Home > Uncategorized > Broken Covenants Redux: Military Wages and Benefits to be Cut.

Broken Covenants Redux: Military Wages and Benefits to be Cut.

December 1, 2013

I read with dismay that in order to balance the military budget in the face of the sequester the NYTimes editors are advocating consideration of cuts to military wages and benefits, including health and retirement benefits. This is outrageous as far as I’m concerned. I am no proponent of war, but I feel strongly that we owe those who volunteered to serve our country in often misbegotten military adventures deserve every dollar they are earning and especially deserve every dollar they were promised. This notion of rolling back promised wages and benefits is particularly galling knowing that the military spends millions on equipment that is unneeded and obsolete and spends millions outsourcing services that reward shareholders who never set foot on a battlefield and profited from our governments decision to privatize services. Moreover, I know that the treatment for the after effects of war— injuries, PTSD, addiction, and other mental health problems– is expensive and should not be borne by those who sacrificed to protect my right to express my opinion in a blog and everyone’s constitutional rights as they interpret them. Here’s the comment I left:

A deal is a deal. Young men and women joined the military and risked their lives on our behalf to fight wars that were extraordinarily dangerous… wars that many of us questioned but ones that our leaders voted to engage in either directly or indirectly. How can we consider cutting back on the benefits that were part of the compensation package promised them when they enlisted? I know: this kind of thing happens in the private sector all the time in order to improve the bottom line and I also know that in an effort to run the public sector lie a business that teachers, firefighters, poise, and other public employees are losing their promised benefits. Maybe it will take these unconscionable cuts to our military men and women to reverse the unfortunate trend of breaking promises to employees across our country in order to maintain the bottom line…. and maybe we might be willing to dig a little deeper in our pockets to keep these promises for everyone.

As indicated in earlier posts, employees for decades viewed their relationship with their employer as a covenant: they would provide years of selfless service to the corporation and in return the corporation would keep promises regarding wages, hours, working conditions, and benefits. When the private sector got away with giving “haircuts” to their employees as they dismissed them or re-framed their contracts in order to improve their shareholders’ benefits (or to “remain competitive” to use the verbiage the media accepted), the door was open for the public sector to do the same. Now that we are about to short change our military forces and veterans MAYBE we could claw back some of the benefits we’ve taken away from others. I fear, though, that in the name of austerity and a balanced budget we will instead take money from those who deserve it most instead of digging a little deeper in our pockets.

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