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Disgraceful: Military retiree benefits could be on the chopping block

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Today’s New York Times brought the startling news that military retiree benefits could be on the chopping block. As the daughter of one of those military retirees, I strongly object.

My father proudly served his country for 25 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring after tours of duty overseas and across the country. His pension and health benefits were earned and were promised to him in exchange for putting his life on the line and serving and sacrificing for his country. Like other military retirees, he became eligible for a pension only after serving 20 years in the military

Compare that with Congressman Anthony Weiner who left office in disgrace this past June.

Anthony Weiner left office in disgrace after 11 years in the U.S. House. He takes with him a pension of more than $46,000 plus perks.

For serving just 11 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, he can draw a pension of up to $46,224 at age 62 and a portion of that starting at age 56. In fact, members of Congress become eligible for a pension after just five years in the Congress. Yes, five years.

In contrast, the average non-commissioned officer retiring from the military after 20-plus years of service can draw a pension of about $26,000, according to the Times story.

Yes, there’s increased pressure to reduce the debt. I totally get that.

But nobody is talking about axing congressional (or presidential, for that matter) pensions and benefits — or cutting the base salaries of members of Congress ($174,000).

But they are seriously considering cutting the pensions and benefits of our men and women in uniform who served during a time of war? Really? Now that’s truly disgraceful.

Written by Sheryl A. Roehl

September 19, 2011 at 5:40 pm