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Empty Rhetoric

The Associated Press reports that the House Passes $646 Billion Defense Bill and the veto threat follows.

Fallenmonk says: Bush Shows Us How to Support the Troops; Think Progress says: Bush Threatens Veto Over Troop Pay Raise, Military Widow Benefits; The Army Times reports: White House: 3.5 percent pay hike unnecessary; and Speaker Pelosi has more information on her blog, The Gavel.

Back in October of 2006 I wrote a post, Non-Support, about the income of an E-4 [Corporal, Airman First] who was married with two kids and deployed to Iraq. The E-4’s after tax income was $ 47,314.81, but most of that were various allowances, the actual salary was $ 22,111.20. This year the salary is $ 22,597.20, but the allowances haven’t increased, so the corporal is getting around $40 more a month.

If the 3.5% pay raise is passed the corporal will get about $66 more per month. There’s nothing about increasing the allowances.

Another part of the package that the White House opposes is a $40/month increase in Dependency and Indemnity Compensation [DIC], the widow’s pension. Currently if the corporal is killed his/her spouse will lose all allowances and with two children will receive $ 19,164 a year. Essentially his/her income will drop by $ 28,000/year. DIC is the same for all spouses, $1067/month plus $265/month for each minor child, regardless of rank or years of service.

Can we just stop pretending they care about the welfare of the troops?

May 19, 2007   Comments Off on Empty Rhetoric

GOP Government

An Associated Press report tells us NOAA Wasted Millions:

The federal government is spending millions of dollars on a publicity campaign while its hurricane forecasters are struggling with budget cuts, the National Hurricane Center’s director said Thursday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is spending up to $4 million to publicize a 200th anniversary celebration, said Bill Proenza, who heads the hurricane center, part of the National Weather Service, which is a NOAA agency. At the same time, it has cut $700,000 from hurricane research, he said.

“No question about it, it is not justified. It is using appropriated funds for self promotion,” Proenza said in a phone interview while attending the Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference in Fort Lauderdale.

NOAA spokesman Anson Franklin said the agency is only spending about $1.5 million on the campaign over two years. He said it is justified to publicize the agency’s mission to a public that is often unaware of its involvement in weather prediction and forecasting.

“It’s part of our responsibility to tell the American people what we do,” Franklin said. “It’s inaccurate and unfair to just characterize this as some sort of self-celebration.”

Facing South reports that even FEMA is upset about what NOAA is doing and that Problems still beset hurricane readiness systems.

[Read more →]

May 19, 2007   2 Comments