Obama took time out from his golf game in Palm Springs, in one of the redoubts where he still maintains a positive approval rating, to sign both a bill to increase the federal debt limit and a separate bill to restore cuts to veteran pensions.
The cuts, laid out in the budget compromise of last December, would have annual increases to all pensions for
retired veterans under the age of 62 reduced to one percent below the inflation
rate. Those who defended the cuts said that it was in an area to
demonstrate that the federal budget must be brought under control.
Considering that the budget has sky-rocketed since Obama came to power, this is
a novel approach for the Democrats.
Though it would definitely leave a mark in retirees'
income – a retired Army Sergeant First Class (E-7), for example, would lose
some $72,000 on average – the federal budget would save some $7 billion over
the next ten years. It wasn't long ago that $7 billion was a respectable amount, but considering the enormous spike in federal spending under Obama, it
was a miniscule effort to ensure that Democrats could make a claim of being
Any threat to trimming the budget is met by Democrats as
a cut in services despite the fact that total funding always eventually
increases – so that a lower rate of increase is characterized as a
"cut". For this reason Democrats have taken Republicans to task
for being hypocritical, but in this case, the cut was specified as lower than
the inflation rate, making it an actual decrease in the value of the pension
Of course the cruelest cut was that it was only the
military pensions that were affected; federal civilian pensions were not
part of this "shared sacrifice". This was the first time that
this ploy had been tried since the Carter administration.
As if on cue, we learn that the use of food stamps (in their modern incarnation) has not only greatly increased under Obama but their use by military families has almost doubled. It is bad enough that the administration is steadfast in its march to have more and more Americans dependent on government largess. It was Thomas Jefferson who said, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and for government to gain ground;" which leads to his attribution of "Any government powerful enough to give the people all they want is also powerful enough to take from the people all that they have."
As for those who defend our nation at peril of their lives as well as the more pervasive sacrifices such as prolonged family absences (and what about that "income inequality" meme du jour?), Pete Hegseth of the Concerned Veterans of America said, "It's not what this country should be giving back to those who have given so much."