Incredibly, the lead negotiators for the House GOP have just agreed that the only group deserving budget punishment in the new spending deal is the career military. It is an obscene deal, one made worse by a patently cynical attempt to hide the blow to the military by "restoring" cuts to the pensions of wounded veterans. A vote for this betrayal of the military will haunt every Republican who supports it.
When the first outlines of the budget "deal" emerged late last year, I counseled caution as the final details could change. I had assumed sane people who remind the House GOP that spending discipline shouldn't begin and end with hammer blows to the career military that has been at war for more than a dozen years.
I figured the details would change and the military would emerge if not saluted for their service, then at least not punished for it.
In fact, to repeat: The only serious cut in the entire deal is aimed at active duty and retired career military, with a small change made from the round outline one to assist disabled veterans supposed to serve as cover for the Members of Congress who vote for this. This looks like a slick, cynical attempt to hide the huge impact of the bill on the career military, thus using the disabled veterans as cover for their friends and colleagues of two decades who emerged from the wars not disabled or wounded. This deeply cynical move makes disgust with the "deal" deeper, not less.
I would have had no objection to a spending plan that called on everyone to sacrifice, that reformed all COLAs, that means-tested wealthy recipients of Medicare and which ended the absurd, obscene subsidy net that supports everything from NPR to Amtrack.
But support for a spending bill that blows through agreed upon sequester caps and slops out great new mounds of spending of borrowed dollars on all sorts of hands-out to special interests while cutting the retirement benefits of 20+ year career military is shameful.
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