Legion opposed to cutting COLA for retirees/veterans

The following statement was issued today by American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger regarding provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act that cut the annual cost-of-living adjustment for military retirees by 1 percent a year until reaching age 62:

"While The American Legion applauds the proposed National Defense Authorization Act’s prohibition against new TRICARE user fees and its limitations on raising existing fees, we strongly oppose any decrease in the annual cost of living allowance for veterans, retirees – who are also veterans – or their dependents and families. The men and women who have served our country honorably and well deserve to be treated in like fashion once they have hung up their uniforms. Few sacrifice as much as servicemembers, most especially those who have devoted their careers at great personal cost to the safety and welfare of our nation."

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Mike Smertick

December 17, 2013 - 9:50am

This Obamacare disaster gives breaks to unions but they want to cut the Nilitary retirees. our social security used to be solvernt and self sustaining unil Johnson and his great society opened it up to the general fund, you can not give politicians so much access to tax payers money as they always abuse it. Obama wanted to create green energy and wated 100's of billions of dollars. Now politicans want to cut military retiree's. Look at wht has happened to our broken education system, that they keep throwing money at. Military retirees and vets are not the ones who are bankrupting Detroit and California and other cities, states, this country is approacning a need for a states rights constitutional convention, the so called progressive party and their ppolitical correctness and give away to those who just want to live off welfare are ruining this country. Everyone should pay taxes, I have been retiree for over ten years and sill pay a substantial amount in federal and state taxes. Medicare is not free for me, I pay opver 200 a month for it. Why should obma want to give free Medicaid to everyone, I paid into it when I worked and never had to use. I am sick and tired of paying for freeloaders.u

RRGuy

December 16, 2013 - 10:39pm

Never mind the B.S.. Get on the phone and call your US Senator and tell them to reject the provision in the Bipartisan Budget Act that would penalize current and future service members by reducing Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA).

Keith B

December 15, 2013 - 12:17pm

I will never suggest the military to any young person again. I will vote against all who support the COLA reduction. Once they start they will not stop. We need more representatives who have "SERVED". Stop the political protection of unneeded/wanted military hardware would be a good place to start.

David

December 14, 2013 - 2:14pm

Hey Walter how about no-one volunteering and willing to die for the country they love... would you be willing to do this? there would not be A U.S.A. without our military and our veterans. How about repealing Obamacare, that would save billions upon billions. And these ignorant commercials paid for by the taxpayers to implement this awful socialized idea. I know we will bring back the draft and pay nothing- no benefits... no anything, that will save a lot of money, and our non- serving politicians can have their $30,000 a person party. Bow to China.

Bob c

December 14, 2013 - 1:45pm

Walter K you sound a lot like some of the hard core tea party people,they believe you should cut everything,and give nothing to anyone,so what do we do,go back to the great depression type of mentality? I am not biting that apple,our government gives tons of money to country's that don't even like us,they also make obscene amounts of money,just for serving this country,so where do you think we should really start cutting? the people that can least afford it? Nancy Pelosi,and a lot of other members of congress are millionaires,and they got that money by stepping on the backs of hard working people,including Veterans/Retirees,so where is your outrage over that?

Charles W

December 13, 2013 - 10:57pm

Walter K...whose back pocket are you in?? You don't have a clue about duty and commitment that patriots have given to this country that you have the opportunity to become a millionaire by age 40....GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!!!!!

Mike Jarrett

December 13, 2013 - 7:12pm

Why can't congress and the president no matter what year or political party just do the right thing and leave the veterans,retirees and family members alone ? If cuts need to be made why aren't our elected leaders cutting funding going to Egypt, Pakistan and other programs that sends funds outside our country just to mention a few ideas. Providing for the needs of the American citizens and pressing matters of real importance to our country are issues which should be addressed prior to one red cent being sent outside of this country for anyone or anything! I am sick and tired of our politicians playing games with our lives and not doing what is the right thing to do for our citizens and/or countrywhile they consistantly are looking out for their own self interests including their pocket books !! Raise hell with your elected officials people !!

Bridget Wuerdeman

December 16, 2013 - 1:06pm

Ditto to this.

Walter K

December 13, 2013 - 8:08pm

But changes are needed before insolvency steps in. Otherwise, we will not have a retirement or even veteran benefits for that matter.

dam68

December 13, 2013 - 8:19pm

Walter, there are other ways to cut costs all across the federal government. The amount of waste and abuse alone could cover the cost of retirement COLA increases many times over.

David Holland

December 13, 2013 - 11:34pm

let make it a amendment if the politicians want a raise we have to approve it first at the ballot box based on performance how about them giving back those raises

David Holland

December 13, 2013 - 11:33pm

let make it a amendment if the politicians want a raise we have to approve it first at the ballot box based on performance how about them giving back those raises

Walter K

December 13, 2013 - 9:22pm

There are other ways. I think we need to end all double dipping of all federal employees (including military), congressional pensions, end Tricare, expand PX/Commissary access to disabled vets (30% or more) both increasing funds on posts while saving disabled veterans money, remove unneeded departments, but all these things take time. COLA is a small expense to pay to initiate changes. Where are your ideas at? Show me your way to reduce the budget. I have mine and mine will develop as I get more into my MPA program.

Jamie Mayes

December 15, 2013 - 6:20pm

Walter, You are obviously not a Disabled Veteran or Retiree. Your comments and thoughts aren't in line with The American Legion's commitment to all retirees and veterans. Our benefits have eroded and if it was left up to folks like you we wouldn't have any benefits at all. Here's an idea, how about you go and fight in a war and come back in one piece and see if your thoughts and ideas are different.

Walter K

January 17, 2014 - 6:46pm

What makes you thing Jamie that I am not a disabled veteran or retiree? What makes you think that as a combat wounded veteran who is an American Legion member that I am supposed to go with the organization's commitment? Perhaps your sense of freedom is not very tuned to sensitivity. I survived two tours of Iraq, with one of them where I got injured by a VBIED. Just because someone's view is not in line with an organization's commitment does not make them not a disabled veteran or a retiree. Think about that next time before making such an accusation.

Ted Hensley

January 6, 2014 - 9:34am

Jamie, sorry that I'm late to the fight, but I am jumping in just the same. I have to say that after reading this line of argument and others, it is apparent that Walter is not a veteran, nor does he understand what it means to sacrifice your freedom that comes with serving in the military so that others can enjoy theirs. Cutting any benefits of military active duty, retirees, or veterans in general just to balance the budget is just plain wrong. I just cannot believe hat they only way to reduce the budget was to cut our annual COLA payments. Seriously? Many of our Congressmen/Congresswomen are some of the brightest and most imaginative politicians in the world, but it boggles my mind that they could not conceive another area to cut which could save money over the long term. I'm from Oklahoma, and Representative Tom Cole-R voted for the bill that cut our COLA. I have written him and told him that he will NOT get my vote during the next election. Nor will any of the other congressional hopefuls for the 2016 presidential elections who voted for this backstabbing bill. (Are you listening Mr. Ryan?) I can only hope that we can start a campaign to get as many vets as possible to rally together to have show of strength for the next election and show the politicians that we veterans, when banded together, can affect the outcome of elections through one voice and many voters. We need to keep this event fresh in our minds, and any other bills which negatively affect our veterans. That's what they hope for, short memories. But no more. We need to band together, either through the Legion, VFW, DAV, or any and all veteran based organizations and get our voices and grievances heard in congress. These issues need to be brought up loud and often. I'm retired with a military pension, and I'm disabled, but my mind works just fine, and I'm willing to jump in this fight however I'm needed. I just need someone to show where I can help. As any vet will tell you that there's nothing more valuable or effective than a highly motivated individual working with other highly motivated individuals working toward a common goal. Especially ones with a vote.

Walter K

January 17, 2014 - 6:51pm

Ted, I am a veteran, a combat wounded one at that. I served two tours in Iraq, and even went back as a contractor in Afghanistan. While it appears I speak not like a veteran, I see things beyond my pay as a veteran. COLA cuts came because retirees rejected every other form of pension modification. Start thinking with your brain, there is no constitutional guarantee for your pension or health care or even VA disability payments according to the U.S. Supreme Court. I just picked that up sooner than most veterans. Propose a real pension reform solution that reduces the cost to the DoD, then I admire your views so much more.

Zsun

December 13, 2013 - 6:49pm

Hey, get the draft back ,and how many men and women who think veterans are all about themselves. You give a "blank check" to your country , to keep our freedom. And some paid with their lives, others are change forever, how can we "cut what they earned", for a weak government, none which ever fought for their country!

PHIL HARRISON

December 13, 2013 - 5:22pm

MY WIFE ,SANDRA, JUST DIED OF KIDNEY FAILURE. SHE WAS WORRIED SICK OVER HOW THE GOV'T PLANS TO CUT BENIFITS. SHE MIGHT AS WELL BEEN ON THE WALL WITH ME ON THREE OF MY OVERSEAS TOURS.. THOSE NON-MILITARY LAWMAKERS ARE AN INSULT TO THOSE WHO SERVED AND DIED FOR THIS COUNTRY.....GOD BLESS AMERICA AND THE AMERICAN LEGION.

Walter K

December 13, 2013 - 2:37pm

Why does the American Legion, as well as all you retirees out there, in conjunction with all the other veteran organizations oppose every time the Department of Defense tries to fix its budget issues? Do you even know that by 2032, the military pensions for one year will hit $1,000,000,000 per year just for the current retirees pension benefits? How about the fact that TRICare is really unsustainable when you look at its budget reaching into the billions of dollars? You will bankrupt this country along with all the welfare programs and as a veteran, I think this is a bad idea to oppose reforms of these programs. Start thinking with your head and not about the "me, me, me" emotional mentality. I agree we need to modify more than just the military and veteran programs, but that does not change the fact that this needs changed.

ibBrad

December 13, 2013 - 10:11pm

Please site the source for your $1T estimate in military pension outlays by 2032. It appears 10x greater than I could do on the back of an envelope (CBO shows about $54B in 2013 and $70B in 2023 so $1T by 2032 is a huge jump). Let’s be clear that the veterans and retirees are not the ones bankrupting this country. They faithfully executed their part of the contract with the government. If Congress worked together in an across the board effort to reduce out of control spending and deficit reduction to improve the fiscal health of the country for the benefit of our children and grandchildren, then I know I would be onboard. However, Congress reneges on one promise while offering that same promise to someone else. It’s not about me, me, me. It’s about 1) holding Congress accountable for promises made including by their predecessors; 2) respecting and protecting the “position” of those that served so that our children and grandchildren will one day know what it means and also desire to be a Patriot.

Walter K

December 13, 2013 - 11:15pm

Your right ibBrad, I put looked at the wrong number. The correct number is $217 Billion per year. (American Progress 2012 military_compensation study - Page 38). Thank you for catching that. As for the promise, COLA is not taking the benefit away so they did not break their promise. Second, the Supreme Court has ruled that Congress can take away these benefits at will.

Gene S

December 13, 2013 - 8:59pm

The COLA is a cost of living adjustment. Its just keeping vets compensation the same as it was rather than keep cutting it each year as this new COLA will do. This country gets its revenue from its citizens. It is not broke as long as the people who benefited from the vets are still getting richer and richer. Theres plenty of other areas to cut and there is a tax base out there that has been getting off easy since Reagan. If the rich don't want to pay for the military that keeps their investments safe around the world then let them fight for their security.

Walter K

December 13, 2013 - 9:29pm

Gene, I am wanting to become the "rich" you speak of. I get taxed enough as it is. I worked for six figures and plan on being a millionaire by age 40 at the latest. What then, you want to tax me more to pay for your military COLA. I think we need to cut taxes and cut benefits. We should place into every initial contract for enlistment or officer the pension that person will receive and the terms/conditions it will take to meet those conditions in exchange for XXX amount. How about that as a solution to the COLA debate? Make it a contract enforceable by law.

dam68

December 13, 2013 - 8:26pm

This is not about selfishness. This is about what is right. I would not lump together veteran's benefits in with other welfare programs. That is comparing apples to oranges. Veteran's benefits are earned. Welfare is unearned and meant to be a temporary safety net. However, it has become a endless treasure trove for deadbeats who game the system. Now, the "me, me, me" mentality you described fits perfectly here.

Walter K

December 13, 2013 - 9:32pm

Dam68, do not tell me about what is right here. Apples or Oranges, we have too many of both. How about we just cut Tricare and all veterans go to the VA for healthcare? How about we allow retirees and qualified disabled veterans access to CHAMPUS instead of Tricare for outside VA care. Now that would save billions of dollars and might preserve your COLA. The DoD is not a good health care administrator, you have to admit that.

dam68

December 15, 2013 - 6:10pm

I'm not telling you what to do or think. I personally think it is not right to attack veterans and veterans alone as you continue to do with your "facts." What do you have against veterans, specifically retirees? Why don't you research what the cost savings will be to cut welfare programs and assistance to illegal immigrants? It doesn't take an MPA degree to figure out the savings would be much greater!

Cat

December 15, 2013 - 12:18am

Military retires worked for their pensions. And paid in to social security. How about cutting those who did hnot work for the money they receive first like welfare!!!!!

Cat

December 15, 2013 - 12:17am

Military retires worked for their pensions. And paid in to social security. How about cutting those who did hnot work for the money they receive first like welfare!!!!!

Walter K

December 13, 2013 - 2:40pm

And I should note that every other idea to expand PX and Commissary usage has failed in the Congress because the retiree community and even some veteran organizations oppose expanding military ID cards for even lower rated VA -disabled veterans. Perhaps if you do that, the veterans who do not actually meet the 17% retired status might leave your benefits alone and might instead try to fight for your retired benefits even more.

wingrider6

December 13, 2013 - 1:33pm

As military retired I use Tricare, Tricare has a $150 deductible, $150! How many of you non-military retired have a deductible that low? I would be willing to see that doubled, that would still be a very low amount but would help my country. I think as veterans we've become more "me me" and forget about what's best for the nation--a very broke nation.

Larry Holman

December 13, 2013 - 2:19pm

Perhaps you, and all other like-minded military retirees, could help out our beleaguered nation by just overpaying your taxes at the end of the year. Some may choose to wait for the billionaires, many of whom chose not to serve their country, to throw a little more into the treasury first.

PHIL HARRISON

December 13, 2013 - 5:30pm

NOW THAT MY SPOUSE HAS PASSED AWAY I'D BE GLAD TO PAY EXTRA ON TAXES AND FOR TRICARE. JUST SO VETRANS WHO ARE FIGHTING TO STAY ALIVE AND THIER WIVES COULD HAVE SOME PEACE OF MIND AND CROSSOVER STILL LOVING THE COUNTRY THEY SERVED SO WELL.

c4246

December 13, 2013 - 12:52pm

With the new Obamacare, politicions should not get a free ride. They voted it in. It looks like socialism for the people but not for them.

Pete B

December 13, 2013 - 12:34pm

So let me get this straight...After serving my Country for over 20 years with many sacrifices along the way, I now am looking at a 15% pay cut (based upon my current age)??? Outrageous! If any NC elected officials endorse this I will vote you out come election day.

Kevin Meyer

December 13, 2013 - 12:14pm

I think that if they cut the veterans benefits then they had better cut all the congress, senators and the presidents benefits and raises also.

Cathy

December 13, 2013 - 10:47am

If the administration of the United States keeps hacking away and hacking away at military benefits, what incentive will there be for anyone to serve, anymore? We have the best young talent in the country attracted to the military due to being able to make a good living. Why destroy that? And why destroy it for the people who already served and spent the majority of their adulthood in the military? Why are they trying to increase the population of people who dont have money or benefits. How could that possibly be good for the country. It is sickening. And mostly those wanting to take away from veterans have never even served!!!

Walter K

December 13, 2013 - 9:26pm

Have you looked Cathy at the DoD budget? Have you read the GAO reports on these issues? I have and the numbers are not looking good. Pretty soon the DoD budget will grow to beyond what Medicare and Social Security are. What do you do when we are truly insolvent? Look at the Detroit situation.

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