IN YOUR Oct. 13 editorial “Pensions and health on the table’’ you support the idea that military pensions and health care costs should be brought closer in line with the rest of the public sector’s employees.
Military pay, pension, and health care costs have been established based on what is needed to attract and retain the people the military needs. In the mid-1980s, changes were made in military retirement benefits to save money, and a decade and a half later, they were reversed as the services could no longer attract and keep the people they needed.
Any discussion of compensation and benefits for members of the military in line with other public employees must also compare conditions of service. Compulsory war zone service is the ultimate of many differences. Some others are that service members are subject to uprooting their families to move every few years, extended separations from family, no overtime, and living under military regulations round the clock.
If we need a military that costs us as much as the rest of the world combined, and we do it with voluntary service, compensation must be adequate to attract volunteers to serve. There should be no consideration of cuts so that the people can continue to enjoy extremely low tax rates.
The writer is a retired Coast Guard captain.