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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

It’s Time to Reform Lavish Military Pensions

Few consider the delayed price tag of a standing army.

Military spending is out of control, and if you pay attention to these issues, then that’s not news to you. But do you realize that the Department of Defense is the only major federal agency that hasn’t fulfilled a complete audit?

Where do all those tax dollars go?

There are accumulating costs that many do not consider beyond the weapons and wars, yet for those serious about cutting the Pentagon budget, government pensions must be part of the discussion:

The US military offers very generous pension benefits—after 20 years of service, members can retire with 50% of their final salary for the rest of their lives. Since that allows most to retire around age 40, the payouts may last for a very long time (and they are also adjusted for inflation).

In 2015, the US military paid out $57 billion in pension benefits (pdf) to more than 2 million veterans, or nearly 10% of its annual budget.

The mounting costs of a standing army predominate discussions about Pentagon spending, which is logical due to the US government’s continual interventions abroad, but few realize what the additional price tag looks like for taxpayers when military forces retire.

With thousands of US military members retiring in their 40s and receiving government pensions for decades to come, do you think the average American knows how many billions of tax dollars flow to these former government employees for not working?

The system won’t reform itself and must be challenged from the outside, because as long as the Pentagon implements its own reforms without an audit and maintains a global empire, the changes are not for the benefit of taxpayers, as the article at Quartz makes clear:

But the military pension reforms were well received, with more than half of service members in favor of them. No doubt that’s because for the bulk of the force, namely the 83% of enlisted soldiers who quit before their retirement benefits kick in, gain from the reforms.

Republished from The Libertarian Institute.

  • Jared Labell is the Executive Director of The Libertarian Institute as well as Taxpayers United of America.