Ruling Class Just Keeps Crapping on the Troops

Everything that’s wrong with our Ruling Class in two headlines:

Panetta to propose military pay cut…
Obama raised Joe Biden’s salary…

Sooner or later, it’s going to occur to the people with the guns that these people–the contemptible DC swine who subject them and their families to soul-crushing pressures for years at a time, pay them sub-poverty wages and keep cutting those wages, experiment on them, humiliate, impoverish, and exploit them–don’t have guns.

It would be interesting to see what Catholic teaching has to say about the concept of the military’s right to strike.

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  • Stu

    I don’t disagree with your overall sentiments.

    But I do wonder how much of this posturing to call off sequestration.

    • The Deuce

      Of course that’s what it is, but that doesn’t make it any better. In fact, I’d say that using the troops as hostages makes it worse.

      • Stu

        But it’s nothing new.

        I’ve been part of the drill. When asked the impact of budget cuts, we always put forward sacrifices that don’t make sense as a means of scaring Congress.

        I had my epiphany years ago while at Arlington. Both of my grandfathers are buried there. My close friends from the 9/11 attacks are buried there. My infant daughter is buried there and accordingly, one day I too will be buried there.

        I also grew up in that area and have always made it a point to visit the Unknown Soldier. This was important to my father and I guess is stuck. A few years ago as I was watching the changing of the guard and looking over the cemetery with the Capitol in the background, I reflected that I feel more allegiance to my fellow brothers in arms and my country than I do to the men and women who occupy the Capitol building or White House

        • S. Murphy

          I have one friend there – blown up by an IED in Afghanistan. Family in Baltimore suburbs. I was TAD to Quantico when he died, and mutual friends who happened to be in position to see PCRs let me know, so I found out in time to attend his funeral.

          I’d like to see congress take a pay cut; but I have no real problem with only getting a 1% pay raise, personally; but I’m at a rank where I feel like I’m stealing when my direct deposit hits, if I didn’t spend 12hrs a day at my desk and still PT every day. What I would do if I was managing the DOD budget, if I had to partially freeze pay, would be this: E1-E5 should get 5%, E6-E9, 3%, warrant officers 3% (they earned it, and there aren’t that many of them), O1-O3E 2% (some people still have college to pay for, and are just starting families); and freeze O4 and up, if it’s really necessary. And retired GO/FOs should get 50%, like everyone else. One of my senators is a Navy reservist, maybe I’ll write to him.

          • Stu

            You are correct in that in the great scheme of things, it’s not a big deal.

            But, you are not “stealing” in getting paid what you are paid. You earn it through sacrifice and I will assume performance as well. Now that I am on the “outside,” I see how the military stacks up in professionalism with the civilian world. I make no bones about giving preference to a man or woman who has been in the military, especially a Navy or USMC officer.

          • jollyroger

            Rather than cutting their pay- hit them where it really hurts- eliminate all of the insider trading and kickbacks that they make their fortunes off of- deals that would put you and me in jail-. Then you would see them howl!!!

            Honestly they make so much under the table- it amazes me that they have the chutzpah to give themselves a raise on their “legitimate income”.

  • Marthe Lépine

    I have seen a lot of things written about public servants in general and whether or not they should have the right to strike. It has been claimed that Leo XIII had been writing only about those workers that were being exploited in factories, mines, etc. by private companies, not people whose jobs meant that they had to serve the public. My opinion, as a former government employee and union officer, is that in fact public servants do need unions even more than private sectors workers, partly because they work for the employer that makes the laws and can change them at will. And to the opinion that public servants, such as teachers, for example, or public transit workers, etc. are holding the public hostage in order to gain too many advantages, I would reply that this is the other way around. It may well be that it is the government that is holding school children, or users of public transit, and other parts of the population, hostage in order to justify a lack of willingmess to negotiate in good faith.

    • Stu

      I would never support a professional soldier having a union.

    • The Deuce

      My opinion, as a former government employee and union officer, is that in fact public servants do need unions even more than private sectors workers, partly because they work for the employer that makes the laws and can change them at will.

      …and they also get to vote on that employer, unlike the millions of people employed by the private sector. And furthermore, their employer pays them with other peoples’ money, taken from them involuntarily, or with money that the employer prints, removing the incentive that most employers have not to overpay and send their company bankrupt, and making it impossible in principle for employees of the government to collectively bargain with the person(s) who is actually paying their salaries. And further-furthermore, we’ve seen how unionization tends to turn government employees into selfish, violent thugs, and that’s the last thing we want our military to be.

      • InsaneSanity

        This. There are many reasons why public sector workers should not be unionized. Look at the teachers unions – do you think they are putting the kids above themselves? Not!

        • Marthe Lépine

          Correction: My “Thanks a lot” comment was to The Deuce.
          And you, Insane Sanity, have not read my comment to the end: In the case of teachers unions, it’s the government’s or school boards or other that are not concerned about the kids and are holding them hostage, but a very well oiled propaganda aimed at destroying unions has convinced the public otherwise.

        • You Can’t Actually Be Serious

          Well, then I assume you support the right of all federal employees who live in DC, the right to organize. We don’t actually get to vote on the government.

      • Marthe Lépine

        Thanks a lot for the compliment in your last sentence, which also applies to my dad!
        It can be more correctly said that the general public is the real employer of public servants… and a lot of things I have read in the past few months does not give me a very good impression of the kind of employers those people are!

      • Marthe Lépine

        “…and they also get to vote on that employer, unlike the millions of people employed by the private sector”. Not quite correct: private sector workers are said to be able to vote with their feet: find another job. Of course it is easier said than done…

      • ivan_the_mad

        “we’ve seen how unionization tends to turn government employees into selfish, violent thugs” Shame on you for libelling a lot of decent folk. I’m not even a proponent of public unions, but that’s false and beyond the pale.

        • Marthe Lépine

          Thanks, Ivan. And people need to be reminded that those often reviled “public servants” include firefighters who risk their lives almost every day for you and me, emergency medical technicians, and lots of other people without whom our lives would be very much more difficult.

        • The Deuce

          “Shame on you for libelling a lot of decent folk”

          Please can the fake poutrage. We’ve all seen the behavior of the teachers unions during their protests in Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Michigan. I’ll believe my eyes over your indignation, thank you very much. It’s clear the unionization tends to encourage that sort of behavior, and our troops are the last people we want to place that sort of incentive on.

          FWIW, my mom is a public school teacher, has the misfortune of seeing the union up close, and would agree with everything I’ve said here. Therefore, I get automatic immunity to anyone trying to counter my arguments by shaming me with tales of their relatives and all the wonderful public union members they know rather than addressing the substance of my points.

          • ivan_the_mad

            “it’s clear the unionization tends to encourage that sort of behavior” Quod gratis asseritur gratis negatur.

            “the substance of my points” I see gratuitous assertions directed at some unquantified sample of an unquantified percentage of total public union members, which begs the question, what substance?

          • ivan_the_mad

            I would also remind you that the social doctrine of the Church is quite clear in recognizing the right of workers to form associations. i.e. unions, from Rerum Novarum onwards. Perhaps you should remember that no human institution is per se good; it’s beneficence, or lack thereof, depends much on its leadership or membership.

            • jollyroger

              Ah but the government makes it illegal for some workers/professions to unionize. Some animals are more equal than others!

    • S. Murphy

      “I have seen a lot of things written about public servants in general and whether or not they should have the right to strike.”
      My grandfather thought they shouldn’t, and he was a police officer. My father, a teacher, thought the same. I agree with Stu, that a unionized military, well … it would be hilarious, especially in a Lois McMaster Bujold novel, which is where it belongs. But then, we reservists write our Congresscritters at the drop of a hat, or so I’m told. 😉
      And there were a couple times the BAS or consolidated medical had such limited hours or frequent ‘closed for training’ afternoons, that I started wondering if the Navy wasn’t a union shop.

      Semper Fi,

  • Marthe Lépine

    Correction (before someone complains that I am not keeping to the subject at hand): I should have said “about public servants in general, including military personnel” in my first sentence. However, I assume that military personnel do not have the right to unionize – imagine going on strike in the middle of a war – but maybe they should…

  • The Real Deal

    This post should be titled “In Which Mark Shea Stands in the Proud Catholic Tradition of Calling for Military Coups”.

    Pinochet and Franco would be proud!

    • Mark Shea

      I’m not calling for a coup. I’m saying that our troops are only flesh and blood and you can only crap on them for so long before something gives. I think a coup would be *very* bad.

      • S. Murphy

        So do I; and I’ve been reading here long enough to know you’re not calling for one; but dang it, to a drive-by reader, these posts probably *do* look like ‘let’s you and him fight.’

      • Kenneth

        I think what he’s suggesting is something more along the lines of the Spithead mutiny. In 1797, 16 British ships of the line, the entire channel fleet, basically, was fed up with no pay hikes for 140 years, rotten food and medical care, and endless deployments. When the admiralty blew off polite requests and petitions, one day the crews along that anchorage signaled each other, and simply refused orders to sail. Most of their demands, which were quite reasonable, were granted within the week.

        • S. Murphy

          Fascinating bit of history that I hadn’t heard of before. Thanks!

  • Deuce,
    Please; it’s not your dough, it’s Caesar’s. He can do what he likes with it, take it off you if he likes, give it back to you if he likes, you know. Let the economists, a group of people whose historical track record of accuracy in forecasting is on a par with the guys the Romans thought could read the innards of sacrificed goats, advise Caesar on how best to spend his own money. Talk of taxation being confiscation on a Catholic blog makes my head hurt.
    The gold you pay Caesar is the price of a quiet life. Caesar’s even unionised; what do you think the G7 and the UN are, but unions of Caesars?

    • Marthe Lépine

      There is an interesting article in the Christian Democracy magazine that Mark has been giving a link to in a previous post. The article is entitled “An Indispensible Part of Catholic Social Doctrine”, by Jack Quirk. I would like to bring to your attention some of the commentaries following that article, including a very long one (by a former taxation economist) that deals exactly on taxation issues from a Catholic point of view, and to Mr. Quirk’s reply, which includes this very very good quote, IMHO:
      “It seems to me that Catholics who object to taxes being used to help the poor should be called out on their error no less than Catholics who try to legitimize artificial birth control. As Catholics we should embrace the entirety of Catholic doctrine, not just the parts that we find agreeable.”

    • The Real Deal

      Martin, even I, an atheist, can’t see how one can be a libertarian AND be in line with Roman Catholic doctrine. Not only (most) of the Bible but your Church tradition has a view of “earthly” authority somewhere between high regard and grudging acceptance.

      Laissez-Faire capitalism/anti-government sentiment is culturally protestant or post-protestant, through-and-through.

  • I am sooo bummed, but not surprised, that “Last Resort” got cancelled because it dealt with exactly this.

  • Elmwood

    Speaking as a hated gov employee in the oil industry and as a veteran, I can say that my pay was excellent in the military and my pay in the government doesn’t pay the bills. I had to take a second job to provide for my family of six. The GOP froze government inflation pay increases back in 2010. The military was exempt from this. The amount of pay increase going to Biden and me is 0.5% which is nothing to write home about for someone making a middle class income.

    I guess I don’t feel too bad about proposed military pay cuts.

    • S. Murphy

      There’s always another perspective, no? I stick to my guns about junior enlisted, though. I begrudge Biden his .5%; if he can’t manage without it – well, all of them are rich enough to run for office in the first place. Low- to mid-level GS, and other schedules, whole different story.

  • Elmwood

    If you read the article, it says Panetta is proposing they limit their pay raise to 1%. The government is only getting a 0.5% pay raise which means the military are getting a bigger pay increase.

    The point is there is NO proposed military pay cut!

    • S. Murphy

      No, it’s not even a freeze – it’s just a chill. I am pretty sure it will be bad for some people at the bottom end, however.

  • Stu

    In Washington Politician vernacular, it’s a “cut.” That’s what they call a reduction in planned growth. Anytime that there are proposed reductions in the growth of social spending, there is a cacophony of shrieks talking about draconian “cuts” being planned.

    Well, let’s be consistent.