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The federal government does not have enough money to keep the bargain it made with its servicemen and women when it sent them off to serve two and three tours of duty in Iraq. They can not get an appointment at the VA. They can not get their disability pay. They can not find a job. They can not find a place to live.

At the same time, the military always seems to be able to find the money to hire Lockheed or some other contractor to build a new bomber or new weapon that may not ever be used. Why? Because military brass--retiring generals---count upon second careers as private sector "consultants" with the companies to whom they award lucrative DOD contracts. So, the Pentagon always insists that it needs lots of money for new weapons and new jets and new toilet seats---and it is not be nearly as concerned about the needs of its discarded soldiers.

The math is crystal clear:

Military Admirals and Generals Need for Money Post Retirement > All Other Needs of All other Service People.

So, here is my suggestion. Rather than forcing our generals and admirals to retire on their modest military pensions, which encourages them to seek private sector consulting jobs with the companies that "owe" them, maybe we could save a lot of money by giving our retiring admirals and generals generous retirement bonuses. A million dollars would be a lot cheaper than spending a billion dollars making a jet that no one will ever fly. And, with the money we save, we could hire more doctors for the VA, fund for jobs programs, pay more college tuitions.

For those who say "But military spending is good for the economy!" consider Japan and Germany. When the US relieved them of the need for military spending after WWII, we allowed their economies to boom. Military spending is actually a very poor way to jump start the economy. Too much money goes into too few hands. The "product" sits on the shelf---or, if used, results in a net financial loss rather than gain. If you really want to use public spending to spread the wealth and make your economy grow, you invest in education first and health spending second. Lots of well paid jobs, and the "product"--better educated and healthier workforce---makes your economy even stronger. That is why Germany rules the European Union. That is why Japan is a world player.

This is not so far fetched. We pay farmers not to grow crops. Why shouldn't we pay military brass not to buy weapons and high priced toilets that we do not need? Spend that money in the education and health sector where it will benefit the economy. The improvement in benefits will attract better candidates to the military, making it stronger.

And, while we are at it, rather than paying trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives invading a foreign country so that a few oil companies can get oil contracts worth a few billion dollars---contracts that will become worthless once US troops pull out and the locals realign the government---maybe we should just give the oil companies a bigger tax break. Let them write off a billion instead of spending a trillion. Seems pretty obvious to me.

What do you think? Is the math simple enough for even a Tea Partier to understand?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    "A dog starved at his master's gate/Predicts the ruin of the state" Blake

    by McCamy Taylor on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 11:44:45 AM PDT

  •  Or maybe we could just tell them 'no'. (6+ / 0-)
    Why shouldn't we pay military brass not to buy weapons and high priced toilets that we do not need?
    Because I don't feel they should be heavily rewarded for not wasting trillions of dollars on crap we aren't going to use. If we pay them more, they'll still take those jobs unless we bar them from doing so, which I doubt we'll do.
  •  Tipped for having your heart in the right place. (3+ / 0-)
  •  I think we have to many Generals with too many (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, allie4fairness

    perks.

    We are not powerless!! "Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet."– Alice Walker

    by nocynicism on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 12:17:45 PM PDT

  •  One Reason We Eliminated Steep Progressive Income (6+ / 0-)

    taxes is so that the private sector would be free to offer jackpot compensation to generals, representatives and other functionaries when they leave public service.

    And that means the public sector can never come up with enough to pay top leadership and out-compete their eventual private sector bonanza.

    So, no, there isn't enough we could pay any top public officials, not without radical socialist hippie commie 3rd-way-enraging progressive taxation.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 12:26:17 PM PDT

  •  You are confusing the VA with the DOD. The VA (7+ / 0-)

    does not get any funding from the DOD, so the decision to stop building toys we don't need will not impact the VA. Nor will any adjustment to a General's retirement package.

    In addition, the real problem at the VA is not one of money, but of deeply embedded administrators who are rewarded for producing numbers instead of care.

    •  And we all know that those VA numbers are (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Susan from 29, blueoasis

      deliberately skewed and trumped up. Time to do a thorough housecleaning from the top down. This whole thing reeks to the depths of Hell!

    •  Not so sure about that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Susan from 29, DaNang65
      the real problem at the VA is not one of money, but of deeply embedded administrators who are rewarded for producing numbers instead of care.
      Absent sufficient money to provide an adequate level of service, staff learn that it is necessary to find ways to fudge the reports to appear more successful than they actually are. I would propose that the the real problem is both lack of money and a system that rewards "outputs" instead of "outcomes".

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 04:47:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I always want to see more funding for the VA; I am (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, allie4fairness, DaNang65

        among its beneficiaries. And I am aware the the GOP filibustered the latest attempt to provide funding for additional medical facilities, but it is more than money that has created the problems at the VA. And perhaps that is the way I should have expressed it.

        "The real problem at the VA is more than one of money, but of deeply embedded.."

        The administrators were given bonuses based on their job performance reports, which provided them an incentive to lie about the numbers. According to CNN, the new head of the VA has stated that there will be no bonuses for 2014.

        At this point, the VA's Office of Inspector General is investigating 69 facilities for allegations that administrators altered appointment data or used secret waiting lists to make patient wait times appear shorter in order to earn financial bonuses.
        •  The problems with the VA don't need to be (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Susan from 29

          either-or (funding vs. bonus structure). From long personal experience I'd suggest that it's at least both.

          Add in inflexible hiring practices, the near impossibility of getting fired, and an anti-whistleblower culture and what has finally come to light as the "VA scandals" was almost inevitable in light of the surge in enrollment, the result not only of the numbers of newly minted veterans but the Viet Nam generation reaching the age where we need a lot of medical services.

          And, of course, recent policies liberalizing standards for things like Agent Orange related conditions (many of which are just now beginning to manifest themselves) and PTSD have greatly increased demand.

          Altogether, a perfect storm.

          The remedy starts with adequate funding, then bureaucratic reform.

          We can't think our way into a better way of living. We have to live our way into a better way of thinking. Claude AnShin Thomas

          by DaNang65 on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:01:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Umm, no (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alypsee1, allie4fairness

    They already make fairly cromulent salaries.

    And like Mr. Montgomery Burns (who was even better off) would no doubt similarly be willing to "give it all up for just a little bit more"

    IOW, the greed of the super-well off knows no bounds.

  •  "Modest military pension"? (5+ / 0-)

    A Brigadier General (one-star) retiring in 2014 with 25 years of service would start with a monthly gross retirement pay of just under $7000. (This assumes that they went with the "High 3" model for retirement pay; there are a few ways to go about it, depending on when one entered service.)

    I wouldn't call a pension of $84,000/year "modest."

    Keep in mind, too, that we're talking about an extremely small number of people.  The number of Generals in the US Army is limited to roughly 300, if memory serves, and only a few of them retire each year.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 01:51:37 PM PDT

  •  Better idea, dump the welfare queens altogether. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allie4fairness

    If we didn't pour billions of our dollars into the the sinkhole of "defense contractors", there wouldn't be any trough of Big Bucks for these asshats to feed at.

    Then they could live their lives maintaining their personal fantasy about doing it all for their country and die happy.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 05:03:50 PM PDT

  •  If we can't get the VA to operate their (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allie4fairness, DaNang65

    health care system how do you think single payer is going to work out?  Don't get me wrong. I'm in favor of single payer but if the VA is an example then we better get their and our act together.  

    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubt." Bertrand Russell I'm very certain that is true. 10−122

    by thestructureguy on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:11:35 PM PDT

    •  You're absolutely correct, (0+ / 0-)

      the VA is the beta version of single payer health care (I've personally heard high ranking VA officials acknowledge it as such, just not in front of the cameras.) Which is what the current fight is all about.

      The forces of privatization have been consciously starving the VA, not only to forestall a smooth running single payer model right here at home, but to transfer as much as possible of the second largest federal agency (after DoD)'s budget into for profit hands.

      We can't think our way into a better way of living. We have to live our way into a better way of thinking. Claude AnShin Thomas

      by DaNang65 on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:10:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, the VA is socialized healthcare in th... (0+ / 0-)

        Actually, the VA is socialized healthcare in that the government owns and operates all the hospitals and healthcare workers are government employees.

        In a single payer model, the government is simply the payer of medical services as hospitals and clinics are still owned and operated by private corporations and/or non-profits.

  •  Military academies have legacy admissions, (0+ / 0-)

    same as most private colleges, in which progeny of past grads are accepted with out real qualifications needed...witness John McCain, son and grandson of Navy Admirals, and one of the lowest ranking in his class...and one who never came close to making Admiral.

    We have several very different stocks of military officers - the Legacy's such as McCain, the rich seeking adventure such as George Patton, the low income strugglers seeking a career such as Colin Powell, and those risen from ranks, such as former USMC Commandant Chesty Puller.

    When I was in the Army I met some very good and capable officers and some of the horses-ass variety as well. Those making it to the high end career jobs more often than not are the legacy types, but they are the mediocre ass-covering officers who avoid making a mistake by doing as little as possible. These guys are self perpetuating and very protective of their careers and those of their peers, and IMO, they are the ones who should be discouraged...the legacy admission at the military academies should be ended.

    The more interesting ones are all the others, and IMO, they are by far the better commanders and leaders.

    "The tides go out, the tides come in...Nobody knows why." Glenn Beck, 2014.

    by old mark on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 03:24:11 AM PDT

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