Military retirees must share in fiscal sacrifice

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Regarding the Jan. 5 news article “To Younger Vets, Pension Cuts Break a Promise,” I write to express the view of those of us who are not outraged or otherwise feeling victimized by Congress’ plan to limit cost-of-living raises to retired veterans below age 62. Since no one wants a cut in income in such difficult times, I understand Army Lt. Col. Stephen Preston’s concern.

However, as a retired service member myself, I don’t share Lt. Col. Preston’s anger. I will presume to speak for other like-minded retirees who appreciate that the fiscal condition of our country is not good. If Congress and the president do not take action to limit spending — and do it soon — experts predict we will be in far worse shape in the future.

The sacrifice we veterans are being asked to make is small. In Lt. Col. Preston’s case, instead of a cost-of-living increase of $825 for 2014, he would get a raise of only about $275 — a sacrifice more symbolic than substantive for most of us. If, as Sen. Lindsey Graham states in his opposition to the plan, fiscal reform must be implemented throughout the federal entitlement system in order to be effective, then let it begin with us.

We have been allowed the honor of serving our country in uniform. We, who were prepared to sacrifice for our nation when the stakes were much higher than the few dollars at issue here, are prepared, once again, to lead the fight against a more insidious but equally dangerous enemy.

LEONARD A. LaFORGIA
Lieutenant Colonel
U.S. Air Force (Retired)
South Side


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