Editorial - 12/19/13

With the holidays pressuring a budget compromise, Congress appears to be using the trendy precedent, by passing it, to see what's in it.   This deal will somewhat reduce the billions in sequestration cuts, the very largest share impacting our nation's defense capability.  While such measures are welcome, the punitive partial trade-off isn't, which is to reduce the planned-pension-dollars for all career military retirees, under age 62, including those legitimately-disabled, through cost-of-living adjustment reductions.  So let's   re-nig on the promise made to our current and future military retirees, for the latter, also a morale-hit, while  prompting newer members of our armed forces to re-think committing to a military career, no longer certain what else might be derailed by retirement time.    

In fairness, the proposed COLA reduction does leave retirees age 62 and above alone; for those below, it does allow for some rebalancing in later years; and it doesn't fully-trigger until 2016, providing time to develop less-punitive solutions.  But for now, it sends a negative message about the value of career service and sacrifice for America, not only by military members, but also for the financial security of military spouses who, also, have sacrificed for the nation, enduring repeated household-moves, deployments, and solo child-rearing, these last several years, especially.  Far better to seek expense savings by focusing on areas of known waste, such as, funding countries and regimes that like us, only as long as the money flows, and clamping down on food stamp mis-use, and fraudulent disability claims.  While social welfare is clearly an issue, big picture, it's by no means the most vital.  The continued ability to mount a dominant, over-powering, defense of our freedom is.