#1 Letter to Congress - Miltary Benefits10-12-2011, 01:37 PM
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.
10-12-2011, 01:50 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.
Four boxes keep us free: the soap box, the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.
THIS POST WILL BE MONITORED BY THE NSA
10-13-2011, 01:30 PM
- Join Date
- Jun 2005
- Woodland Park, Colorado, United States
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.
AmPatEducation without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
C. S. Lewis
Do not ever say that the desire to "do good" by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives. (Are you listening Barry)?:mad:
10-26-2011, 04:39 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.
- Join Date
- Apr 2005
10-27-2011, 08:53 AM
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.
10-27-2011, 09:55 AM
- Join Date
- Apr 2005
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.
10-29-2011, 02:14 AM
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
Witmaster, is that your letter to Congress?
10-29-2011, 08:07 AM
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.
10-29-2011, 10:07 AMIn most sports, cold-cocking an opposing player repeatedly in the face with a series of gigantic Slovakian uppercuts would get you a multi-game suspension without pay.
In hockey, it means you have to sit in the penalty box for five minutes.
|« Previous Thread | Next Thread »|