Dunkin, Southern Style

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Reforming Military Pensions

Check out this article in regard to my earlier post “Military Waste” (below) and the possibility of reforming military pensions.
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Who Knew Al Sharpton Could be a Comedian?

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The Perry Possibility

So the Republican race for president finally seems to be heating up now that Rick Perry has joined and snoozer Tim Pawlenty has quit. Rasmussen released a poll today showing that Perry has skyrocketed past Mitt Romney 29% to 18% in the few days he has officially been in the race.

Most know that I’m a big Mitt Romney fan and I think he’d make a great president. So, what do I think about the emergence of this serious challenger? I’m intrigued by Perry. On the one hand, he’s the ultimate politician, which I generally don’t like. If one could win shaking hands and kissing babies, it would be Perry. But on the other, he’s been governor for over a decade, with mostly successful results. He espouses conservative positions, even though he endorsed Rudy Giuliani in 2008 and Al Gore back in the late 1980s. And he seems like a human character.

But, what I like most about Perry is his energy and refusal to apologize for his political opinions. He shows unending enthusiasm and optimism, while beaming with seemingly genuine pride in America and all it stands for. These are traits we haven’t seen in the White House for quite some time. Watching his announcement speech in South Carolina on Saturday, I could almost feel the positive aura in the room from the Red State convention.

Perry has already stirred some trouble with his freewheeling comments,
even among Republicans. He recently stated that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke would be beat up if he visited Texas after printing more money. However, after eight years of George W. Bush letting the media and his adversaries walk all over him, I’m ready for a president that speaks his mind and refuses to back down on his principles.

As the primary season begins, I look forward to seeing how Governor Perry performs under the spotlight- or should I say microscope- of a national election. In the mean time, I’m still with Romney.
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Military Waste

Many Republicans are up in arms over military spending cuts that were part of the debt ceiling bargain passed yesterday. Even some so-called tea-partiers are upset. Anytime anyone, especially a Democrat, mentions cutting defense spending, opposition is instantaneous and the opponent is painted as a dove or anti-American. These folks might as well move to some peaceful northern European country, wear Birkenstocks, and sing Kumbaya.

This is a shame. Any true conservative should be willing to look in all places for waste and fraud, no matter how important or noble the institution. This is especially true given the fact that government and government contractors play such a role in the military- two groups all too familiar with waste and abuse. You can be fiscally responsible with the military without being anti-troop.

I challenge any of these conservatives to step on a base and look around for waste. It won’t take them very long. From retired service members having cushy, relatively well-paid jobs on base that don’t accomplish much to the 42” flat screen TV’s that our classroom building has affixed to the walls of every room, even though they’re not hooked up or even wired. They’re literally just wall ornaments. And these are just the simple, obvious items of waste that exist on every military base across the country.

Addressing this spending would be an admirable first step. However, the real elephant in the room is military pay and benefits. No sane politician would touch these with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole. But, they must be examined in these tough fiscal times. Some servicemen are as bad as the most diehard union employee when it comes to playing the benefits game, whether they’re deserved or not.

Thought should be given to how the military pays for housing and per diem costs, where government rates effectively determine the local housing markets. Landlords and businesses simply charge the maximum rate Uncle Sam is willing to pay. Or what about pensions? Is it really feasible/morally right for someone to magically gain a full retirement pension after 20 years and retire at age 38? Why not a sliding pension scale or a 401k plan? What about supplying gear more like the private sector? The military has some of the crappiest, most out-dated equipment that it pays ridiculous amounts of money for because of bureaucracy and the fact that all the manufacturers like Boeing and Northrop Grumman are stacked with former high-ranking servicemen.

Conservatives, you’re seriously telling me that you can’t find a little to cut here?

Admittedly, these are controversial opinions and many of those around me here in NC vehemently disagree. And I might not even feel comfortable blogging about this stuff if I wasn’t part of the system, for fear of being labeled as anti-military. Who wants to be called that? I don’t. Politicians don’t want to either. But, if America is going to be serious about being fiscally responsible, politicians need to strengthen their spine and take up the subject. Americans will listen to the truth if you come prepared to battle the uproar with facts.
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I'm Officially a Kindler

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