One of the more insignificant, yet pernicious, spending cuts in the Ryan-Murray budget is a reduction in military pensions. The changes would apply to current active-duty and retired military personnel under the age of 62. Many military families view these changes as a broken promise and, Breitbart News has learned, are convening a “Twitter Town Hall” Monday night in opposition to the budget deal. The grass roots event is targeting Senators up for reelection next year with the hashtag #KeepYourPromise.
“The President and Congress’s failure to watch the back of those who have served their country for twenty or more years in the military, particularly over the last twelve years of war, will ensure the next generation of potential recruits understands that their word means nothing,” Jeremy Hilton, an organizer of the event told Breitbart News.
Hilton is a Navy veteran and in 2012 was named “Military Spouse of the Year” by Armed Forces insurance. His wife currently serves as an officer in the Air Force.
“Military families understand that costs must be constrained,” Hilton continued. “[B]ut all of us have watched DoD flush money down the drain in Afghanistan, here in the states by buying Aeron chairs “because we have to spend it before the end of the year”, or multi-billion congressional boondoggles….we have seen waste that borders on the obscene.”
The Ryan-Murray deal pushes active-duty and veterans into a new pension plan that lowers their yearly cost-of-living adjustment. Instead of keep pace with inflation, the new yearly adjustment would be equal to inflation minus 1%. Once the veteran turns 62, the yearly adjustment would fully account for inflation going forward.
The change is expected to save around $7 billion over the next decade. The money coming out of veterans’ pension checks wouldn’t go to deficit reduction or paying down debt, however. It would go to finance increased government spending.
Rep. Paul Ryan defended the cut to military pensions over the weekend. “We give them a slightly smaller adjustment for inflation because they’re still in their working years and in most cases earning another paycheck,” Ryan said.
Ryan’s defense is beside the point. It isn’t really a question of whether or not a veteran can “afford” the pension benefit cut. It’s a question of whether the government should honor a commitment it’s made to its military personnel, especially at a time when the demands on them and their families are so great.
“So, at the end of twelve years of fighting,” Hilton told Breitbart News, “you are going to break faith with the men and women who have spent half of that time away from their families?”
You can follow Jeremy Hilton on Twitter here. #KeepYourPromise