Congress Needs To Cut Its Own Pay Before It Takes Benefits Away From Our Troops

Yesterday the Military Times posted an article about the changes Congress and the President are making to the benefits received by our active duty military. This is the same military that Congress and the President have been deploying overseas for the last thirteen plus years.

The article reports:

The lower pay raise will be the most obvious hit for troops, who would be in line for a 1.8 percent raise based on anticipated private-sector wage growth.

For an E-3 with three years of service, the lower raise is a loss of about $195 a year. For an E-7 with 10 years, it comes out to $356. For an O-5 with 12 years of service, it’s $667 in annual salary.

Pentagon planners noted that move alone will save them about $3.8 billion over the next five years. Opponents argued that it creates a new wage gap between troops and their civilian counterparts, giving them less disposable income.

In addition, lawmakers approved trimming back the housing allowances paid to troops who live off base. The Pentagon initially sought to reduce the tax-free housing benefit by 5 percent by reducing the 100 percent of troops’ estimated housing costs that are covered now down to an average of 95 percent — in effect making troops pay 5 percent of their housing with out-of-pocket cash.

The new deal allowing only a 1 percent reduction for one year pushes off future decisions for now.

This is not the way to save money in the defense budget. Note that the article reports that cutting the amount of pay raises will “create a new wage gap between troops and their civilian counterparts.” Our military is a volunteer force. You can only cut wages so much before people stop volunteering.

I have a few suggestions here. How much does a welfare family receive in benefits compared to how much an enlisted military family receives in wages? Can we cut the federal government’s contribution to welfare and let the states sort out welfare fraud? Why is it that welfare programs seem to be the one thing that never gets cut? Why is welfare not running out of money and Social Security (which people pay into) always cited as going broke?

If the Republicans who got elected to Congress in November want to respect the wishes of the voters who elected them, they will find another way to cut the spending. To accept the continued hollowing out of our military and the cutting of benefits paid to our soldiers is to tamper with the national security of America. The voters will hold them accountable.