When you think of Barack Obama’s economic record, “fiscal conservatism” is the last phrase you’ll find yourself using to describe it. Fiscal conservatives don’t tend to sign into law trillion dollar stimulus and healthcare bills, or bail out the entire auto and financial industry. As of this writing, the national debt stands at $19.93 trillion, and will increase “big league” to over $20 trillion by the time Obama exits the Oval Office for good.
Of course, there’s one part of the government about which Obama is only too happy to be fiscally conservative: the military. He’s for funding the welfare state, but not our men and women in uniform. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons that 25% of military families are seeking food aid. As fast-food workers march nationwide demanding a $15 an hour minimum wage, don’t those risking their lives for their paycheck deserve a raise?
In a congressional bill released on Tuesday, military personnel would see a 2.1 percent pay raise starting in January and a significant manpower boost within the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps as part of Congress’ annual defense spending bill, according to the Military Times. The bill includes a compromise which includes a massive overhaul of the military health care system, but it eliminates a controversial proposal to change troops’ housing allowance, leaving the military’s current stipend program largely unchanged.
And the way things look now, those in the armed forces ARE going to get that raise. As Stars and Stripes reported: The House on Friday passed an annual defense policy bill that includes the largest troop pay raise in six years and puts the brakes on an Army drawdown.
The vote means the $619 billion National Defense Authorization Act – along with the 2.1 percent raise and an order to keep 476,000 soldiers in the Army — cleared its first legislative hurdle after being unveiled this week. Now, it is headed for a Senate vote next week and then must be signed by President Barack Obama.
The pay raise will kick in Jan. 1 if the bill is signed into law, despite an executive order by Obama in August to set raises at 1.6 percent in 2017 to save money. The Army had also recently announced a reduction in soldiers to cut costs amid tight defense budgets.
“It is time we give the troops and their families the pay raise they deserve,” said Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., a subcommittee chairman on the House Armed Services Committee.
Naturally, the 34 opposing votes came mostly from Democrats.
At this point, there’s no point in Obama vetoing the bill, as Donald Trump will just pass it when he takes office. It should amount to a nice Christmas gift that Obama didn’t want them to have.
[Note: This post was written by The Analytical Economist]