From today’s Air Force Magazine online:
Congress Restores COLA Increases
The Senate voted 95-3 on Wednesday to restore full cost-of-living pension increases for working-age military retirees. The vote comes one day after the House approved the measure with a vote of 326-90. President Barack Obama has said he will sign the bill, reported ABC News via The Associated Press. The controversial measure, which was expected to save the government $6 billion over 10 years, was included in the bipartisan budget agreement approved in December 2013. Republicans in the House paid for the restored retirement pay by extending cuts to Medicare. The Senate bill maintained the Medicare cuts. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, who last week criticized colleagues for seeking to overturn the cuts, said taking Medicare funds to pay for the COLA funds was a “shell game,” and that rising personnel costs are a real long-term problem that will affect the Defense Department’s ability to maintain readiness.
Now, I’m sure that my retired Air Force friends feel fully justified in getting their COLA restored, but I use this as an example of why printing money becomes irresistible and almost ensures hyperinflation. (I certainly hope I am wrong.) The military has a powerful lobby to keep its funding flowing, but so do many, many other recipients of government spending. Just as the COLA cuts were restored, I predict that there will be few real cuts to military expenditures, especially given the fact that our leaders feel that the US has a God-given right to intervene anywhere in the world. Patrick Barron