Making Military Families Pay

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


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The aide further noted that military cuts are already eating into equipment budgets and troop levels, cuts the Obama administration admits reduce the military’s capability to fight one major war while conducting a holding action in another conflict. “And now they are going to [the troops] again and asking them to pay more for their health care when you’ve held the civilian workforce at DoD and across the federal government virtually harmless in all of these cuts,” the aide said. “And it just doesn’t seem fair.”

That’s because it’s not about fairness. It’s about election-year politics. First, the increases aren’t scheduled to kick in until after the 2012 election, more than likely to avoid riling up military voters, as critic of the plan contend. And second, the double-standard of leaving civilian workers’ benefits unchanged while raising the cost for members of the military is a transparent attempt to keep labor unions on the Democratic side of the voting ledger for the same election.

Military groups are opposing the changes, with a heightened animus aimed at the tier system, which some veteran groups characterized as “means-testing” for service personnel. Retired Navy Capt. Kathryn M. Beasley, of the Military Officers Association of America, whose Military Coalition comprises 32 military service and veterans groups with an estimated 5 million members, calls the proposed changes a “breach of faith.” Richard L. DeNoyer, head of the 2-million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), was even more direct. “There is no military personnel issue more sacrosanct than pay and benefits,” he contended. “Any proposal that negatively impacts any quality of life program must be defeated, and that’s why the VFW is asking everyone to join the fight and send a united voice to Congress.”

And then there is the obvious impact on recruitment. Opponents of the proposal note that the current benefit system has played an integral part in attracting and keeping high-quality soldiers in our all-volunteer military forces–forces that will be reduced from 570,000 soldiers to roughly 490,000 over the next decade.

Adding insult to injury, a new policy that took effect in February reduces something known as “imminent danger pay.” Previously, soldiers in a “danger pay location” for any portion of a month got imminent danger pay for the entire month, which totaled $225. Now that pay is pro-rated at $7.50 per day. Thus, for example, a service member stationed 7 days of the month in Afghanistan will receive only $52.50. Exceptions will be made for troops “exposed to a hostile fire incident,” regardless of location. This change was part of the 2012 budget mandated by Congress.

Congress will also have to enact most of the proposed changes in Tricare, and hearings on the matter are scheduled for next month. Current law limits any increases in Tricare fees to cost of living increases in retirement pay.

There is little question that runaway budget deficits and a national debt of over $15 trillion require a serious re-thinking of America’s spending priorities. There is also little question the military budget contains fat that can be trimmed. Yet there is an unseemliness surrounding the idea of balancing the budget on the backs of people who have served, and continue to serve, their country. Some have paid the ultimate price, leaving members of their families to cope without them. Others have endured life-changing injuries, both physical and mental. Virtually every one of them merit the honor and respect of a nation that, more often than not, takes their sacrifices for granted.

Most Americans are well aware of the so-called “sacred cows” and their well-connected supporters that inform the budget-making process, both in the military and every other area of government. They also know the political class tends to go where resistance to cuts is either weak or least impactful at the ballot box. In short, these particular cuts make it apparent that military personnel and their benefits are considered “low-hanging fruit.”

It behooves Congress and the military brass to aim higher.

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  • Ken

    This is an egregious attack on active and retired military members! Having served over 20 years before retiring, I see this as the typical Leftist anti-military tactic. Punish those who protect or protected their right to act like spoiled, petulant children! All men and woman who are serving or have served have to be appalled at this!! Just another reason Obama MUST NOT be elected to a second term!!

    • maturin20

      I've never seen someone complain so much about a socialist system transitioning to a corporatist system, especially when his insurance premiums will remain lower than that of average citizens. Is this Saul Alinsky's fault, George Soros', fault, Muhammad's fault or my fault? I know my insurance company doesn't let me pay $9 for a three month supply of medicine. More like $12 dollars for 4 days. Is this because I don't read the Constitution enough?

      • al222

        could be because you haven't put your ass on the line for the country. just guessin'

        • Diane L. Crosby

          Exactly!!!!!!!
          As it is the lower ranks don't make enough to live on – it's criminal to think that the very people who put their lives on the line for their country have to actually rely on food stamps. But WAIT – according to Piglosi and that racist Jessee Jackson that stimulates the economy…………….
          Good God – what bloody fools they are – seriously unbelievable!!!!

        • maturin20

          Me enlisting in the military is going to fix healthcare costs?

      • Dave

        Maybe it's due to the yellow streak up your back and desire to let others do the dirty work for you? Thought so!

        Not socialism as these benefits were promised and worked and paid for. Something you wouldn't know about. You socialists give things away to those who have done nothing to earn them but being alive. That also sounds like you too.

        • maturin20

          Sure it's socialism. It's socialism like in Sparta. Except with a lot more whining and a lot less bravery.

  • Diane L. Crosby

    So much for "Hussein" the Kenyan Muslim – what a bastard he is………….There had to be many active and retired military personnel who voted for this ignoramus in 2008 – let's hope you've come to your senses this time around. Four more years of this fool and our beautiful country will never recover. How dare he do this to our military who sacrifice so much for us.
    Every day brings a new attack – he absolutely MUST BE STOPPED NOW!!!!!!

  • Diane L. Crosby

    So much for "Hussein" the Kenyan Muslim – what a bastard he is………….There had to be many active and retired military personnel who voted for this ignoramus in 2008 – let's hope you've come to your senses this time around. Four more years of this fool and our beautiful country will never recover. How dare he do this to our military who sacrifice so much for us.

  • Sage on the Stage

    And prosecute and jail him if he loses; impeach and prosecute him if he wins. And take away his Presidential pension.

  • kafir4life

    Between now and November, Stinky will make the case why active Military should not be allowed to vote. The case will be made that "nobody should get to decide who their boss is, it's not done in the private sector, why should we allow it?" He knows that his worst election performance is among the Military, so like the White Middle-Class vote, he's not expecting it, and plans to "punish" those groups as his enemies (his words, not mine).

  • Diane L. Crosby

    How can the active and retired military band together across the country to prevent the latest Muslim takeover from Hussein. How dare he penalize our military benefits – my disgust knows no bounds – but what can you expect when the Commander in Chief (supposedly) mispronounces CORPSMAN……………..
    He is ridiculed the world over – what an embarrassment to America.
    Any ideas out there to STOP this latest injustice????????

  • Rybbe

    Don't read the details. Don't look at the facts. Just believe! Believe Kathleen Sebelius when she says that the Affordable Health Care Act is just misunderstood. Just believe her when she says we should just ignore the facts.
    Just believe Teflon Obam when he says that we can keep our doctors and our plans, while we pay less for our health care (after we pay more from all of the increases that our insurance companies passed along to us last year)
    JUST BELIEVE, JUST BELIEVE, JUST BELIEVE!

  • mrbean

    A clandestine Muslim like Hussein Obama as president and commander-in-chief of the US military is an abomination. He has set the stage for Iran to take over Iraq and screwed up the war in Afghanistan with his A$$ kissing Qu'ran apology farce. Between him and the closet communist sexless hag he has a Secretary of State the have manage to totally screw up the foreign policy of the US by aligning themselve with our enemies and abandoning our friends, and put the US economy in the tank and piled up almost 16 trillion dollars in debt by January, 2013, They have also screwed up the miltary with their priority recruitment of homosexuals, putting women into combat units, and cutting the military budget. Need to cut the number of Federal employees starting with blacks who are both over-represented bby 600% and most are totally unqualified to hold the positions they have.

    • Jim_C

      Yes, we are now abandoning our allies, consorting with our enemies, and screwing up the military just for the hell of it! "Only women and homosexuals need apply." LOL!!!

      Hey mrbean–you realize this website helped set the stage for Iran taking over Iraq when they supported a vague plan to go in and democratize them. Go read the archives if you want a good ironic laugh–and deal with it!

      As for Afghanistan being screwed up? it's called "history." You don't make a pro forma apology? more US soldiers (who should be home yesterday) get shot at. Is that what you want?

  • yeomalt

    Google:

    60 billion in DOD contracting fraud

    & see where savings are available to pay for healthcare fees earned by people who volunteered to go to far away places and maybe never come back again.

    • Rifleman

      That money's gone, like the 'stimulus' I'd rather take it for the $200 billion a year we're paying so people can sit on their cans for two years at a stretch.

  • Ann

    I AGREE OBAMA has got to be stopped by not reelecting him and pelosi, reid and the other humanist friends of his. I feel as if I have not had a president in 3 years, but a dictator. We need to let everyone we know what Obama is doing to the military and the country as a whole. Just keep telling them until they finally believe you. Most of all, pray to the good Lord for freedom from this administration.

    • Jim_C

      Oh, life has been just oh so oppressive under Obama! LOL!

      • Rifleman

        Maybe it's just luck, but I never had someone who didn't know the difference between a drill and a mill come into my shop (where I've been safely plying my trade for almost 20 years), and tell me how to do my job, before hussein. It's certainly not luck that no government official ever told me I had to buy something, and then exempted their friends, before hussein. That seems pretty oppressive, for America, and they'll be the first to tell you they're just getting started.

      • WilliamJamesWard

        I get it now, Jim_C ala Jim Crow, you use reverse psychology to make people dislike Obama
        all the more…………not amazing, kind of funny, stick around you are a bunch of laughs………William

  • dos

    This is the scheme that DhimmiCrap is working on to deceive people that they are cutting the budget, But it actually shifts that expense into another unknown behemoth, aka obamacare, with the high risk of government monopoly on healthcare and dictating patients' lives, while simultaneously give it an excuse to increase government size unlimitely.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Cut military spending for the next ten years, under Obama we will not have ten more years but
    come November what will the new President and Congress be doing……….hopefully they will cut
    out every lousy thing the criminal obama administration has done…………………….William

  • truebearing

    Obama is insulting and impoverishing the current members of the military so they get fed up and quit. He will then replace them with gays, Muslims, blacks, and women…. in other words, his constituency. Then he won't have to worry about a military that is more loyal to the constitution than to him. Obama is going to purge the one power in America he fears the most: our military. Once it is sufficiently loyal, he will lavish pay, insurance, etc on "his" military.

  • Brujo Blanco

    Now our military when they are overseas fighting for is not only have to worry about being killed, maimed, or crippled they now have to worry about their families havin enough money for health care. I put 22 years on active duty. When I entered the military I was promised free medical qnd dental care for 20 years service. In fact this no cost care was identified as a reaso to stay on active duty while I was serving. Now with the advent of Obama I can say they my country lied to me, betrayed ms, and now my country will punish me for honorable service.

  • oldtimer

    Disgraceful…Make the politicians pay for their insurances.

  • חדרי ילדים

    שלום רציתי להמליץ לכם על אתר של ספות נוער, מזרן, ארונות הזזה ומיטה זוגיתוהכל במגוון רחב ועיצוב מהודר.