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On the Lighter Side (Part....whatever)

Sequestration? Fiscal cliff? Either way, the military and veterans are going to "pay"

And I don't mean "pay" in a good way.  According to, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) believes that regardless of whether we're confronted with sequestration (or not) or the fiscal cliff (or not), it's time to cut back on military and veteran pay and benefits.

You see the wars are winding down and the time is approaching where it will be politically safe to ignore the military and veteran communities again.  And here's a great way to get that ball rolling:

This week Tom Philpott reported that the Congressional Budget Office has put a red “laser dot” on future pay raises, TRICARE, and future retirement benefits.

In their report, the CBO says annual military pay raises have exceeded civilian wage growth over the last 10 years. In fact the CBO estimates that military pay increased by 52 percent from 2002 to 2010 while civilian wages rose only 24 percent.

Anyone, what have we been doing with the military for the past 10 years?  Oh, yeah, fighting two wars.

Notice the CBO isn't recommending cuts in the federal work forces pay and benefits which is consistently higher than the civilian community (and it is such dangerous work to boot).  Nope, it's the 1% in military that needs to be brought to heel.  And let's not mention the fact that much of the reason that civilian wages haven't risen in these past 10 years rests with politics and policies of the very government now considering cutting military pay and benefits.

Says the CBO:

The CBO says that any impact reducing pay increases might have on recruiting and retention can be mitigated by offering larger enlistment and reenlistment bonuses.   The CBO pay cap option would mean military pay would lose nine percent to private sector wage growth over the five-year period.

That assumes private sector growth.  Look around you ... how much of that are you seeing?  How much do you expect?  Yeah, me neither.

You'll love this next part from a grateful government:

The CBO also suggests an option to raise TRICARE enrollment fees, deductibles or copayments, actions also proposed by the administration last April.  For working-age retirees, those under 65, fee hikes should be phased over five years and use a “tiered approach” so that senior-grade retirees would pay higher fees than lower-ranking retirees.

Philpott reports that the CBO says higher enrollment fees not only would raise collections but also discourage retirees and families from relying on military health care versus civilian employer health insurance.  Higher deductibles and co-pays would restrain use of medical services too and also lower TRICARE costs.

Plan:  We'll make it so expensive you won't use it.  And that, of course, makes it effectively worthless to the retiree.  Feeling the love?

Key point from the story?

The plan to discourage retirees and families from relying on TRICARE has some support in the Senate.

Maybe you want to "discourge" that support (as well as the pay plan)?

As the author of the article points out, whether its about sequestration or the fiscal cliff, the avoidance of both has targeted us:

The servicemembers and retirees should be aware that the deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff” is likely to impact their families as much as the sequestration itself.