Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Who is running our military?

The events of the past couple of weeks makes us wonder who is in charge of the US military. Does it matter that the spokespeople are not on the same page? Is the President the Commander in Chief, or just going through the motions? Let's take a look at some things that certainly give reasons to stop and wonder what in the world (pun intended) is going on?

First of all, we have no real plan to battle ISIS. We are swatting a fly here, a flea there. Our military is just on the sidelines waiting and watching...for what?

Putin? Obama meets with Putin, and of course plays it up. Only to have Putin lead Russia into a build up in Syria, then bomb what supposedly is the same people we were training and supporting. The Defense Department says they had no clue. John Kerry calls Putin, "unprofessional." Are you kidding? Unprofessional? A very strange choice of words to say the least. But again, the point is, we were clueless.

And now we are watching Putin have a plan in Syria. Join Syria, Iran, and now Iraq. Boy have we lost the edge. What about Obama's promise to make sure Assad goes? Well, that train has left the station.

Of course when anyone talks about this stuff, Obama just says the other side just wants war. With Obama, there seems to be only two choices: Nothing or war. We don't remember Ronald Reagan going to war for the Berlin Wall, Poland, etc.

And then we have this little matter about us bombing a hospital.

Not more than a few hours, Obama was on the spot, complaining about lack of gun control after the horrible tragedy in Oregon. In fact, he boldly made it political. A rather shameful act, actually, for the President of the United States.

But then we bomb a hospital and what is his response? Silence.

First we say we are looking into it. Then we say we did it because the Afghans asked us to. Followed by a few days of silence. Eventually, we admit it was a mistake. But that's not enough for this administration. No. They have to now say it was all the fault of those in Afghanistan. That is, blaming it on our military men and women who were just following orders. It's called passing the buck. "Stuff" flows downhill, as our fellow vets would know.

Obama should have spoken right away, AND TAKEN FULL RESPONSIBILITY! We bombed a hospital that we helped build.

The only people who ever do anything wrong, according to the president, is anyone but him!

>> Veterans make great teachers! Become one today.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cautionary advice for owning a house while in the military

Certainly owning a house is one of most everyone's dream. But military members are unique. They travel. They get transferred. Career military personnel can move quite a bit. Buying a home is a big step, and an even bigger one if done while on active duty.

First, your home is a huge investment. And it might not pay off. If you move in a couple of years, your house probably will not have increased that much. You could have little equity. The costs of selling your house might strip away any gains. If you can't sell it before you have to move, you will still owe payments. Trying to rent might be an iffy proposition. Will you get enough to cover the costs? How will you manage the place while you are overseas, or at best, a domestic base? It's hard being a landlord as it is. You could end up with a big headache. A house left alone without occupants is ripe for vandalism.

Military pay can be supplemented by housing and combat pay, along with other allowances. Those are tax free, so any tax break of owning a home might not be there. Just using the standard deductions, a military family might not owe any tax to begin with. Don't get snookered into buying a home because of some big tax break that might not be there.

On-base housing, if you get it, is the best way. Local rentals are the next option.

If you are in your last years and know for a fact that you have reached your final duty station at home, you might consider buying. But there is a great benefit for veterans. VA home loans.

The best advice perhaps is to just wait.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Pentagon "Jumps the Shark" on new pension plan

The military has been making some very suspect decisions lately, from top to bottom. From ISIS to Iraq, Bergdahl, and everything in between. We can't keep up with the contradictions and questionable actions. Of course it does come from the Commander in Chief, who has been pretty clueless on the world stage anyway. But we digress. Now they propose a radical change in the military retirement system. Now, after 20 years, you retire at 50% of your base pay. In the scheme of things, that's not bad, but not great. Since a lot of military members are young, after 20 years they are still relatively young. So getting another job and retirement gives them a chance at a second career if they need it. Now it's not great, but getting 50% after only 20 years is pretty good. We have to admit that upfront. No, you won't get rich, but it is a carrot dangled in front of you to stick it out for 20 years. Or more. And that's a good thing. We should reward those that stick their necks out for our country. Now the new plan. We'll call it the beginning of the privatization of the military. That's dangerous. It's the first step to treating the military as if it were just another federal agency or private company. The people that work their must probably pay into their own retirement with a contribution from the company. And that is what is being proposed. Having military members contribute from their already meager checks into a retirement system. This will undoubtedly be mandatory. Instead of retiring after 20 years at half pay, a member will now draw on some screw ball annuity, dropping that 50% to 40%. Okay. Perhaps you say still not bad. But we are forgetting the forfeiture of pay for those 20 years. Not only will retired service members get a smaller paycheck while serving, they get a smaller check when retiring. This is a screw ball idea. Of course higher ups think this will be great! Sure. Why would anyone make the military a career, when a private job would probably offer a better retirement? If you force people to pay who have never paid before, at least give them more! But, no. The Pentagon says they will match up to 5% contribution from military paychecks. Now we ask you, can you see military members wanting to give up 5% of their income? How many stories do you read about how military families are struggling? Members who leave early will indeed be able to withdraw it, maybe, but e bet their will be a penalty. And just when you thought it could not get worse, check this detail out. After 20 years, military members will be offered some sort of higher pay IF they stay 8 more years...why? It is hoped that this would help offset the reduced retirement. So now you must stay for 28 years... We fully recognize those that do serve longer than 20 years now. The incentive is that they will get a bigger retirement. But this is without paying one dime. This should scare a lot of people. Can you imagine the steps we would be taking to privatize the military? No more military rules. We'd probably get a union and see a strike. Write your congressmen and women. Tell them to vote no.