Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dreaming On A Summer's Afternoon

Appearing on the Sunday talk shows, Representative Michele Bachmann was asked about her intransigent position against raising the debt ceiling. She took it as an opportunity to makeclear her undying support for members of the armed services.

That's why I say we need to pay the interest on the debt, that's how you don't default. We tell our military men and women, under no circumstances will you not get a paycheck. It was irresponsible of the president to suggest they wouldn't. (Fox News Sunday)

Remember, I introduced a bill that would not have had the United States default. The president did not. Let me tell you what the president did. President Obama went out and, and effectively said through his administration, "We don't know if we're going to pay our military men and women in uniform." This was--this comment was made overseas to our men and women while they're serving our country. (Meet The Press)

This was more than just another example of the Minnesota congresswoman staring ahead and repeating her talking points ad nauseum. No politician ever lost a vote by declaring his or her allegiance to "our brave fighting men" or, nowaday, men and women, and serving the needs of a uniquely courageous segment of the population usually is good policy, also.

So it was surprising at first glance to read Brian Beutler report

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 a result of an advisory group that was asked (sic) by my predecessor Bob Gates to look at the retirement issue," he said....

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.

Surprise! On August 4 Panetta had argued "We're already taking our share of the discretionary cuts as part of this debt-ceiling agreement, and those are going to be tough enough. I think anything beyond that would damage our national defense." Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid need to be cut, the Defense Secretary maintains, while big weapons systems must go on.

But the pensions of veterans are on the chopping block, according to the Secretary of Defense, appearing with that other 2008 Democratic presidential hopeful (Obama or Clinton? Clinton or Obama? Now, that's a Hobson's choice.) This, in turn, gives an opening to one of the three leading Repub presidential candidates, last heard practically demanding the President promise military personnel "under no circumstances will you not get a paycheck." Bachmann could defend the interests of our fighting men and women and argue that as a Christian, she believes that a promise made is a promise to be kept. Sure, she will.

Michele Bachmann to the rescue!

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