If you've ever said, Thank you for your service to a man or woman in uniform and wondered what else you might be able to do to show your thanks, here's your chance.
Tonight, at 9pm Eastern, the military community will be holding a Town Hall on Twitter (#KeepYourPromise) and Facebook. We are hoping to join forces with a large number of civilians in order to fix what the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal believe is a small adjustment to military pensions.
That small adjustment is a cut in COLA increases - the same kind of cut that Republicans keep talking about for Social Security. And the cuts total to large amounts in a family budget, anywhere from $80,000 to $120,000 per military retiree. Call this budget cut a test item - Congress is waiting to see how palatable it is to mainstream America. If it works here, why won't it work for Social Security?
And if you listen to their wording, it sounds pretty reasonable. It's a cut to 'working age retirees' who have the opportunity to make up the loss in their next job.
Let me tell you a couple of things about military retirement.
1. Retirement is a misnomer. Most military retirees will work a second job, if they can find one. And most won't go work in the DC Beltway for military contractors.The fix? HR 3790. It's been referred to the House Armed Services Committee. And it's a simple fix with bi-partisan support and it's the only bill without any offsets. All other bills will have a hard time because they either call for offsets that are not acceptable to Democrats or not acceptable to Republicans.
2. Military retirement is part of a compensation package intended to help keep quality Senior NCO's and officers serving. You can't exactly hire a Chief Master Sergeant off the street. If you want a quality service, you offer quality benefits.
3. Military retirement is half of base pay - it won't come close to what a soldier, sailor, Marine, or airman earns while on active duty since it won't include housing and allowances. Even with those extras, many military families have a hard time making it while on active duty. The idea that a military retirement is actually something to live off is a joke. It's more like a savings account to help pay for those things you couldn't save for while serving.
The problem is that not everyone in the military community yet agrees on an approach. And, as you can imagine, we're a mixed group politically. Finding agreement can often be tough. This bill is great because it already has support from both parties. If either party wants an off-set, let them fight for that in the next budget bill.
That's part of why I'm asking YOU to join us tonight. Help keep the Twitter conversation flowing in a healthy way. It's one of the most helpful things you could do for the military community at this moment in time. Help correct misperceptions about those who support the military and about those that serve:
Thanks in advance for your support. If you have any questions about military retirement, please ask in the comments below. I'll do my best to give you an educated response!