Thursday, December 19, 2013

Shattered Trust: The Morality of a Promise

Ok, so let's say you're in the military.

You ponder getting out to offer stability to your young family. The government really wants you to make defending your nation a career in order to foster continuity and provide experience through the ranks. They make promises so that you'll stay. Knowing there will be much family separation, unknowns, danger, possible disfigurement, mental anguish, or death, you stay. 

Then, through the years, politicians begin to default on their promises.

"We know we promised lifetime medical care to you and your family members, but we have to take that away now."

Wow. That's a tough pill to swallow. 

But, ok. Budget in, budget out. You get that. Government has overspent and is trying to make things right now. It's going to hurt. Everyone will have to sacrifice. Financial responsibility - it's the right thing to do.

But as the years pass, you start scratching your head. Congressional members continue to get pay raises. That same Congress insulates and protects itself by excluding its members from purchasing the same national health insurance that the rest of Americans have to buy. They won't have to pay the penalties/taxes/fees (whichever term whichever court deems is correct for the day) either? An unfunded Medicaid system continues to expand. The food stamp program grows beyond our wildest dreams.

What is happening? I thought we all had to give?
Then, the Ryan-Murray budget comes along.  

"You know what, military veterans? It's time for you to sacrifice again. We know we made you a promise, but it's for the good of the nation."

"No, we can't just reduce the pensions of future retirees, the men and women who can choose to leave or stay based on the changes we have to make. We have to break another promise."

I'm not speaking out because of money…
though as much as 20% of a promised retirement pension is significant, 
over time it is manageable.

I'm speaking out on behalf of morality.

This. Is. Wrong. 

If we are in such a mess that the government has to repeatedly renege on promises made to veterans (think the collapse of the USSR), then there are many other things that should go, too.


Let that sink in for a moment.

This "savings" on the backs of veterans will provide our government not even a drop in the bucket in relation to the size of the hole we are in.

What is next on the veteran chopping block? I don't know, but I do know they'll be first up.

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