Did the government sign contracts with recipients to provide welfare?

No. Funny that we can’t cut entitlement programs for folks getting a free ride, free medical care, free abortions or cell phones because we as a society owe them something, but the military men and women who have served our country in a multi-front war for a decade while under contract will be told that the government cannot fulfill its end of the deal. Interesting how that works, isn’t it?

Here we go again. From CBS News, Pentagon officials discuss the radical Defense Business Board plan to overhaul military retirements:

The military retirement system has long been considered untouchable – along with Social Security and Medicare. But in these days of soaring deficits, it seems everything is a potential target for budget cutters. A Pentagon-sponsored study says military pensions are no longer untouchable – they’re unaffordable.

CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports high-level, closely-held meetings are taking place at the Pentagon regarding a radical proposal to overhaul retirement for the nation’s 1.4 million service members – a bedrock guarantee of military service.

The proposal comes from an influential panel of military advisors called the Defense Business Board. Their plan, laid out in a 24-page presentation “Modernizing the Military Retirement System,” would eliminate the familiar system under which anyone who serves 20 years is eligible for retirement at half their salary. Instead, they’d get a 401k-style plan with government contributions.

 They’d have to wait until normal retirement age. It would save $250 billion dollars over 20 years.

The article mentions the mythological pursuit of “fairness” and how the proposed system will rectify the “unfairness” inherent in the current system in which soldiers sign a dotted line acknowledging they will not receive retirement unless they serve 20 years. So unfair. Leave your family for extended stretches of time for paradise in the desert with IED blasts and zooming bullets for entertainment. Who needs to defend this place anyway?

I have said before: reform the retirement system, but grandfather in soldiers currently serving. That’s not part of the plan, because the military is in the process of downsizing. They need to kick folks out who otherwise wouldn’t leave. What better way to speed them along than to say, no retirement for you–here’s a consolation prize for your trouble. If military retirement is unsustainable, then change it. But not for current troops who have borne the costs of a decade at war. Honor the contracts in place. Change the contract for those who have yet to enter the active-duty force.

Previously:

How does a professional soldier differ from a civilian employee?

The flimflam man at the Pentagon

So “paying the military and their families for sixty years when they only serve 20” is unsustainable, eh?

DOD recommends “radical” overhaul of military retirement

The military can take “significant” cuts but entitlements can’t?

Ah, now it makes sense: “radical” overhaul of military retirements necessary due to downsizing the force

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