On March 30, the White House signaled its support for the controversial changes to military retirement and health care systems, but the president stopped short of endorsing the 15 recommendations from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission.
The recommendations could reduce military pensions by 20%, create investment accounts for all troops, and call for the end of Tricare as it exists now. In place of Tricare, families and troops would be offered insurance policies comparable those offered to civilians, reports Military Times reporter Andrew Tilghman. Additionally, the changes would allow the military to offer retirement benefits to those who serve less than 20 years, and the Defense Department would offer to match troops’ own retirement savings up to 5% of basic pay.
"I believe the recommendations are an important step forward in protecting the long-term viability of the all-volunteer force, improving quality-of-life for service members and their families, and ensuring the fiscal sustainability of the military compensation and retirement systems," Obama wrote in a letter to the compensation commission.
President Donald Trump hands a pen to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie during a spending bill signing ceremony at VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Associated Press/Evan Vucci)
The Trump administration wants to shift billions of dollars from government-run veterans' hospitals to private health care providers. That's true even though earlier this year the administration vehemently denied it would privatize any part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The privatization of essential government services is nothing new, of course. Over the years, countries have privatized dozens of services and activities that were once the sole domain of governments, such as the provision of electricity and water, road operations and prisons and even health care, with the ostensible aim of making them more efficient.
But before going down that road, the question needs to be asked whether privatizing essential human services such as those for military veterans serves the public interest. New research we recently published suggests that privatization may come at a social cost.
The Coast Guard is officially shit outta luck for a paycheck thanks to the government shutdown, which means that zero coasties have been paid to create some of the amazing memes being shared as a way to vent their frustration.