When the extremes of both parties control the conversation, this is what we get. When popular media outlets take advantage of the situation for private gain, the problem is exacerbated. When the silent majority is content to vote for a perceived lesser of two evils, the status quo is maintained.
It is time to break the silence.
So the pension reform that affects other federal workers applies only to new hires. Hmmmmm?
Many pension plans in the private sector have gone belly up. What makes federal employees so special? Answer: The power of the government to tax and to borrow. We have been operating with a deficit, for some time, and our debt continues to balloon, but is that reason enough to break the contract with our veterans? I don’t think so. I would suggest a better plan would be to reform the system going forward.
IMO, the simplest fix would be for all federal pensions to be delayed until normal retirement age, in addition to requiring employees to contribute to their plans. For the military, I would suggest that only combat-related occupational specialties be eligible for pension benefits after a 20-year term, and only if they were actually deployed during a conflict. The way to reduce those costs, as well as the cost of disabled veterans, is to reduce the number of wars.
They ended the draft for the Vietnam War the year before I graduated high school. As a consequence, I did a lot of thinking about that war before it ended. I was vehemently opposed to the war, but would have had no choice but to report for duty had I been drafted. I was not angry with, or opposed to, soldiers. I was angry with my government. Although I later served almost five years in the Army, the war had a lasting impression.
We made a lot of mistakes during the Vietnam era, and one of the biggest was blaming soldiers for a war politicians created. Many of those protesting the war wrongly vented their anger toward soldiers as well as the government. Some people, even today, say that if soldiers refused to enlist, there could be no wars. Don’t kid yourself.
A strong military is required, but should be limited to self-defense. Military service is an honorable profession. The military is subject to civilian control, and unfortunately, the civilians that control our military are not always honorable.
As I observe Veterans Day this year, I am saddened that we still have troops fighting in Afghanistan after a decade of war. I am outraged that the only lessons our government learned from Vietnam were to avoid a draft and to call all our soldiers heroes.
In case you were not aware, the Obama administration recently wrapped up public hearings held around the country under the auspices of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. Independent delegations attended hearings in each location. They were heard, but were largely ignored until the final location where they were effectively told to be quiet.
While 4 of 10 Americans are registered independent or unaffiliated, we have no real voice, are taken for granted, and are largely ignored. That is changing, and with the current replay of the 2011 debt ceiling fiasco, this is a good opportunity to ask yourself a question. While we attempt to place blame on one party or the other (and I have an opinion in this particular instance), isn’t entrenched partisanship the real problem? Furthermore, do we not validate it by continuing to support a two-party system?
If we are not part of the solution, are we not part of the problem?
Do you like the GOP?
I do not like them. No siree!
I do not like them in the House,
where endlessly they whine and grouse.
And in the Senate, maddening,
they filibuster everything.
Don't like them on the internet,
or lying on my TV set.
I do not like them so far right,
I do not like that they're ALL white.
I do not like them when they wink.
It scares me when they try to think.
I do not like their budget cuts.
I do not like that they are nuts!
If they're the face of Uncle Sam,
then Uncle Sam don't give a damn!
They like Tea, and green money,
but why, oh why, don't they like me?
They will not help me keep my house.
They do not like my same-sex spouse.
They don't like any news but FOX,
or black folks at the ballot box.
They don't believe in warming air.
They REALLY hate Obamacare!
They sham and slam and send out spam.
So sure I am, it's all a scam.
It's all for them, but none for me.
I do NOT like the GOP.
~ Ed Zelnis
- Florida State University
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