"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Theft is Afoot - Your Retirement Being Stolen Right Now

The House of Representatives passed the Ryan-Murray budget today, according to the Wall Street Journal.  It's on its way to the Senate next, and then when signed by the President, will mark the first theft from military retirees since health care promises were retracted many years ago.

The theft is in the form of decreasing the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) by one percentage point.  Currently COLA is set to match the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which adjusts for inflation, or the buying power of your retirement money.  Assuming a correct CPI, today a military retiree's pension of $700 a month will continue to buy $700 worth of goods over the years, even as inflation rises and destroys the buying power of the dollar.  But that is what the House of Representatives has voted to change today, and it matters.

And inflation will most certainly rise a great deal, as the government continues to print money out of thin air and purchase toys and pork with history's largest credit card.

This is how the government "saves" money - by ensuring that as they print money in the future to pay for whatever programs or wars or foreign aid packages, military retirees will get less money because their retirement paychecks will not be able to purchase $700 worth of goods any more.  Over time, military retirees who used to be able to pay for their mortgage, will have to come up with money from somewhere else to pay that same mortgage, as their paycheck will no longer rise to cover inflation.  Put another way, every single year the retirement benefits of retirees will go down.  Every single year, they will be able to purchase less with their retirement check than the year before.

In short, our government is poised to "save money" (in quotes because in reality it's simply diverting money to other pockets) by breaking its word, and by not owning up to the contract they made with those they have sent to fight and die for whatever reasons they dream up.  In bipartisan fashion, of course, which is easy for them to achieve when they really want.  They play the role of Republicans and Democrats only for a puppet show.  When they want something done, they get it done despite the manufactured drama.  There is only one party in reality, and we're not in it.

A contract is a contract.  Military folks give up a great deal for their benefits.  We were told our leadership would not break the faith, and would not touch the retirement benefits of actively serving or currently retired veterans, but would make changes to programs offered to the new person who considers military service.  We were told we'd be grandfathered from any changes.

We were told if we liked our mutually agreed upon contract, we could keep it.

If this bill passes and is signed into law, it will mark the greatest theft from military personnel since Bud Day lost the battle to keep the government from breaking its word on health care.  It will be theft, pure and simple.  I'll tell you one other thing about this move.  It will start at 1% and once that precedent is set, it will not long after become 2%, until your retirement paycheck no longer has the buying power to purchase anything resembling what you could purchase originally. At least you'll be able to take that to the bank.

To those who don't pay attention this might not seem all that bad.  It is.  But it will get much worse.  We in the military are merely chess pieces to the politicians, quiet and easily managed and manipulated, to be used and abused and discarded at their will without any concern for our laws or agreements.  But remember they care about the massive military suicide rate, they want us to be resilient, and they appreciate the sacrifices of our families.

When it helps them get elected.  Shameful.


  1. Tony Carr, who I disagree with passionately on important matters, wrote a good article about this recently: http://www.businessinsider.com/tony-carr-pentagon-budget-vultures-target-personnel-2013-3

  2. And the Military Officers Association of America created a quick link to let your politicians know what you think on this matter: http://capwiz.com/moaa/issues/alert/?alertid=63028561

  3. Another good blog post from Tony Carr on the urgency of this matter: http://www.jqpublic-blog.com/?p=569&fb_action_ids=10201853817285921&fb_action_types=news.publishes&fb_ref=pub-standard&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582

  4. The interesting thing about Col Day's lawsuit (which was not granted cert by the SCOTUS) is that he lost that suit because Congress had passed no laws backing the DOD's lies about "free health care for life." It makes sense. The DOD was lying without a check written by Congress. But this is different when it comes to retirement. There is a "takings clause" and contract breach to be argued, and I am guessing there will be a big and successful lawsuit should Congress welch on its promise. This article is a good start for educating yourself on the merits of legal action: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42635.pdf

  5. And after reading the opinion, my optimism in the legal system above proved unfounded. A case can be made, but there is a serious headwind, only stronger in today's current climate of all three branches of government working for their own interests instead of the interests of the People. Secret courts, "lack of standing," "deference to the military," "state secrets," etc etc. http://www.pickyourbattles.net/2013/12/stolen-retirement-what-would-bud-day-do.html