stories. For reporters with deadlines crashing down on them, the Center is well-known as an easy quote machine. Podesta regularly appears on Sunday morning news programs.... Center researchers provide useful talking points for Democratic members of Congress.... To further spin the news, every weekday the Action Fund emails reporters a 'progress report,' a 400-500 word hyperlink-heavy analysis of the issue of the moment. The links often refer back to the Center’s own various blogs and website postings. It is a reliable echo chamber for left-wing conventional wisdom.”



>Snip<
Donors

Donors to CAP include the Rockefeller Family Fund (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/funderprofile.asp?fndid=5208&category=79), the Irving Harris Foundation, the Philip Murphy Foundation, the New York Community Trust, the Overbrook Foundation, the Peninsula Foundation, the Robert E. Rubin Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, the Bauman Family Foundation (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/funderprofile.asp?fndid=5305&category=79), the Nathan Cummings Foundation (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/funderprofile.asp?fndid=5311&category=79), theJoyce Foundation (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/funderprofile.asp?fndid=5310&category=79), the Open Society Institute (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/funderprofile.asp?fndid=5181&category=79), the Robert and Irene Schwartz Foundation, and (http://www.ploughshares.org/what-we-do/grant_search?grants_issue_tid%5Btids%5D=0&grants_geography_tid%5Btids%5D=0&DateApproved_TurnedDown%5Bmin%5D%5Bdate%5D=&DateApproved_TurnedDown%5Bmax%5D%5Bdate%5D=&keyword=Iran) the Ploughshares Fund (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=7156).




These guys are not a serious policy outlet, but simply George Soros' shills. They have no credibility, and deserve none.

Elspeth
11-04-2012, 09:29 PM
Soros, Clinton....more of the usual suspects.

Doesn't it make you sick how little variety there actually is?

Apocalypse
11-05-2012, 12:41 AM
These guys are not a serious policy outlet, but simply George Soros' shills. They have no credibility, and deserve none.

But they are loved by Obama, the military must make the sequester cuts, which Obama refused to stop, and Obama hates the military.

How much creds do you think Obama will give their suggestions when it comes to making these cuts?

Odysseus
11-05-2012, 12:50 AM
But they are loved by Obama, the military must make the sequester cuts, which Obama refused to stop, and Obama hates the military.

How much creds do you think Obama will give their suggestions when it comes to making these cuts?

If he's reelected, I have no doubt that they will be the source of his policies. He doesn't know enough about governing to understand how shallow their analysis is.

txradioguy
11-05-2012, 05:21 AM
Soros, Clinton....more of the usual suspects.

Doesn't it make you sick how little variety there actually is?

What makes me sick is people actually take them seriously.

txradioguy
11-05-2012, 05:23 AM
If he's reelected, I have no doubt that they will be the source of his policies. He doesn't know enough about governing to understand how shallow their analysis is.


No...I think he knows..and he'll go along because he agrees with them.

He views the U.S. as the source of all evil in the world...and he sees the U.S. Military as the instrument used to force Americanism on the rest of the world.

So he's going to make sure that U.S. as a country gets taken down a notch or two and also that the military gets reduced to the equivalent of force of some third world hell hole.

Novaheart
11-05-2012, 11:16 AM
If he's reelected, I have no doubt that they will be the source of his policies. He doesn't know enough about governing to understand how shallow their analysis is.

This president or that think tank is hardly the entirety of those who say that cuts in military spending are inevitable and essential. It's not politically driven. They are easing you into it because it's going to happen according to the guys on conservative talk radio I was listening to on Hugh Hewitt the other night. His guess expert referred to military budget cuts as a matter of fact and got "well of course" as response.

And some think we should fight a war on Persia. Where have we heard that before?

m00
11-05-2012, 01:22 PM
If he's reelected, I have no doubt that they will be the source of his policies. He doesn't know enough about governing to understand how shallow their analysis is.

It gets me how politicized this whole thing is. It seems like military budget/spending is driven by what Congressman has what military-related industries in what color state. I'm assuming if the military is like any other organization, there is a great deal of inefficiency/waste/redundancy/stupid policy that costs money. But as a Major, you can probably tell me if my thinking is right on this. :) But my opinion is also that people who think rank-and-file personnel costs (enlisted pay, benefits, etc) is a large part of that waste has an agenda. Headcount is never where the waste is, unless you have people that just shouldn't be there or who are pointless (which is generally in the management layer). And these are never the people who end up getting affected by salary/benefit cuts, anyway.

I would prefer if our politicians said "we're going to take pork out of the equation, and look at what we can do to improve efficiency." Maybe bring in some organizational experts. According to wikipedia we have 1.5 million active duty, and 800k reservists. But then I hear the media focusing on tens of thousands (such as the "surge") and it's like... if we have a 1.5 million active duty personnel and we're struggling with two 3rd world countries and fixated on 10k here and 20k there, then my instinct is that something is wrong.

Personally, instead of throwing more or less money at the problem (and at a Congressional level, this is a pork question), I'd be interested in analysing what exactly is wrong, and how can we fix it. But maybe the military already knows what is wrong, and nobody is listening.