Can You Count on a Military Pension?
“patriotism… bought and paid for, is not patriotism.”
President Calvin Coolidge (pictured), during a compensation package for WW1 veterans
Is a US military pension something you can count on over the next twenty or thirty years?
I don’t think so.
Pensions are a debt like any other, as a court decision during Detroit’s recent bankruptcy trial recently stated. That trial maintained that pensions don’t receive special protections during insolvency. Translation: it’s possible for motivated government’s to shed pension obligations that grow too onerous.
Will the Federal Government do that?
If history serves as a guide, it’s probable. The US government’s track record on military pensions is pretty terrible.
It’s a record that starts with the founding of the country…
In 1781, the US Congress demobilized the Continental Army (the forerunner of the US Army) without paying the soldiers as promised.
1783, four hundred veterans, marched on the capital (then in Philadelphia) to demand their pay from their wartime service.
The Governor of Pennsylvania, a former militiaman that was sympathetic to their cause, decided not to stop the protesters.
So, still unwilling to provide restitution to the veterans and in fear for their safety, Congress fled to Princeton, New Jersey.
NOTE: Pennsylvania’s lack of action is the reason the federal government is located in DC. The District of Columbia is under federal control, which means the US military can be used against protesters without pesky restrictions imposed by states.
We’ve seen similar situations develop over the years, whenever the US government was pressed for funds.
Worse, we are living during a period of time when our government is deeply corrupt (corporate free speech? and a monstrous financial crisis occurs w/o anyone going to jail?).
In an environment like that, how long do you think it will it take the beltway bandits willing to buy influence, to raid the $50 billion the government sends to retirees and their survivors?
I’m not holding out much hope over the long term that any US government pension (or subsidy) will survive intact.
If that’s the case, it’s important to secure an American dream based on a new basis. Make sure you are ready by adding new streams of income (one of the big ideas behind HomeFree) when times are still good. That income might become the difference between achieving the American Dream or not, over the long term.
Think long term. Many of the assumptions you are basing your future on today, won’t survive the future.