Sunday, January 15, 2012

Did Congress Steal Money from the Military Pension Trust Fund?

Sailors whose contracts have been broken, through recent decisions made by the Enlisted Retention Board, voice concerns that the entire process could have been handled differently and that their dismissal is not so much about over-manned jobs but in cutting back on benefits for those veterans who have earned them through years of sacrifice and dedication. 

Most sailors remain anonymous, while voicing their concerns on hundreds of blogs, forums and news outlets.
This ERB process is affecting the morale of everyone in the Navy and all are questioning their roles in the military. It has become painfully clear that this is only about saving on retirement by cutting out those who are intending to continue to make the Navy a career and retire with full benefits.
There may be truth in this. Two years ago, PR Newswire reported:

As of January 1, 2010, the amount of money owed to federal civilian and military pension trust funds passed the $1 trillion mark as Congress continues to loot all of the federal government's trust funds to pay for deficit spending.  More money is now owed by the federal government to these two funds than what is owed to China.

"In the future, little kids in kindergarten and their children will have to repay these funds," stated William H. Fruth, founder of the 10 Amendments for Freedom. "Those responsible for creating this massive, unconscionable debt will be dead and gone, not able to hear the howling curses directed toward them by those who will have to pay in the future," Fruth continued.

For the first three months of the 2010 fiscal year (October, November, and December), Congress borrowed more than $400 billion to pay for its deficits. Of this amount, Congress spent more than $65 billion of the money which is supposed to be in federal government workers' retirement funds.

A trust fund is like a savings account. Money is deposited into the fund to be spent another day, when it is needed. The Social Security Trust Fund is the best-known. However, Congress has spent all of the savings in all of its trust funds.

As of January 1, 2010, Congress had "borrowed" $295,792,000,000 from the Military Retirement Trust Fund. That's almost Three Hundred Billion. Imagine how much is missing two years later. At that time the Total National Debt was more than $12 Trillion, according to the U.S. Treasury.

According to the PR Newswire report, dated Feb 16, 2010:
Each month federal workers and the federal government make a deposit into retirement funds which are to be drawn upon when workers retire. However, Congress has spent all of the money in the Federal Civilian and Military Retirement Funds to pay for deficits. More than $1 trillion is now owed to just these two funds...
The 10 Amendments for Freedom is a movement to add ten specific amendments to the Constitution by way of an Article V. convention. Amendment One, Balanced Budget, will prevent Congress from spending the money in its funds and trusts.

For more information regarding the 10 Amendments for Freedom, go to
According to NBC Sports:
...the Colts owe Peyton Manning another $28 million in early 2012.  Last month, Peter King pointed out during Football Night In America that the money comes due before the start of the 2012 league year.

That’s significant because it means that the Colts can’t trade Manning to a new team before the payment comes due. But that hasn’t completely put to rest speculation that the Colts will pay Peyton and then, once the league year begins, attempt to trade him.  Bob Kravitz’s latest item on the situation should completely put that speculation to rest.
I mention this, because this seems similar to what the Navy may be doing. It seems the Navy is replacing experienced, skilled, career-minded Navy personnel with younger, unproven sailors who have not yet shown their leadership qualities.

The article continues:
Kravitz, who covers the Colts for the Indianapolis Star, points out that, if the Colts pay Peyton and then trade him, the Colts will absorb a 2012 salary cap charge of $38.8 million.  And if the Colts trade Peyton Manning in 2013, the cap charge would drop to only $28.8 million.

Absent a willingness by Peyton to move the due date of his payment, a trade becomes impossible.  Thus, if Peyton tells the Colts “my contract is my contract,” they’ll have to cut him, or they’ll have to keep him for at least two more seasons. Although Peyton adroitly has avoided any discussion regarding the future, plans undoubtedly are being made.  There’s a good chance that the final plan already has been crafted, and that the only thing left to do is implement it.

If that’s the case, Archie Manning’s comments from Tuesday become even more significant.  Given that Archie caucused with Oliver Luck the night before Archie told FOX Sports Radio that he “doubts” Peyton and Andrew Luck want to be on the same team, it’s safe to assume that Oliver agrees with that sentiment.
 If you search online for “Navy ERB” you will find many forums where you can read the angst and anger from sailors and their families. Some of these sites were set up by Navy officials as a way to gauge the atmosphere of the personnel affected by the decision to downsize the Navy. They provide many statements, but few answers to sailors' questions, primarily "Why me?" and "Why not that other guy?"

You will find news reports attempting to link one sailor’s suicide with the news that he had been “let go,” and you will find two petitions requesting signatures due by Jan. 17, 2012 requesting our nation's Commander in Chief review the ERB process.

Linked directly to the White House, this petition is extremely time sensitive and vital to show support to our active-duty sailors. The petition on is also provided by Sailors Against ERB, a site on Facebook that offers support and an outlet for the families and sailors who are grappling with a forced life change.

Sailors Against ERB was created to contact sailors affected by the ERB. The information states:
These sailors have held up their end up the contract and the government needs to do the same. These sailors need to have a voice and hopefully if it is loud enough, they will be heard!
Anyone wishing to write their Representatives  can find them here and those wishing to write their Senators can do so by clicking the link.

Time is of the essence. Be brief. Copy and paste, if you'd like:

I urge you to consider a review of the Navy's Enlistment Retention Board's recent decision to dismiss 2,947 sailors in a breach of contract that, were it reversed, could end in disciplinary action toward the enlisted personnel. Perhaps a more egalitarian process would involve requesting volunteers who want to separate with a severance package, ending new recruits in the over-manned areas, allowing sailors to cross-rate and granting retirement benefits to those sailors who have served and sacrificed for our country. Many sailors who have been dismissed are decorated veterans who, were they allowed to serve out the remainder of their contracts, would retire from the Navy they love. Who will lead the new recruits if not these old salts?