(PHOTO CREDIT: AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
As our government plans to extend tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, they're also proposing the lowest pay raise for the military in almost 50 years.
You heard right. As our servicemen and women return to the battlefield for their third or fourth tours of duty, the people who represent us think it's a good time to cut corners there. Extend tax breaks for millionaires and the middle finger for the armed forces.
The Obama administration has proposed a 1.4 percent pay raise for the military in 2011 – the lowest since 1962, when they got no raise.
The administration claims a 1.4 percent raise would match the average for the private sector, and they say it's on top of other increases in housing and food subsidies.
But many in the military aren't buying it. And it's easy to see where they're coming from when rich Americans will be saving billions in tax breaks.
One Marine Corps sergeant who just got back from his fourth deployment in Afghanistan calls it "absolute garbage."
He asks USA Today how the government can bail out the auto industry and other major corporations, yet not give a larger pay raise to those putting their lives on the line for the U.S.
Some senators want to give bonuses to troops doing the most fighting. And an organization representing 32 military groups is pushing for a 1.9 percent pay raise.
It's estimated that an increase from 1.4 to 1.9 percent would cost taxpayers $350 million next year – compare that to the tax break deal which some say will cost $900 billion.
Here’s my question to you: In light of the economy, do members of the military deserve the lowest pay raise in nearly 50 years?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Our Congress should visit Walter Reed or Brooke Army Medical to see our wounded warriors fight to reclaim their lives. Many other warriors suffer less visible wounds with tortured memories of their ordeal. The tax money the Republicans chose to direct toward the wealthy would have nicely assisted these heroes and their families. I suppose the GOP considers it more important to help the rich upgrade their Lexus than help a soldier buy a mini-van.
Ed in Texas writes:
A soldier in Iraq carries 45 pounds of gear in 119 degree heat and has seconds to determine if the car speeding towards him carries an expectant mother to the hospital or a suicide bomber. For that, he gets a 1.4 to 1.9% pay raise? A Wall Street banker's bad bets are covered by the U. S. taxpayer and he gets a million dollar bonus? The concept of "risk/reward" has been turned on its head.
Active duty here. I am willing to forgo a pay raise to help the country. Yes, I know we are fighting two wars, but for those of us who deploy, we get additional pay for this effort, sometimes up to 50% of our pay.
As a veteran, I hate to say it, but pay raises for the military are tied to inflation. And, with the poor economy inflation is only a bit over one percent so a 1.5% raise is correct. The only reason the millionaire tax cuts look like they will be extended is because the Republicans ended the extension of unemployment insurance this month just in time for Christmas and refused to move on ANYTHING until they got their way.
No, sir. It is a big joke and slap in the face. I don't know anyone personally in the military. I'm American Muslim (non-practicing) and I think this is ridiculous. Our country is prioritizing all the wrong things and it is continuing to get worse.
Jack, It is unbelievable. My son is currently on his 6th deployment. He was in the initial invasion, 2 more trips to Iraq, and now the 3rd to Afghanistan. He got out of the Marines after his first hitch, but could not find work, so he re-upped for four more years. Talk about tough choices: jobless or target. And now 1.9% increase. What an insult.