Defense Secretary Leon Panetta offered a parting shot to the troops, mere days before he vacates his post, suggesting that our fighting men and women in the military should have their pay cut next year.
Just days before he leaves office, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is recommending military pay be limited, effectively decreasing troop salaries next year.
Panetta will recommend to Congress that military salaries be limited to a 1% increase in 2014. The Pentagon has calculated that the Labor Department’s 2014 Employment Cost Index is expected to be above 1% but wants to still cut back on pay because of “budget uncertainties,” a department official told CNN. In 2013, a 1.7% increase was approved, based on the index, which has been the basis for military pay for the last several years.
Three Pentagon officials have confirmed details of the plan to CNN. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have also agreed to Panetta’s proposed pay plan. Final approval for the pay would come from Congress in the form of the 2014 budget.
Of course, this stems from “budget uncertainties” surrounding – at least in part – the looming sequestration plan; a devastating cut to the defense budget that was generated by the White House itself.
Let me ‘splain…
The Washington Post’s fact-checker flatly called the idea of sequestration “a White House gambit”, buoyed by a Bob Woodward book called The Price of Politics, in which members of the Obama administration proposed the idea to Senator Harry Reid. The following excerpt (p. 339) explains the idea as presented by White House staff:
“Lew, Nabors, Sperling and Bruce Reed, Biden’s chief of staff, had finally decided to propose using language from the 1985 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction law as the model for the trigger. It seemed tough enough to apply to the current situation. It would require a sequester with half the cuts from defense, and the other half from domestic programs.”
Half the cuts from defense, an area that should be last for consideration.
Meanwhile, the President recently used an Executive Order to give pay raises to vice-President Joe Biden and members of Congress.
Perhaps Congress is where the pay cuts should be coming from first?