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Concurrent Receipt

Do not water down the Senate amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act regarding Restoration of Retired Pay to Disabled Military Retirees.
As a voter and as a disabled military retiree, I urge you in the strongest way to resist pressure from the House leadership and the White House to reject or water down the Senate amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act regarding Restoration of Retired Pay to Disabled Military Retirees. This legislation has been introduced for many years
and has had apparent overwhelming support in both houses of Congress.

The Administration claims that it is too costly, however, that does not consider that this is pay that has been earned through long years of hardship while serving this country and all its citizens. It is not our fault we became ill or injured while performing that service. If it were, we would not be entitled to VA disability compensation in the first place. The previous, miserable efforts to award miniscule amounts to extremely small percentages of disabled retirees do not address the real problem at all. That is that none of us should be forced to give up any part of our earned retirement just because we were unfortunate enough to become
disabled during our military service. These measures are not working at all and do nothing but cost the government money without providing any service or benefit.

If the Congress and the Administration can find $31 billion in foreign aid to countries which, in many cases, wish nothing but ill for the United States and $15 billion to teach Africans to use condoms and many other foolish and wasteful programs, then you can certainly find the money to pay disabled military retirees the money they have earned. Then there are the hundreds of billions estimated to be required to rebuild Afghanistan and Iraq and the nearly two TRILLION dollar tax breaks for mostly the wealthy. I recently computed some numbers regarding the dividend tax exemption the President wanted. Do you realize that, according to the
figures I was able to locate, it would take an average investment of $650,000 in dividend paying stocks to obtain $5,000 in dividends? The argument that normal people have retirement savings of that size is ludicrous. The average American has much less than 10% of that amount in total investments, and the overwhelming majority who have stocks have them in IRA and 401(k) plans on which they don't pay taxes anyway until they begin drawing the money out, which means they are selling the stock.

Recently, the Department of Defense estimated that it is costing some $4 billion per month to remain in Iraq, where we are not wanted and where another American service member is killed on nearly a daily basis, some two months after the President stated the "war" was over. That means that each month we are squandering enough money to restore the retired pay to all disabled military retirees currently receiving VA disability compensation for a full year.

Veterans are watching very closely what is happening with this issue and others and, now as never before, we are organized. No military retiree I have heard of who was a staunch Republican is planning to vote for any Republican candidate in the coming elections unless our earned retirement pay is returned to us IN FULL. Personally, I was a Republican for 50 years (1952-2002) until the failure of the House of Representatives to right this egregious wrong last year. Now, I will do everything in my power to unseat everyone who participates in this shameful treatment of
those who have served honorably for so long and all my friends and family will do the same. We will not settle for partial measures or "phased in" measures. THERE MUST BE FULL REPEAL OF THE DISABLED VETERANS TAX THIS
Disabled Veterans Tax 30.Jul.2003 04:31

James J. Mongno jmongno25@comcast.net

I concur withs the author. The government has been discriminating against career military personnel for over 100 years by taking away earned retirement when a member is disabled in the line of duty. This standard is applied to no other federal employee and would generate a class action lawsuit in the civilian community. Unfortunately, when retired military personnel file a law suit for benefits promised but not delivered (Medical care), the Supreme Court says "Yep, the government lied to you but you will not be upheld in this court". As a retired career military man, 100% service connected disabled and a life long Republican, I'm disgusted with the lies and contempt that this administration has showered on disabled vets. "Out the door in 2004" sounds about right to this disabled vet.

I Don't Think America Knows 16.Aug.2003 07:41

JD Pendry jd.pendry@us.army.mil

The average American non-veteran isn't even aware of this issue. If we educate them, then maybe they'll ask the politicians to jsutify the inequity of the law.

I don't think America Knows:

That the people who spent their lives defending them as members of the United States Armed Forces are taxed at the 100% rate for compensation received for service incurred disabilities.
That this law, enacted in 1891 and originally intended to prevent military people from receiving disability payments while still on the active rolls, applies only to people who retired from military service. It doesn't apply to any other federal workers who receive their pensions plus disability compensation. It's not uncommon for a person to complete one term of service and receive more in disability compensation than a career enlisted soldier receives in his longevity pension. Yet, the retiree must forfeit dollar for dollar (a 100% tax) his pension when compensated for his disabilities.
That House Bill HR 303 will fix this injustice. That most of the members of the Republican led House of Representatives who are co-sponsors of the legislation will not let it come to a vote, showing us that they lack the personal courage to stand up for what they believe is right or want us to think they believe is right. They suffer either from a lack of courage or a lack of integrity, or both. They are, after all, politicians.
That the Department of Defense insists that the legislation will break the bank, when in fact the law automatically appropriates money each year to pay military retirement accounts. The general budget realizes a windfall each time a retiree is granted disability compensation then pays taxes on it at the 100% rate through a reduction in his retired pay. The Department of Defense loses nothing because the money appropriated for retirement accounts does not consider this return of money through the 100% disability tax. So, there's billions out there meant for military retired accounts that have found their way into other things - probably pork.