President Obama spent his first 3 years in office cutting pay and benefits for federal civilian workers, and now he has turned his focus on cutting the pay soldiers, saliors, marines, and airmen. His budget shows that military pay raises will rise by less than inflation over the next few years, and that he will cut healthcare benefits for our active and retired military.
Unknown to most Americans — many other countries have the exact same technology as we do. Due to foreign military sales, there are actually a number of cases where we sell to foreigners more advanced systems than our military owns. Yet, statists continue to show that our military has better kill ratios and beter individial and team performance than any other country — even with the same technology. For example, American pilots flying one fighter where our version is slightly less advanced that whan a few other countries have, have kill ratios with that fighter higher than any other country and in excess of 10 – 1 on 1 to 1 dog fights.
The reason for American military superiority is NOT numbers. Other countries have more troops. It is not technology. Technology gives us advantages in some areas, but in most areas technology is secondary. The reason is training, doctrine, organization, courage, and the quality of both our fighting men and women and those federal civilians and contract workers supporting them.
Unlike the media narrative, folks in our military are exceptional. Many of them work 16 hour days, every day, for months or years while deployed. This is true of military and civilian. Sundays are an exception where work is typically closer to 8 – 12 hours. At home, due to shortagates in many areas, civilians who work at a number of key jobs work those same hours; as due military. Civilians working with acquisition, with training deploying military, with tacitics, with education, with logistics, and in a number of areas consistantly work harder and longer than 90% of the folks in the private sector. They do this with their lives on the line and the lives of their friends on the line. They do this away from their families for months or years at a time.
These civilian and military personnel protecting our national security are very different from the general population. When we hire people with top secret security clearances, we spend thousands of dollards investigating their life, and a good percentage of the population does not qualify for one. Many of the jobs needed to protect our security require advanced degrees and years of job-specific training.
When we look at a possition-by-possition basis we find that — yes— if we compare the salary and benefits to someone in the military to a police officer or fireman, or corporate security guard — yes, our military is paid more. However, unlike those jobs, our military folks work twice as much, live away from home, and have riskier jobs. These comparisons are false. The same is true with the deployed civilians who have faced a 2 year pay freeze and now have to pay 2.3% more for their retirement. In a year they will now be making about 10% lower salary (in terms of buying power) than when Obama took office. Studies show that many of them are underpaid, but many are paid more than in the private sector. But, let’s look at the comparison. Unlike the private sector, the civilians deployed overseas protecting our freedom in combate zones are risking their lives, away from their families, and living in a location with 1950s technology. In Afghanistan, there are snakes in the toilets during the summer. Folks live in tents. It is loud.
I want to talk a moment about the smell in Afghanistan. Due to the method of waste processing; there is a consistant, powerfull, burning stentch of #2. It burns your lungs, and has been shown unhealthy. Yet, it is a constant (except for when it rains).
I am a supporter of low taxes. I think cuts need to be made. However, the one area where I believe it is completely unacceptable to continue to make cuts is to cut the pay and benefits of the folks protecting our freedom. These guys (contractors, government civilian, and military) are protecting our freedom at great personal expense. With all due respect to our president and the GOP and Democrat House and Senate, this is not where to make cuts. These men and women are not over paid, lazy drains on our economy. They are not just our typical, good, working Americans. They are serving this country in a way that is better and more importaint than the typical private sector worker. They work harder, work longer, and due a more importaint job than most of us.
I would rather we make cuts in entitlment programs for people who are capable of working but do not. That we make cuts in our social welfare system. That we make cuts in our transfer payments and even cut 10 – 20% of all government employees and government contractors and government contracts over the next 5 years. However, if my first choice is not avalible, that I would prefer any other choice to the one proposed by Obama of making more cuts to the pay and benefits of the men and women protecting our freedom.
At some point, we need to stop attacking those who are fighting to protect our freedom. We need to provide at-the-least inflationary adjustments to military and civilian wokers protecting our freedom; without cutting their benefits for retirement and healthcare. We keep this up and our military will be like that of Europe and the rest of the world — it will become a social institution incapbable of actually fighting a war. We get what we pay for. If we do not pay good wages for our troops and for the civilians and contractors supporting them — our military crumbles.
4 more years of Obama; or 4 years of a president who does not understand how our military works and what makes it strong — and our military will be destroyed.
Even in the case of Clinton. He shunk the military, but listened enough to his advisors to shrink it the right way, so we could still win the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan easily. (we had trouble with nation-buidling, but did great with fighting).
Under Obama, we have spend more on the military, but are weakening it because the money we are spending is increasingly on pork; and less-and-less on the men and women who make up our fighting force.
Most companies spend the majority of their income on employees. Our government spends less than 15% of our budget to pay for all military and all civilians (those related to national security and those not related to it). 85% of our budget is used to pay for something other than government employees (civilian and military). The vast majority of that 85% is transfer payments to rob Peter and pay Paul. The sad truth is that, rather than cut the socialist welfare state, politicians are cutting the pay for working Americans who are defending our security.
I hope that one day soon people wake up and see that we do not have a budget problem due to the pay or benifits we give our military or our civilian workers. That pay is completely affordable. What we cannot afford is the money we pay out as welfare.
Let’s make cuts to the welfare state, and fix the problem — not further burden the families of Americans who have made sacrifices and worked hard to protect our freedom. I will be the first to say that I think cutting the pay for our troops is as stupid as the cuts made to the civilian workers protecting our security. We keep this up, and we will not longer a military superpower; but rather our military will consist of folks who could not get a job elsewhere. We will end up with incompetent, lazy civilian and military workers, and our ability to respond to any threat with our military will end.
Planning, preparing, and fighting a war is not an 8 hour job for those fighting it or for those supporting them. The more people the bigger the footprint. So everyone has to pull his weight, and give it everything he has, every waking moment. The least we can do as a country is end the assult on the pay and benefits of these fine people.