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Old 12-23-2013, 10:17 PM
 
Location: Port St. Lucie, FL
193 posts, read 316,030 times
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My handling of money and budgets has not so great (after all I was a sailor) but I always thought that a cost of living adjustment (COLA) was compensation for inflation which insured that the value of your money stayed the same. So, over the last 10 years or so, we finally gained parity with civilian wages by adding a half a percent to COLAs. Since parity was attained, there has been no further growth in military pay. They want to cut growth but there is no growth to cut. COLA is not growth, a COLA only maintains parity. They want to cut spending and that results in a cut in pay.

Last edited by bznavyveteran; 12-23-2013 at 10:25 PM.. Reason: clarity
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Old 12-24-2013, 04:44 AM
 
8,874 posts, read 7,363,847 times
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President Obama signed a 1% raise for military. That won't even cover all the new uniforms they have to buy since fashion seems to be important to today's military. We have the Oregon Ducks of military. I'd tell any young person to skip the military. Those in power in DC give veterans lip service while giving them the shaft.
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Old 12-24-2013, 07:13 AM
 
1,162 posts, read 1,270,332 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by victimofGM View Post
President Obama signed a 1% raise for military. That won't even cover all the new uniforms they have to buy since fashion seems to be important to today's military. We have the Oregon Ducks of military. I'd tell any young person to skip the military. Those in power in DC give veterans lip service while giving them the shaft.
The enlisted ranks get allowances for uniforms, and at least when I was in most of it was spent on beer, and maybe one new pair of boots.

The officer ranks don't get a clothing allowance, but they do get compensated at a higher amount and typically aren't doing the activities that blow through uniforms.

Of course they still have to go out and buy the new uniforms if there is a change. Crappy thing is that military uniforms are not a tax write off if they can be worn off post, basically being treated like a civilian suit that you can wear on or off the job. Who wears a uniform when not on duty, beats me, but the IRS seems to think it is passable.
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:44 PM
 
Location: Littleton, CO
3,108 posts, read 4,669,261 times
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I appreciate all that veterans have done for their country, but we cannot afford to fund the military like we do indefinitely. Cuts need to be made.

Since half of the budget is spent on wages and benefits, that seems to be the area of the budget to attack. While wages may be low, the benefits -- especially healthcare and housing -- are unparalleled in the business world.

In today's world, it is hard to justify paying a pension to a person from age 40 until death (typically 40 years later). I believe that no person should be able to collect their pension until at least age 60.

I know that there are other areas where the military budget could be cut as well. We need to pursue those cuts too.
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Old 12-24-2013, 05:43 PM
 
Location: Hard aground in the Sonoran Desert
4,555 posts, read 8,029,091 times
Reputation: 6299
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidv View Post
I appreciate all that veterans have done for their country, but we cannot afford to fund the military like we do indefinitely. Cuts need to be made.

Since half of the budget is spent on wages and benefits, that seems to be the area of the budget to attack. While wages may be low, the benefits -- especially healthcare and housing -- are unparalleled in the business world.

In today's world, it is hard to justify paying a pension to a person from age 40 until death (typically 40 years later). I believe that no person should be able to collect their pension until at least age 60.

I know that there are other areas where the military budget could be cut as well. We need to pursue those cuts too.
Uh, it isn't the business world why do people keep saying stupid stuff like this? Take away the pension and you'll find no one willing to stick around for 20 years putting up with all the crap, for low wages, that you have to deal with in the military.

I seen another report today saying a single military E1 makes $40,000 a year. This is complete BS and typical misinformation spread by those who have these agendas. My son is an E2 and makes nothing near this amount. He takes home $1300 a month, lives on a ship in crappy conditions and every meal is the slop they serve on the mess decks. It's the military, the government forces them to places all over the world to serve and has to feed and house the troops so this isn't a benefit for the member. It would be a benefit if they got to live and eat where they wanted in the world and were not being given orders to move and live someplace. The government takes on the responsibility to feed, house, provide medical when someone agrees to serve in the military. Using these government responsibilities against the member by calling them a benefit is ridiculous. It's the cost of raising a military.

I'll ask it again since no one answered the first time...If I'm sent overseas for a deployment and ride, live and eat on a Navy ship for 10 months, is the government expense of transporting, housing and feeding me while I'm sent around the world on a ship, in service to this country, a benefit to the member? No, it's an expense of operating a military just as the food and housing of the troops are whenever they are serving in the military on orders. We need to quit allowing the government to turn their responsibility into a benefit that is used to fight for lower compensation for military members.

An E1 makes $18,192 BEFORE taxes for their service, that is their compensation and is what they should be measured against. I will say, any extra housing allowance for family members or medical for family members is a benefit but NOT for the military member themselves.

Last edited by LBTRS; 12-24-2013 at 06:04 PM..
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Old 12-24-2013, 06:03 PM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
11,419 posts, read 7,437,434 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LBTRS View Post
Uh, it isn't the business world why do people keep saying stupid stuff like this? Take away the pension and you'll find no one willing to stick around for 20 years putting up with all the crap, for low wages, that you have to deal with in the military.

I seen another report today saying a single military E1 makes $40,000 a year. This is complete BS and typical misinformation spread by those who have these agendas. My son is an E2 and makes nothing near this amount. He takes home $1300 a month, lives on a ship in crappy conditions and every meal is the slop they serve on the mess decks. It's the military, the government forces them to places all over the world to serve and has to feed and house the troops so this isn't a benefit for the member. It would be a benefit if they got to live and eat where they wanted in the world and were not being given orders to move and live someplace. The government takes on the responsibility to feed, house, provide medical when someone agrees to serve in the military. Using these government responsibilities against the member by calling them a benefit is ridiculous. It's the cost of raising a military.

I'll ask it again since no one answered the first time...If I'm sent overseas for a deployment and ride on a Navy ship for 10 months, is the government expense of transporting me around the world on a ship a benefit to the member? No, it's an expense of operating a military just as the food and housing of the troops are. We need to quit allowing the government to turn their responsibility into a benefit that is used to fight for lower compensation for military members.

An E1 makes $18,192 BEFORE taxes for their service, that is their compensation and is what they should be measured against. I will say, any extra housing allowance for family members or medical for family members is a benefit but NOT for the military member themselves.
No one is challenging any of the fine points you have made. Every single one of them is valid.
And no one has proposed reducing the agreed upon pension.
The only thing that has been proposed is reducing the annual INCREASE in retirement benefits, which is entirely consistent with a lot of other pensions.
We are talking about someone who retires at the age of 45, after all. Almost all of them expect to go on to other jobs and work for the rest of their lives, ergo they are not totally dependent upon their military pension, anyway. And at age 65, they get Social Security just like everyone else.

It's not a big deal. And the salary made at E-1 or E-2 is completely irrelevant because no one at all retires at that level.
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Old 12-24-2013, 06:24 PM
 
Location: Hard aground in the Sonoran Desert
4,555 posts, read 8,029,091 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Listener2307 View Post
No one is challenging any of the fine points you have made. Every single one of them is valid.
And no one has proposed reducing the agreed upon pension.
The only thing that has been proposed is reducing the annual INCREASE in retirement benefits, which is entirely consistent with a lot of other pensions.
We are talking about someone who retires at the age of 45, after all. Almost all of them expect to go on to other jobs and work for the rest of their lives, ergo they are not totally dependent upon their military pension, anyway. And at age 65, they get Social Security just like everyone else.

It's not a big deal. And the salary made at E-1 or E-2 is completely irrelevant because no one at all retires at that level.
Well here is the problem with your explanation of things as you don't understand the whole story...

At my 15 year point I had to CHOOSE which retirement plan I wanted as there are two choices. REDUX or High 3...REDUX gives you $30k in cash at your 15 year point in return for a 1% reduction in your COLA allowances after you retire. I turned down the $30k in cash and signed a paper stating I was taking the High 3 because I didn't want to take the reduced COLA.

With this bill that was just passed they switched me to a modified REDUX retirement plan where I lost the COLA just like I would have had I accepted the REDUX plan at my 15 year mark and I DIDN'T get the $30k cash that all those that took the REDUX plan did. The bill that just passed specifically states it doesn't apply to those that chose the REDUX plan, only to those of us that took the High 3 like I did and turned down the $30k in cash at my 15 year point.

This "annual increase in my pension" was promised to me at my 15 year mark if I agreed to continue serving another 5 years. You can't get around this fact, this is a DECREASE in the pension I was promised in return for my service and I kept my end of the bargain.
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Old 12-24-2013, 06:38 PM
 
336 posts, read 248,245 times
Reputation: 537
Quote:
Originally Posted by LBTRS View Post
Uh, it isn't the business world why do people keep saying stupid stuff like this? Take away the pension and you'll find no one willing to stick around for 20 years putting up with all the crap, for low wages, that you have to deal with in the military.
Perhaps that was true a decade or two ago when many Fortune 500 companies offered pensions, but private industry has all but eliminated pensions. Most states have significantly curtailed their pension benefits. During the same period, military compensation has increased considerably.

That said, I don't think anyone here is arguing for eliminating pensions for military members. Rather, depending on who you ask, others are asking for one or more of the following:
  1. Delay pension benefits until age 62+ like most reformed pension plans
  2. Reduce annual cost of living increases
  3. Reduce pension payments for those that have successful post-military careers (until civ. retirement)
  4. Require military members to contribute toward their pensions like states and the fed require for civilians (avg 4-5% of pay)
As others have noted on this forum, the net present value of the typical military pension exceeds $1 million, and some military pensions may be worth two or three times that amount over a lifetime. That's the most generous "free" pension available from any employer in the country, by a wide margin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LBTRS View Post
I seen another report today saying a single military E1 makes $40,000 a year. This is complete BS and typical misinformation spread by those who have these agendas. My son is an E2 and makes nothing near this amount. He takes home $1300 a month, lives on a ship in crappy conditions and every meal is the slop they serve on the mess decks. It's the military, the government forces them to places all over the world to serve and has to feed and house the troops so this isn't a benefit for the member.
Free food and freely prepared food is a benefit, and, from what I've seen, this benefit is never included in military compensation calculations. I do agree that meal quality varies by station.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LBTRS View Post
I'll ask it again since no one answered the first time...If I'm sent overseas for a deployment and ride on a Navy ship for 10 months, is the government expense of transporting me around the world on a ship a benefit to the member?
This isn't a benefit, and I have never seen it counted as a benefit in overall compensation. Employers pay the travel costs for civilian employees just as the military pays the travel costs for soldiers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LBTRS View Post
An E1 makes $18,192 BEFORE taxes for their service, that is their compensation and is what they should be measured against. I will say, any extra housing allowance for family members or medical for family members is a benefit but NOT for the military member themselves.
I disagree. Certain benefits, such as free health care and housing allowances, are a valuable benefit and should be considered in overall compensation. Free health care during employment is a valuable benefit, and free health care for life is an incredibly valuable benefit. All civilians must pay rent or a mortgage, regardless of where they live. No civilian would consider paid housing or paid healthcare as anything other than a benefit. And yes, many employers require their employees to move from time to time.

From what I've been told by deployed family members, most spend less, many significantly less, than their housing allowance and pocket the difference. For example, a military couple may receive $3000/mo each for their housing allowance, and spend only $1500-2000 of the $6000 total on housing, pocketing the difference. Alternatively, several friends may share an apartment and pocket the savings. IMO, an obvious reform for housing allowances would be to alter the compensation so that military staff are reimbursed for their costs, up to a certain amount, rather than receiving a flat, generous allowance.

Last edited by VAGeek; 12-24-2013 at 07:04 PM..
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Old 12-24-2013, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Fayetteville, NC
437 posts, read 577,250 times
Reputation: 644
Quote:
Originally Posted by VAGeek View Post
From what I've been told by deployed family members, most spend less, many significantly less, than their housing allowance and pocket the difference. For example, a military couple may receive $3000/mo each for their housing allowance, and spend only $1500-2000 of the $6000 total on housing, pocketing the difference. Alternatively, several friends may share an apartment and pocket the savings. IMO, an obvious reform for housing allowances would be to alter the compensation so that military staff are reimbursed for their costs, up to a certain amount, rather than receiving a flat, generous allowance.
Some places will only pay the amount of the lease plus an allowance for utilities. You have to show the lease to collect the housing allowance. While services differ on the status of single service members drawing the housing allowance, in the Army it was E7 and above, unless it was a special duty assignment away from a large base with billeting on post.

Also, the housing and food allowances are not included in the base pay amount, and are thus not included in retirement compensation. So you don't get taxed on this amount while in service but it also lowers the pension upon retirement.
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Old 12-24-2013, 07:54 PM
 
645 posts, read 1,069,433 times
Reputation: 1764
Quote:
Originally Posted by bznavyveteran View Post
My handling of money and budgets has not so great (after all I was a sailor) but I always thought that a cost of living adjustment (COLA) was compensation for inflation which insured that the value of your money stayed the same. So, over the last 10 years or so, we finally gained parity with civilian wages by adding a half a percent to COLAs. Since parity was attained, there has been no further growth in military pay. They want to cut growth but there is no growth to cut. COLA is not growth, a COLA only maintains parity. They want to cut spending and that results in a cut in pay.
If I control the country's money supply, and I also pay your lifer pension, one brilliant way I can get out of paying for it, despite my legally binding contract with you to do so, is to cut out the cost of living allowance, which is easier to do than just getting rid of your pension. Since I also control the money supply, I can increase it, thus causing inflation, and now I'm paying you the amount of pension we agreed upon legally in our contract, but I'm doing so with dollars that are worth 10% of what they formerly were, so the reality is, I just chopped what I'm paying you by 90% in real dollars. I believe that this is what you were alluding to. The fed has been doing this ever since the Federal Reserve was created. In order to pay their debts, they debase the currency, and therefore they're paying their liabilities with dollars not worth as much.

I would venture a guess that any veteran who's been on a lifer pension has seen that pension worth less in real purchasing power over the past 10 - 20 years because the cost of living allowance never keep up with actual inflation. The federal government has a lot of unfunded liabilities from workers to pensioners who all get some form of cost of living allowance. If the fed, who makes the laws, controls the currency, and therefore tells us all what the inflation, unemployment, etc are, why would they report a true cost of living through inflation? It would tip off how much money they're making available or retracting from the economy. Therefore, the fed purposely under reports inflation so they don't have to give appropriate real dollar wage, pension, and other liability increases.

That's my opinion and not necessarily fact. Do your own research.

Cheers,
bolillo
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