Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day

Students of American history are no doubt aware of the appalling conditions that General George Washington's soldiers fought under -- including the fact that many of them did not even have boots during the winter all because the Continental Congress did not allocate the necessary funds goes the story our teachers told us. Now over 200 years later the current federal government is essentially doing the same thing due to a standoff between the White House and the US House of Representatives regarding salary increases for military personnel.

David Broder notes in his May 27th column ("Hardly the time to be stingy over a half-percent raise for soldiers") that the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) wants to give our military 3% raises while the US House wants to give them a 3.5% raise. Some critics note this is just a bidding war by the Republican and Democratic Parties to win the affinity of the military vote.

Now Mr. Broder is a brilliant writer but let me offer a twist on this pay raise debate. Instead of offering nickels and dimes as salary increases ( just a $200 annual bump for a corporal Representative Carol Shea-Porter reports) let's give our men and women in uniform a substantial pay raise simply by making their salaries exempt from federal incomes taxes (I believe in states' rights so they should retain the right to tax military salaries but what governor wants that on their record??). What -- you think this idea is crazy and discriminatory? Let me ask who better deserves a tax exempt salary -- the men and women who defend Americans' liberties or unaccountable bureaucrats like the employees of the World Bank who receive tax free salaries as documented in this report from the respected Cato Institute --

"The World Bank pays high, tax-free salaries. World Bank president Barber Conable earns $154,000 a year; the 15 vice presidents earn, on average, $123,000; and the 58 directors earn, on average, $105,000. The World Bank's top 74 officials thus enjoy salaries averaging $120,000. Just below the top levels are hundreds of "technical advisers," who earn between $80,000 and $105,000. Again, all salaries are tax-free."

So as you fire up the grill or take a ride in your motor boat this Memorial Day Weekend take just 5 minutes to thank those who have given their lives serving in the US military and a word of thanks to those serving in uniform today. Let's keep our soldiers, sailors, and airmen off food stamps via some substantial tax reform by exempting them from the federal income tax.

We owe them this over due thank you.


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