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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

 
Veteran devastation

by digby

So Leon Panetta took defense cuts off the table the other day and said today that the military would be devastated if it even went back to 2007 spending levels.

But this is under consideration:

In a rare joint appearance with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the National Defense University Tuesday, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta confirmed a CBS News report that the Pentagon is considering a dramatic plan to overhaul the military's once sacrosanct retirement plan.

According to CBS, the plan "would eliminate the familiar system under which anyone who serves 20 years is eligible for retirement at half their salary. Instead, they'd get a 401k-style plan with government contributions."

Panetta largely confirmed the report, with a key caveat.

"That report came as the result of an advisory group that was asked by my predecessor Bob Gates to look at the retirement issue," he said.

And they have put together some thoughts, they're supposed to issue, actually, a more complete report the latter part of this month. No decisions have been made with regards to that issue...it's the kind of thing you have to consider in terms of retirement reforms in the broad form, but you have to do it...in a way that doesn't break faith, again, with our troops and with their families. If you're going to do something like this you've got to think very seriously about grandfathering in order to protect the benefits that are there.


Under the plan, drafted by the Defense Business Board, retired service members would have to wait until standard retirement age before touching their pensions. It would reportedly save $250 billion over two decades.


I suppose that one sure way to protect Wall Street from ever having to suffer catastrophic losses again is to put every last penny of everyone's retirement benefits into it. Talk about Too Big To Fail.

But I hope they know what kind of buzzsaw they're walking into by taking on veterans' retirement benefits. It is a well organized group with a ton of political clout. Of course it's possible they could slip this whole thing in under the Super Committee before anybody had a thing to say about it. That's sort of the point.


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