The guy who makes their coffee is worth more than the guy who protects their freedom . . .

. . . or so say the editors of The New York Times. From Robert Stacey Stacy McCain:

Ask NY Times Who Deserves More Pay: America’s Troops or Fast-Food Workers?
Posted on | December 2, 2013 | 7 Comments

In an editorial Sunday, the New York York Times argued that America’s troops are being paid too much:

Big-ticket weapons like aircraft carriers and the F-35 fighter jet have to be part of any conversation about cutting Pentagon spending to satisfy the mandatory budget reductions known as the sequester. But compensation for military personnel has to be on the table, too . . .

[T]he Pentagon is obliged to find nearly $1 trillion in savings over 10 years. Tough choices will be required in all parts of the budget. Compensation includes pay, retirement benefits, health care and housing allowances.

Got that, troops? “Tough choices,” your compensation is “on the table,” because defending your nation isn’t really anything special.

On the other hand, says New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, something must be done for America’s real heroes, retail clerks:

The last few decades have been tough for many American workers, but especially hard on those employed in retail trade — a category that includes both the sales clerks at your local Walmart and the staff at your local McDonald’s. Despite the lingering effects of the financial crisis, America is a much richer country than it was 40 years ago. But the inflation-adjusted wages of nonsupervisory workers in retail trade — who weren’t particularly well paid to begin with — have fallen almost 30 percent since 1973.

So can anything be done to help these workers, many of whom depend on food stamps — if they can get them — to feed their families, and who depend on Medicaid — again, if they can get it — to provide essential health care? Yes. We can preserve and expand food stamps, not slash the program the way Republicans want. We can make health reform work, despite right-wing efforts to undermine the program.

And we can raise the minimum wage.

The slack-jawed teenager serving french fries and the hipster grad student serving latte at your local Starbucks — we must increase their pay, says the New York Times, whereas the men and women who take an oath to serve their nation . . . “Tough choices.”

More at Mr McCain’s original, as well as at his internal links; it should be noted here that both Mr McCain and your Editor have children in the United States Army.

We noted, last year, an article by Cathy Fiano Chesser, concerning why she and her family passed up on enrolling in WIC, the Women, Infants and Children program. She noted that her family would have qualified for it, and that almost every military family she knows is enrolled. Mrs Chesser’s husband is a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, so he isn’t a new recruit.

Why, I have to ask, are the editors of The New York Times so eager to cut the pay and benefits of the men and women who put their lives on the line, even though so many of them actually qualify for welfare, but are insistent that we force a pay raise for the baristi who serve their lattes at Starbucks?

Here’s the part of the Times’ article that really gets me:

Military retirees pay only a fraction of what civilians pay for health care premiums, and those with second careers often choose to stay on the government plan. It makes sense that they be asked to assume a greater share.

Considering what our soldiers volunteer to do, which involves having their lives uprooted, their wives’ careers disrupted, to have to move at a moment’s notice, and sometimes put their lives on the line, I think that they already have “assume(d) a greater share.”


  1. I don’t think there’s any point in citing the NY Times. The poop on my used toilet paper has more value than the garbage they print on their pages.

  2. With a hat tip to His Wombatness:

    Pentagon floats plan to close US commissaries
    By Justin Fishel, Jennifer Griffin | Published December 02, 2013 |

    The Pentagon is floating a controversial plan to close all U.S.-based commissaries in 2015 as part of a massive cost-saving effort after more than a decade of war.

    The commissaries are grocery stores that offer food and other necessities at a discount to members of the military, their families and veterans. But as Congress tightens the purse strings, the stores could get caught in the budget battle.

    Budget cutters say they don’t yet know how much money the plan would save, but there are 178 commissaries in the United States — and 70 overseas — which receive a total of $1.4 billion in government funds.

    The Defense Commissary Agency, responsible for administering all commissaries worldwide, says military families and retirees save an average of more than 30 percent on their grocery bills compared with those who shop at regular retail stores. The agency says those savings amount to thousands of dollars annually per family.

    But families could also lose jobs if the stores close. Thirty percent of the employees at the commissaries are military spouses. The director of the Defense Commissary Agency says that they have already cut their budget by $700 million since 1993.

    In other words, the DoD is thinking about a proposal which would eliminate something which helps servicemen and their families stretch their already-too-low pay a bit further, making them poorer in real terms.

    This is not a realistic proposal, but simply a means by which the Obama Administration is going to put pressure on the Congress to end the sequester, because the Democrats want to spend more on domestic programs. They ratchet up pressure on things they know will bother the Republicans in order to get more dollars t spend on things that the Democrats want.

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