Re: “Specter of big defense cuts prompts big worries” (TNT, 9-25).
Federal Transfer Funds (FTF) – monies entering the state to pay for federal commitments – represent a good portion of the economy of Washington state due to its several military installations and large military retiree population.
In the 2010 fiscal year, $3.737 billion was paid to fulfill commitments to 70,983 military retirees, their dependents and 8,373 retiree widows in this state. More than $1 billion of this is retiree retention pay. With most of this spent in the state boosting businesses, creating new jobs and reducing unemployment, it has a major impact on the state’s economic well-being.
The state will suffer a huge decrease in FTF with the proposed cutbacks in the defense budget. The proposed revamping of the military retirement system to an IRA-type retirement over time would negatively affect the state’s economy by billions of dollars plus military retiree retention pay now entering the state each year. Every facet of the state’s economy will be negatively affected.
This “penny wise, pound foolish” proposal will cost the Defense Department more in recruiting/training costs as it must continually recruit and train new troops to replace the trained career troops who will leave the service in droves as they refuse to put their lives on the line without the added incentives of the present retirement system.
The politicians are forgetting that the preamble to the Constitution requires the government to provide for the common defense of the United States. It can’t be done by shorting our career military.