AirTalk for January 23, 2014

Should military pensions be protected from cuts?

Florida Community Commemorates Veterans Day

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Cyril Bullard retired from the United States Army plays the trumpet during a Veterans Day ceremony at the Coconut Grove Bahamian cemetery on November 11, 2013 in Coconut Grove, Florida.

The bipartisan budget agreement signed by President Obama last month included a small, across the board cut to military pensions that is proving to be pretty unpopular. Next Tuesday, the Senate Armed Services Committee is set to consider proposals that would repeal all or part of the controversial pension cut.

As they stand now, the cuts would reduce the cost-of-living adjustment for working-age military retirees by 1 percent per year until the veterans reach age 62, and total $6 billion in government savings. No change has been made to a 2007 law which allows top ranking officers -- three and four-star generals -- to earn a larger salary from their pension than they do on active duty. That law, intended to incentivize active service for longer periods of time, is also under scrutiny.

Critics, like California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier, think rolling back pensions for top brass is the best place to start trimming the Pentagon’s budget. Do cuts to military pension funds break faith with the troops? What are the best ways to support those who devote themselves to military service? Should the cost-of-living cuts made in December be eliminated?

Guests: 

Lawrence Korb, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress

Colonel Mike Barron (Ret'd), Deputy Director of Government Relations at the Military Officers Association of America [he is involved in the hearing next week preparing materials for MOAA Chairman of the Board Gen. John H. Tilelli]


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