It happens every year: in the not too distant future, once Syria fails to capture the national news cycle, some wag inside the E-Ring will speak with reporters about plans to slash military retiree benefits in order to pay for something so vitally important that breaking faith with America’s most loyal servants is worth it. The American military retiree special interest group and its representatives (American Legion, VFW, DAV) will lobby Congress to borrow more money to continue the status quo, and to target federal workers’ retirements.
It never happens: no one in the three branches of our government challenges the status quo.
Do retired Military or Civil Servant earn their retirement packages? Of course they do! But, consider this: what can’t be maintained won’t be maintained. Every year, we put more debt on the national credit card, and retirees suffer an erosion of benefits. Federal servants are not alone: state and local civil servants are also guaranteed retirement that is not underpinned by actual cash in the bank. And every year, their retirement is a politcal soccerball to get kicked around for the amusement of the masses.
The status quo is industrial age. Work 2-3 decades, get a portion of your pay, and have the government underwrite your health and dental care. When most workers passed away relatively soon after retirement, generous packages were sustainable. Now that people are living much longer, multiplied that government has grown into the millions, and that industrial age retirement plan is unsustainable and you the retiree face getting absolutely nothing.
My proposal for all federal workers:
1 retirement program: military, civil and foreign service, POTUS, members of Congress (after 2o years of service), and the federal judiciary. E Pluribus Payem.
Offer non-cash options: land, house, cars/trucks, childrens’ college education for free. A place to live, a truck to drive, kids through state school cost less than half pay for 50 years. Government has lots of land. Give options.
Offer non-VA, non-Try-to-get-care medical: the VA will maintain you in your decline, it won’t cure you. Is a better quality of life worth not hanging out at the VA?
What say you?