National security insiders overwhelmingly support military pension cuts, according to poll

Reducing pension benefits is a political minefield, and that sentiment applies two-fold when the benefits in question are for military personnel.

But no one sent that memo to House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) or Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who last month passed a bi-partisan budget that cuts the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of military pensions by 1%.

The move caused anger among veterans, but was supported by national security insiders, according to a poll conducted by the National Journal, a magazine widely read by Washington insiders.

According to the poll, 52% of insiders support the COLA decrease and 38% think the cutbacks should have been deeper.

Only 10% of insiders think military benefits should be off-limits entirely.

The Washington Post explains the rationale for cutting military pensions:

Overall, military compensation — including health benefits and salaries paid to active-duty personnel — eats up roughly half the defense budget, a proportion that is steadily rising. In a speech in November, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned that “without serious attempts to achieve significant savings” in military compensation, “we risk becoming an unbalanced force.”

Military pensions would appear to be particularly ripe for reduction. Anyone who puts in 20 years can receive payments immediately and look forward to annual cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, for life. That means service members who signed up at 18 could find themselves with a full pension — roughly half their ­active-duty paycheck — at 38. And the government finds itself doling out cash to former troops who have launched lucrative second careers, often with defense contractors that draw their profits from government coffers.

A 1% decrease in COLAs may not sound like much, but the decrease is projected to save the federal government $6 billion over the next 10 years.

Click here to read a summary of the budget deal.

Share This Post

Related Articles

Privacy Policy | © 2020 Pension360 and © 2014 Policy Data Institute | Site Admin · Entries RSS ·