Budget Proposals a Poor Arithmetic Lesson

math problem

Higher out-of-pocket costs + reduced benefits = unfair burdens carried by military families.

On April 9, the Military Personnel subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) held a hearing to allow beneficiary and advocacy groups to voice their concerns about the President’s FY15 budget. Oral testimony heard that day was limited to just two panelists, but the subcommittee will review all written testimony submitted, including ours


The Senate held a similar hearing, giving the House a chance to offer their perspective on the FY15 budget. Described by one subcommittee member as a ‘poor arithmetic lesson,’ the hearing featured panelists who pointed out that sequestration puts a lop-sided responsibility on the Department of the Defense (DoD) to balance the budget. And as a result, DoD has been making budget decisions solely on numbers, causing military families to bear the brunt of the costs.

Cost-Shifting Doesn’t Equal Cost-Saving

Military families are not fooled. The FY15 budget proposals shift costs from DoD, directly to service members and their families. The proposals are NOT cost-savings measures; rather they require service members and their families to pay for essential benefits and services that have been promised to them.

While the overall impact of the proposals will vary from family to family, The Military Coalition representative Col. Mike Hayden, USAF (Ret.) estimates an E5 with a family of four will lose $5,000 a year in purchasing power. For an O3 with a family of four, the loss would be $6,000 a year.

Measure Twice, Cut Once… or Not at All

Subcommittee members and panelists alike both emphasized the importance of waiting for the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) to finish their report. The MCRMC was charged with looking at the total benefits and compensation package. The FY15 budget’s piecemeal approach of cutting things here and there doesn’t include the MCRMC’s findings. We need comprehensive solutions to address DoD’s budget shortfalls, not cost-shifting measures that take money and benefits away from military families.

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Comment: Military families, including enlisted personnel, should not bear ALL the burden of budget cuts. Equipment used by enlisted personnel needs to be of excellent quality and not overpriced. Supporting the profits of people and companies is not the business of DoD.
Submitted by: on April 29, 2014
Comment: Agreed. The measures proposed would carry the cost to the service members/retiree and their families. The less the pay of the member/ retiree, the greater the burden. Lowering benefits for commissary, charging for health care all cost us from an ever decreasing family budget. Right now we look at buying food or seeing a doctor and often have internal debates. I live on half a pension right now. Thanks to the taxing nature of this decades long war, my children and I have suffered great loss, both economically and the loss of a soldier, who while not killed, went into despair and madness, abandoning and harassing family. We had no recourse unlike star families. We were subject to harassment to try and save that pension and health care. We suffered great emotional upheaval without benefits of special programs, camps or other opportunities. Frequently to access benefits I'm asked for a dd 214, penalizing the family as we can't produce one and the retirees won't give that. Many many issues come up with the cuts in funding and it becomes tomorrow's problems. Invest in today's for a brighter tomorrow.
Submitted by: Family of 3 on April 29, 2014
Comment: My spouse is an E5 and we can hardly afford food some weeks. We have WIC for our children and will lose that in 6 months because of their age. We budget every penny we spend. A $5,000 cut to our annual budget would break us and put us below poverty level. It's no longer beneficial to be here. The cost is too high. My husband's life is at risk and I don't take that lightly. He may just be a warm body to some of you but he is a husband, a son, a daddy, and a darn good man and soldier. He is worth more than this.
Submitted by: Jacqueline on April 19, 2014

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