Obama digs up officers to defend military COLA cuts

Retired Marine Corps Reserve Maj. Gen. Arnold Punaro, a member of the Defense Business Board, has been outspoken about the need to slow the growth in military personnel spending to preserve readiness. (Mike Morones/Marine Corps Times)

In typical fashion, Washington DC politicians found several retired generals and one admiral to offer their consent to the one percent Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) budget cut to military retirees and disabled retirees under the age of 62.

My first response is simple: “who are these four gentlemen to speak for me?” According to a report in the Marine Corps Times,

Four retired general and flag officers with a collective 14 stars among them — including an outspoken advocate for military compensation reform — have expressed support for the one percent reductions in annual military retired pay increases approved by Congress. In a statement released by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, retired Marines General James L. Jones and Major General Arnold Punaro, Air Force General Chuck Wald and Navy Admiral Greg Johnson said the planned reduction to the annual cost-of-living adjustment for working-age military retirees is “an important first step in tackling” rising military personnel costs.

My second question is whether or not any of these senior officers would be affected — in other words are they past the age of 62?

One of the esteemed general officers served as the Obama administration National Security Advisor, General James L. Jones, who was also Commandant of the Marine Corps. I must tell you, based on a perusal of military internet chat forums today, the natives are not happy about this “support.”

First of all, do these officers truly believe the small percentage of US citizens who actually are military retirees (having served a minimum of 20 years) and service disabled retirees are bankrupting our federal budget?

These officers displayed their asinine understanding when they said the change, which will go into effect in 2015 for military retirees younger than age 62, is “much needed.” According to the Marine Corps Times,

Although the bill is not perfect, its passage will bring stability and predictability to a budget process that has been without it for too long.

Oh please. What is much needed is an end to the wasteful spending in Washington DC. As presented by Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla) in his annual government waste book, there was $33 billion in wasted government spending for 2013 alone. You have to wonder, why not cut back on Department of Defense civilian retirements and their COLA?

And anyone who believes this bill — which increases government spending — and this cut to retiree COLA will “bring stability and predictability to a budget process that has been without it for too long” is delusional.

The Bipartisan Budget Act signed by President Obama on December 26 allows for $1.012 trillion in discretionary spending for fiscal 2014, including $520.5 billion for defense. Savings are expected to total $85 billion, with the retiree COLA reductions contributing $6 billion of that. Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions offered an amendment to cut tax loopholes to illegal immigrants but was blocked by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. What, pray tell, is the general’s assessment on that decision? We are also seeing a push for the eleventh emergency extension of unemployment benefits. Is that an emergency or the beginning of a permanent entitlement?

These retirees and those who are currently serving have lived up to their end of the contract. Changing the back end of the contract after the front end has been performed and delivered is reprehensible,” retired Marine Lt. Gen. Jack Klimp, president of the National Association for Uniformed Services, wrote to Obama on December 18.

I know and concur with Lt. Gen Klimp. And in a December 22 editorial in USA Today, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc) offered a weak and disappointing defense of the reductions saying, “responsible military compensation reform is needed to ensure readiness.”

No sir. That trade off is not necessary. Instead, let’s have a line by line analysis of the federal budget. In the first 100 days of my tenure in Congress we found three wasteful programs in the Department of Defense budget which had no adverse affect on readiness. Others can and must do the same.

Ryan says the reform doesn’t take effect until the end of 2015, giving Congress time to consider alternatives. But if it was written and intended never to be enacted, why was it written in the first place?

Perhaps this entire budget endeavor is a waste but one thing is for certain, when America calls upon our men and women to serve and protect, they answer the call without question. Sadly Capitol Hill, and some complicit military cronies, do not live by the same code of honor.

55 COMMENTS

  1. Shame on each and every one of those flag officers. Spend more time actually supporting service members and less time drinking Kool-Aid. May God have mercy on your souls and military families have no mercy on your cowrdly acts.

  2. Now you know why o is purging any general or admiral who speaks out against him. These officers were supposed to take of their troops, but have thrown them under the bus. They are a sad example of the generals and admirals who have gone before us. They disgrace their uniforms and their ranks. I guess they figure they got theirs the heck with anyone else. How sad.

  3. And yet this week they have a plan all set up to Hand Iran Millions of our money, sickening, what the “priorities” of the most Lawless admin in history are.

  4. I read the 2013 US Government Waste Report and it’s pathetic. I can’t believe that our government is wasting money on some of the most ridiculous nonsense when our country is in such debt and then this is where they decide to cut, and kiss up to Obama generals approve of this? Everyone of these generals and Obama should be ashamed of themselves. Talk about disloyalty! This is no way to treat our veterans!

  5. I am retired Navy. These guys are assholes. Maybe you think that is profanity, but it is not nearly as profane as the swill these chickenshit mutts spew.

  6. How DARE THESE SCUMBAGS open their mouths about retirement pay. Each one of these HYPOCRITES is pulling in $7000 a month in retirement pay. Not to mention, that they made a lot more than most enlisted men for their entire career. They walk into fat jobs after the military and they have the NERVE (that they never had while serving) to say to the enlisted men, who don’t get those jobs, that make 1300 a month after 20 years of service, that they do not need the money? To all 4 of you sad excuses for ex leaders… FU

  7. If you serve your country promises are broke. Remember free dental and free medical for life. Dental is gone and you must have Medicare or you have no Tricare.

  8. I am sure that 1% to someone getting Generals retirement pay is substantially less traumatic to their budget than those of us getting E-5 pay for example. It is not about greed however, it is about what is right and what is not. Allen West is right on with the comment that changing the contract back end after fulfillment of the front end is nothing but reprehensible. It is scurrilous! Although patriots are the first and usually the most prevalent to volunteer to defend the Constitution and country, it is all the more a remarkable wonder, since the vast majority of the public esteem the rights protected so little as to go first to stealing from those that earned the pay while giving it to those that have not even earned citizenship. Give me a more despicable adjective than scurrilous please. These people have earned the most demeaning diatribe known to man that is not a ‘four letter word’.

    • It is not that the 1% doesn’t affect these GO’s. Knowing how long it takes to achieve the rank of GO I am sure most of these retired GOs are either already 62 or will be by the time this kicks in and will see no impact. So I am sure they are supportive because it isn’t going to impact them. POSs, all of them….

  9. Was told a law was passed in 2003 that changed the retirement benefits for General Officers so that they would make more in retirement then if they were on active duty. Was told this was done to keep Senior military leadership during OIF and OEF. if this is true that would explain their attitude towards this travesty of earned retirement benefits.

  10. Wow how sad they just kicked my PTSD into overdrive. Wonder how they obtained the rank of general. Oh, yes indeed they were kiss ass elitist wonder boys. Shame on them, its so wrong.

  11. I believe we have more GO/Flag Officers on active duty today than we did in World War II, apparently the force needs more senior leadership. These gray beards are living in the building next door to Congress, at the corner of Lah Lah Land and full of crap. Did you see one word about Congress’ automatic pay raise this year, nope it just slipped in on schedule? Congress does well in taking care of themselves at the expense of those they are supposed to represent. How about a list of every contribution from every special interest group so that we can track who gives money and who gets favors.

  12. I’m looking out for myself. My pension is protected and doing quite nicely. In fact, I think all the military pensions should be cut 100%,

    • I’ll listen to that- when everyone like you spends 8 cumulative years away from their family in wonderful places like Somalia, getting shot at, live through a rocket attack on your sleeping quarters and getting called out of bed and deployed to another dusty country with less than 8 hours notice. Even if that weren’t the case and you manage to live through your career without a deployment or ever seeing action, it’s still part of the “deal”. It’s what you sign up for.

    • You egg sucking progressing POS. You must be on welfare yourself, just sitting on your duff waitng for next government free bee check for doing nothing. A great american you are not.

  13. So when we thank a Servicemember or Veteran for their service, are we to add “and oh, thanks for doing it so cheaply, too!” These armchair generals and officers should have their chairs pulled from under them and a boot put up their…

  14. So in essence they want to discriminate against service personnel based on age. How about we discriminate against those over 62 in terms of healthcare benefits who make up a majority of those on medicare and Medicaid after all its a “much needed.” cut. They would approve of that right?

  15. Are these GOs truly altruistic and visionary simply donating their time to speak? My guess is they’re on the clock and have an agenda that has been given to them. Notice the words “an important first step in tackling” rising military personnel costs. I don’t think for minute they plan to stop eroding earned military retirement benefits.

  16. Generals and Admirals howled back in 2011 when there were threatened cuts to their ranks and I wrote this to MC times: Leadership? I wish the mandated cuts to the Flag
    officers at the Pentagon were self imposed and not foisted upon them by SecDef.
    The mark of real leadership is what most Generals and Admirals would recognize
    the “troops eat first” leadership trait of unselfishness. The example of Puerto
    Rico’s Governor taking a 50% pay cut before any territorial workers were
    laid-off is the only example of true leadership I have read about during this
    whole fiscal crisis. Never do we read about CEO’s, Generals, Congressmen or any
    other executive level person, first taking a pay cut before laying-off workers
    or mid-management. During this crisis our economy (as indicated by the stock
    market and my 401K) lost 50% of its value. Did we see a 50% reduction for
    executive compensation? Last time I looked it was still rising exponentially
    compared to the median worker. Every time I hear some politician or other big
    shot use the word “leadership” it makes me ill. Make no mistake; there is no real
    leadership when it comes to our fiscal crisis as long as Generals,
    private-sector executives and politicians are incentivized for saving their own
    jobs at the expense of others. I repeat, Generals and Admirals show some real LEADERSHIP and start with yourself FIRST.

  17. These generals are bit effected in any way for the reasons already stated. The retired enlisted people will be effected for sure. They already discreetly stole out dental from us and free medical which was promised. This is totally bogus

  18. They do it because they got something.If you work in civilian life or military one is no better than the other .You could be a coal miner under tons of earth each day..yes they should keep a promise but the reality is america is no longer what it was and no longer worth a life fighting for a country like israel or oil.I don’t believe it was ever for the country they stay in..it is all about what we want.Cry for a country lost not some money.

    • It is a fight based on principle, so I disagree. This is about honoring your word. We are forced to use legal jargon and other nonsense t combat this ridiculous slander. I am sorry you are jaded but I understand. When congress and other “leaders” belittle your service it can make you question everything you were, and everything you want to become. Know this- this is a small minority of paid hacks and does not represent the greatness that still exists in our nation.

  19. I Would Like to See Obama Treated the Same Way Saddam Hussain was Treated after His Capture…….
    This POTUS Has No IDEA How Military Works..
    This POTUS Has No Idea How a Real JOB WORKS….
    Sempre Fi’

    • Obama didn’t have a job he was a community organizer. Whats that?
      Was he showing people how to get on government assistance programs?

    • That is also a false premise. Cut where waste is or raise revenue through across the board taxation. The division in the tax code for cost of war is also nonsense. Raise revenue by % in taxation for everyone in order to fight if you cannot cut the waste. This is a nation. That way, everyone pays.

      • It’s not a false premise. It is a breach of contract. There are lots of angles here. If you want to cut waste, cut welfare. Welfare kills the spirit of living with character, and makes most content to bum off the producers. They didn’t earn their checks, I did. But remember, welfare is not for the poor, it is for the politicians.

  20. Retired Marine Corps Reserve Maj. Gen. Arnold Punaro. Look at his picture and tell me the name “Winchester” doesn’t come to mind?

    • Knew the guy. Total buffoon. Very political, self serving reservist. Think every bad thought you’ve ever had about a reserve officer and put them all together into one individual and you have arnie.

  21. Here’s where it doesn’t add up. Just read an article in the local (Jacksonville NC) newspaper concerning the proposed county budget. County is looking at a 4% COLA for their employees. They are looking at funding this at least in part by raising property taxes by 3 cents per hundred. So my property taxes are going to go up, but yet my retirement COLA will not keep up. It’s not that we will lose the ability to translate that missing COLA into goods and services. Instead it is that losing that COLA means we will potentially have less left after paying our increased taxes. This is on top of a 20% homeowners insurance increase last year and another big one projected this year.

    Had enough yet?

  22. Agreed…these retired officers (probably all past 62) are traitors to their brothers-in-arms and are giving aid and comfort to the enemy….

  23. Has
    anyone ever done a study to determine how much money is wasted on
    Congressional “retirements” which take place prior to 20 years of
    service? I wonder how much money could be restored to the budget if such
    retirements were eliminated completely? The only dangers they encounter
    in D.C. is serious Narcissism, Schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive
    spending, ego-centric behaviors, alcoholism, sexual obsession and
    misconduct, pathological lying…..well the list goes on and on and
    on….oh, yeah, I did forget…ending life as a mufti-millionaire or a
    billionaire.

  24. Col. West: I can’t believe 2 USMC & I former CMC would even think of doing to their men and women who they lead. This BS(Being a Texican, I know BS)!!!! Totally wrong on all parts!!!!. Of course, there same guys who hid the bad swamp H20 @ Camp Lejuene!!!!

    • Yep and Col. West was forced out because he stood up for and protected his subordinates and, actually, the combined A&&’s of his superiors. I was not in the Military due to a health problem but I too, know B.S. when I see it.

  25. In my opinion it sounds like these, so called, leaders continue to kiss the a&&es of the Administration. Wonder if that is how they got their Stars. If they treated subordinates this way when they were active the Senior officers did really not deserve their promotions and their subordinates are really the personnel who made them what they are now.

  26. It is officers like these that gave me a distrust for most officers, but especially senior officers. As an NCO I had my people to worry about, but it seemed all they worried about was their networking, portfolios and politics. The military lost many good people lately because of traitors like these enforcing the party line instead of maintaining a ready fighting force.

  27. I want to know if these traitors belong to MOAA. If they do, as a life member of the organization, I want these four losers kicked out of the MOAA. I do not need Gen and Flag officers stabbing me in the back.

  28. It is the oldest monopolization of perception propaganda play in the book. These attempts to separate us by pay grade, time in service, age, military specialty, specific disability designation and deployment history are not going to convince the vast majority of veterans.
    Of course they can find members and previous members who are going to fall for it for money or some other reason. It is about 5% of the force that will not follow the Code of Conduct. Veterans groups are remaining united and strong in their opposition to selling everyone who served honorably out for a handful of silver coins… with more to follow later.
    I was an enlisted guy.. but I will be damned if I am going to let some screwed up monopolization of perception play let me degrade the service of the fine officers and enlisted men and women I served with. I am not going to allow this congress, or this specific group of paid hacks, belittle the service of my generation at war- or any generation in service to this country. This is a rookie move based on false premise, misdirection, and division. It is not going to work.
    I don’t care what pay grade this specific miniscule group was… 14 stars minus civilian status equals zero stars. Here we are all veterans. This specific group of sell outs, needs to get over the fact that they now have the same pay grade as the rest of us- E zero! And to the head of the joint chiefs who also sold out- I am a civilian now- you are still, E- zero! I will speak up for those serving who you just broke a faith and a contract with- every damn time!

  29. Well since we’re all now retired, let me say it plain and clear — F You General. You co8king sucking POS. Return your pension and then I’ll listen to what you say. Traitor a-holes.

  30. I retired in 1991 after serving 2 tours in Viet Nam and a tour in Desert Storm.
    As a E-8 with 22 1/2 years in the military, my retirement pay is only 26,000 and that is before they take out for dental care, Tri Care and taxes. I can hardly afford to lose any more money. I guess if I made the money they make I could probably afford the 1% cut too.

  31. I served for 30 years and was Senior Enlisted Advisor to three Generals and had the opportunity to work around and with several general officers. Most were fine Americans that I was proud to serve with. However, a sizable minority would just as likely stab their own Soldiers in the back as they would the enemy. Such officers uniformly regarded laws/regulations/rules as not applicable to them. The fact that the generals in this article are stabbing American soldiers in the back comes as no surprise to those of us who have seen how morally corrupt, disloyal, and traitorous some of these officers are – they truly discredit the service of other general officers that have dedicated their lives to their country and their service members. And our commander in chief? One minute he’s touting how responsible such cuts are and only a few weeks later he’s applauding himself for doing away with them. Alice in Wonderland would have been overloaded by the fantasy world Obama and these general officers live in.

  32. Here’s an idea for Paul Ryan and all the other buttheads in D.C. The IRS gave $4.2 BILLION to illegal aliens in 2010 for fraudulent tax refunds. Hillary Clinton’s State Department lost $6 BILLION that no can find. Former Democrat Senator Jon Corzine stole $1.6 BILLION from his investment clients and nobody seems to care. One Democrat said that at $174,000 a year plus perks Congress is under paid. You clowns in D.C. won’t pay our troops for putting their lives on the line to stop blood thirsty Muslim murderers from over running our country, BUT you’ll allow Obama to spend American taxpayer money to illegally arm them??!! There is more than enough excess money in D.C. to pay our military a good living wage for what they do. All I’d need is about a hundred of the best CPA’s in the country and the current budget of the United States. Our military would be justly rewarded for the sacrifices that they, and their families have made for us. The only ones to suffer would be the corrupt politicians, and their lobbyist friends. I’d say that’s a fair swap!

  33. As far as I am concerned, those in the military are the only people that should not have their COLA cut. They put their lives on the line for us and should have every benefit available. Congress, the Administration, and the rest of the government employees should have theirs cut before the military. In fact government employees shouldn’t even be receiving bonuses. I suspect that discontinuing these bonuses would go a long way toward helping to fund the COLA for the military. That having been said, I am fully aware that many people in at least some branches of government haven’t received a pay raise in a number of years.

    I am a retiree and receive a small pension that is subject to COLA. The amount of COLA paid me is dependent on the actual cost-of-living. If is comes in at 3%, I get 3% which is the maximum. If it is 1% then that is what I get. If it is -1% then I get nothing until the loss is made up. In other words if in the next year the COLA is 2% then my actual COLA will be 1%. That is not true for many employees in government. In Illinois regular union employees (not teachers) get 3% increase a year regardless of what the actual amount of the COLA is. That is expensive and the part of the reason that Illinois is in trouble financially.

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