By Paul E. Gable
I had to let out a hearty laugh recently when I saw that the House of Representative passed the budget compromise measure.
Especially when so many of my political friends were jumping for joy that bipartisanship is not on life support after all in Washington, D.C.
Forgive me for not blowing out my knee while jumping for joy.
Instead, I laughed because the budget compromise is just another prime example of a bill that was passed but never truly read.
If it was, I don’t think our local Rep. Tom Rice would have turned his back on U.S. veterans and their families by voting to pass the budget deal like so many of his friends on the Hill did.
As part of the lackluster budget deal, military retirees under the age of 62 will have their pension cost-of-living increases capped at a rate lower than inflation. The logic is that younger military retirees will find other full-time work before they turn 62. The bill does, however, call for a one-time adjustment for “catch up” when the member turns 62.
Hey, that’s great.
However, one problem — the bill still means an average decrease in pension for enlisted soldiers and officers.
To cut veteran retirement benefits as part of “budget savings” is an absolute disgrace, and the men and women who pat themselves on the back for working up this compromise should be embarrassed. Less than four percent of our country’s population have the distinct honor of calling themselves a veteran, and this is how our elected officials thank them?
The soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen earned these benefits. To defer them until they are 62 is a slap in the face, especially when we all know the cost of money goes up in the later years.
Now, there’s a few things that were good about the bill.
For instance, the federal worker pension reform initiative is something that should be applauded.
However, instead of using modest savings to pay down our debt, the bill uses those savings to spend money. I am glad that our elected officials thought it would be wise to to vote for something that trades spending increases now for promised reductions in the future. Lord knows the past promised spending reductions have worked out just like we expected, but come to think of it, those never panned out quite like the elite in Washington had hoped.
Thank you Congressman Rice and the other 331 who voted in favor of punting the problem to my son and my grandchildren.
That’s the solution in Washington — just apply a band-aid and gather around as we kick the can a little further down the road.
As long as we spend more money and continue to trample on our veterans, bipartisanship is possible.
And, that is a sad state for Americans, who are watching our elected officials break their arms patting themselves on the back for extended spending and not representing those back home.
As George Washington said, “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation.”
America, our elected officials, who aren’t willing to talk about capping their pensions, just showed the world how little the service and sacrifice of our veterans is being appreciated.
Are you mad yet?
(Ed. Note: The writer is managing editor of the Shelbyville News in Shelbyville, Indiana)