Times are hard out there for the military. They are engaged on multiple fronts, many times fighting an enemy that can’t be seen, can’t be predicted, can’t be detected, and possibly can’t even be defeated. And at the same time suffering from the same budget difficulties stifling our economy, with one glaring difference. Workers for GM, GE, or The Department of Transportation aren’t getting shot at or blown up when they go to work. Our troops on the ground are.
Last Thursday The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, stated that it is likely service members will see their pay and benefits cut as the Pentagon works to trim a half billion dollars off their budget across the next dozen years. He warned against cutting hardware and programs while maintaining the increasing costs of paying and providing ongoing health care to active duty troops and retirees.
“Two of the big places the money is, is in pay and benefits,” Mullen told defense reporters at a June 2 breakfast meeting in Washington. “And so when I say all things are on the table, all things are on the table.”
That’s an easy observation to make for an Admiral hauling in nearly $150,000 a year in pay. Things get a lot tighter on the purse-strings for front line recruits who make in the $360 a week range… before taxes.
Record deficits and out of control spending for unaffordable programs seem to be off the radar for those that can do anything about them. The military industrial complex is the tail that wags the dog to the tune of nearly $1.4 trillion a year (including interest on the National Debt).
I think it’s high time the power centers of DC get their head out of the sand, or where ever their head happens to be, and start making the tough decisions that can slow this spending juggernaut before it consumes the livelihood of our children and grandchildren. Taking food off solider’s children’s tables is not the place to do it.
Yes, we need a strong defense, but we need to temper that with intelligent management. I think it has to start with pulling back our commitments in theaters of wars with no end in sight. That’s the intelligent part. Stop throwing money away on pipe dreams and ghosts.
Pie Chart by: http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm