The holiday season has drawn to a close. We (the military community) have been patiently waiting for Congress’ return. We are waiting for them to execute on beginning to evaluate the repeal of the deferred compensation for military retirees via the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) reduction.
Over the last week or so, a couple of articles have made their way to the surface that actually endorse this deferred compensation cut. One, in particular, actually suggests that since he doesn’t need it neither then should anyone else.
In the interest of full disclose, this particular veteran, not-in-need-of-money apparently, is a retired flag officer. In civilian speak, that means he makes quite a bit more than most and certainly quite a bit more than the average.
Fighting for the repeal of deferred compensation cuts is not for HIM. It’s for everyone else.
And, also to provide some perspective, when these “luxury” numbers get tossed around like “$70,000 per year including housing and allowances”, you need to understand a few things:
- NONE of these “housing and allowances” are included in the retirement compensation.
- Retirement compensation ONLY includes ONE HALF of base pay which is significantly less than what a military member gets paid overall while on active duty.
- When “retirement” begins after 20 years, it is deferred compensation. That means, the military members who get paid on active duty are actually agreeing to take less up front (while they are on active duty) with the proviso that they get what was earned when active duty is over (retirement).
- Retirement is not the right word to use. AT. ALL. No one retires from the military in the civilian sense of the word.
- None of this matters at all. Why? Because those currently serving and those already in the retirement system, agreed to terms up front. Those terms need to be honored. In the civilian sector, a cut in deferred compensation without due process is a gross breach of contract.
- Don’t confuse a “job” with “duty.” That’s why it’s called Active DUTY. Not Active JOB.
- The talking heads saying things like “luxury”, “generous” and “working aged” are using those terms very deliberately. And, they are hoping that by using them, you (the average American Joe or Jane) will then suddenly feel like the military are somehow getting too much. I can assure you they are not.
- The talking heads also say, “Get a job at Walmart and see what you get” and to them I say, “Grab a gun and leave your family to go to Afghanistan for 15 months out of duty, over and over, and see what you get (or what you lose).”
- Military cannot—CANNOT—speak out for themselves. They cannot without fear of retribution say a single, solitary word on their own behalf.
So, I urge you think back. And, think back a while.
Then, I want you to remember:
Who ran IN to the Boston Marathon?
Who saved over 2000 people in the flood ravaged 9th Ward after Katrina?
And, then turned right around and did the same after the same
coastline was hit by follow-on Hurricane Rita?
And, again three years later with Hurricane Ike?
Who took personal leave and helped rebuild the shores of
New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy?
Who aided Joplin, Missouri after a devastating tornado?
The military does this while providing humanitarian aid and supplies, as well as emergency shelters and hospitals around the globe when human beings need them. Any human beings. They do all of this—ALL of this—while at war on at least two fronts. They do this while war-weary, battle-beaten and so worn down that another 15 month deployment seems impossible. Most of our military have done greater than 3 deployments in the last 12 years. That’s almost 4 YEARS they have been gone.
They do it out of a sense of duty. Not to Congress. Not to this nation. But, to you. To me. To every American who has watched them run in when everyone else runs out. To every American who, in their darkest hour, had no other hope in the world but to grab onto the hand of an American servicemember. To every American and every human being who needed something, ANYthing, to hold on to.
When the worst happens, it is the military that comes running. Every. Single. Time.
And, they need you now.
They need each and every one of you to stand beside THEM and fight for what they were promised. Please.
To find out how you can help, follow the hashtag #KeepYourPromise on Twitter or join the movement on facebook here.