portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary united states

government

NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR 2004

As a voter and as a disabled military retiree, I urge you in the strongest way to resist pressure from the House leadership and George W. Bush, or whoever is his lackey this week.
This letter was also sent to:
Senator Nelson
Representative Bilirakis


July 21, 2003

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
YEAR!. NOTHING ELSE IS ACCEPTABLE!

Respectfully,
Retired Military disabled Veterans 16.Oct.2003 11:13

John C. Stanton

As I travel around this great nation speaking to our veterans. I always hear mostly the same stories. The people leading this country do not give a hoot about the veteran. It seems this is the case under the current leadership. The veterans blame the Secretary of Defense for his hard stance against the veteran. We as Americans need to get our priorities straight, and remember freedom is not free. We sacrificed so much to make this nation great. We also must remember that as long as we continue to vote the "anti veteran" scoundrels back in office we are to blame. We as veterans, must keep up the pressure, and see to it that money is found to fund our VA healthcare, and to insure that our retired military disabled veterans receive the retired pay as earned, along with any VA pension due them.