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COLA Cools • Inflation declined by 0.1 percent in Novem- ber 2011, marking the second consecutive month of negative inflation. Since the start of the fiscal year, inflation is down nearly 0.2 percent.


and your family. We just don’t yet know exactly how badly. A Pentagon-proposed plan to imple- ment the cuts is sitting on the president’s desk, and all indications are a large share will come from people, compensation, and health care programs. And that’s not all. The super committee’s inaction means a budget sequester aimed at cutting almost another $500 billion from the defense budget over the next 10 years is already in motion to take effect a year from now. Many in Congress are up in arms


over what cuts that deep will do to national security, but there are just as many who are determined to have the cuts come from the Pentagon rather than other programs. What’s at stake? COLAs to all federal


annuities, TRICARE, TRICARE For Life, major force and compensation cuts, com- missaries, exchanges, family-support programs, and just about every military program you and your family use. If you survived the budget cuts of the


1970s, ’80s, or ’90s, you know how bad those were. But they were nothing compared to the budget pressures we’re all going to face over the next four or five years. We congratulate ourselves on our suc- cesses of the past decade — which were due to the power of MOAA members’ grassroots input to their legislators. This year, members set an all-time re-


cord on that score, sending more than 1.3 million messages to their elected officials via media we can count. That total includes more than 820,000 emails sent through MOAA’s website. But it will take a far broader effort to


avoid budget disasters in the years ahead. First, there are high-powered, well- connected, well-heeled lobbyists fighting (and making hefty political contributions) to preserve their shares of the budget pie — at your expense.


42 MILITARY OFFICER FEBRUARY 2012 Second, if you look past the impressive


820,000 MOAA-generated emails, you find only 67,000 individuals generated all of those messages. In other words, most of MOAA’s legisla-


tive effort is being carried by less than 20 percent of its members. Are the other 80 percent oblivious to


the threat? Do they think, “It’s just politics and will blow over like most of the threats of the past 10 years have?” Do they assume their input wouldn’t make a difference? Regardless of the reason, the compla- cency and inertia of “the other 80 per- cent” is the biggest budgetary threat to you and your family. If you’re in that 80 percent, you’re


your own worst enemy. Your continued inaction will jeopardize not only your family and your future but also the fami- lies and futures of your brothers and sis- ters in arms. The issue here isn’t ensuring the mili- tary community takes no budget hits. The issue is resisting taking a dispro- portional share of hits simply because those with other interests are more active and better connected and have deeper pockets. If you’re not getting involved to de- fend what your service and sacrifice have earned — and not actively seeking to mo- tivate others to protect theirs (and yours) — you’re helping paint the target on your COLAs and health care and on the troops and their families and your own family’s future well-being. Consider yourself warned.


MO


— Contributors are Col. Steve Strobridge, USAF- Ret., direc tor; Col. Mike Hayden, USAF-Ret.; Col. Bob Norton, USA-Ret.; Cmdr. René Campos, USN- Ret.; Capt. Kathy Beasley, USN-Ret.; Col. Phil Odom, USAF-Ret.; Karen Golden; Bret Shea; and Matt Murphy, MOAA’s Government Relations Depart- ment. To subscribe to MOAA’s Legislative Update, visit www.moaa.org/email.


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