This year, we have seen an assault against the protections and benefits promised to veterans. From health care cuts to retirement pay reductions, veterans and active military are in the cross hairs of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and others.
A little background. In March, the CBO published, “Reducing the Deficit.” This 250-page document contained a whole host of ideas that seem to really bad for everyone, including veterans. There were around 40 different solutions to fix our economy, or at least that’s what they’re selling it as.
The CBO’s planned agenda has raised cutting strategies that have been kicked around for some time. Here are the ones that are being kicked around in DC currently:
- Base COLA on alternative measure of inflation
- Introduce Minimum Out-of-Pocket Requirements under TRICARE For Life
- Cap Increases In Military Basic Pay
- Increase Medical Cost Sharing for Military Retirees
- Limit the TRICARE Benefit for Military Retirees and Their Dependents
- Increase Cost Sharing for Pharmaceuticals under TRICARE
- Consolidate DoD Retail Activities and Provide a Grocery Allowance for Service Members
- End Enrollment in VA Medical Care for Priority 7 & 8 Veterans
Separate from these, the Defense Business Board is now talking about removing the current Military Retirement System. Instead of the current system, active military could have to use the 401k system, if the Board gets its way. The claim is that the current system of war when it includes a fair retirement system costs too much. So while we still have wars, military lifers could lose their retirement if the companies in their 401k have an Enron moment. Again, veterans lose, Wall Street and Corporations win.
This 401k solution has been talked about for years within both political parties for the population as a whole – removing the Social Security safety net with a 401k Wall Street solution. I guess starting with Military Retirement first, to see how it goes, is the first step to making sure we’re all poor equally when the market tanks.
To me, it looks like the 401k recommendation is just another money grab. Even if it’s not, can we really trust Wall Street to gamble with Military Retirements? No way. Further, should veterans be required to bear the costs of war even after they serve because our government can’t figure out how to balance a checkbook? Hell no.
There is a Veterans Survey on DisabledVeterans.ORG geared right at this issue of budget cuts and your benefits. Take a second to make your voice heard. Tell Washington DC how you think they could balance the budget.