Our Military men and women are some of the most valued members of our society. But we sure do not treat them like they are the most valued. Our young service members earn less than poverty wages and are usually some of the deepest in debt members of our society.
It is time we show that we support our fighters. This means we need to spend our money where it counts. It is great to have fighter jets and tanks, but if we do not have people who can use this equipment, and who want to stay in long term, the equipment is useless.
Our fighters are the bravest in the world, and it is time we take care of them. If we can spend 700 billion dollars or more on our military, a much larger percentage of our budget should go to paying, caring, and supporting our fighters.
I believe we need a strong defense, as a veteran I understand the need to have fighters and equipment ready to deploy at a moment notice anywhere in the world to defend our citizens. I understand that we cannot rely on other countries to have our best interests at heart, and that we need to continue to aid and support those countries that provide a strategic advantage to us throughout the world.
I also understand that we are spending vast amounts of money every year, and currently have a national debt over 22 trillion dollars and growing. We need to be sure we are spending our money where it counts, and that we are not being taken advantage of by military suppliers. I am very concerned with the amount of government officials that have business relationships with these companies, and work to help them get extremely lucrative contracts.
I am calling for an immediate raise for our fighters, tiered to ensure our lowest earning fighters are given the biggest impact. I will demand a 10% pay raise for our enlisted soldiers, a 5% raise for our junior officers and warrant officers, and a 2.5% raise for our senior officers.
Along with this, I am calling for an expansion of GI Bill benefits to allow each soldier to be able to grant GI Bill benefits to their immediate family, while maintaining their benefit of an education for themselves. Essentially, this would double to amount of GI Bill each servicemember is eligible to receive and ensure that each and every fighter is able to pursue a higher education, while also being able to help members of their immediate family pursue the dream as well.
Next, I want us to give our soldiers more benefits after their career has ended. In the current system, 20 years is the magical number where benefits can be kept. But for a lot of fighters 20 years becomes unattainable or they wish to pursue other options. So, these fighters are typically left with little more than access to VA home loans and some veteran discounts from retailers. Therefore, I want to create a system where fighters can earn at least partial benefits, even if they have not completed the full 20 years.
The system I propose for this is to allow fighters to obtain access to Tricare Reserve Select, which requires a monthly premium like normal health insurance, but is much more affordable and offers better deductibles and benefits. I propose that any fighter that has completed 10 years of service or 18 months of forward deployment be granted access to this benefit for life. The service member would not be forced to take this insurance if they choose another option, but would have access to it for themselves and their family through the remainder of their life.
Next, it is time we take much better care of disabled veterans. These men and women have sacrificed so much for our country, and yet we leave them to the struggling VA for healthcare. The news about these clinics is depressing, with constant issues being reported and the result is atrocious care being given to the ones we should be taking the best care of. It is past time we extend VA benefits to allow our disabled fighters the ability to see private doctors of their choosing, and to be able to make medical decisions that will affect the rest of their lives with a doctor the trust and are comfortable with.
Lastly, it is time to end our national shame of homeless veterans. 23% of our homeless in this country are former service members. 45% of that population are suffering from a mental illness, most likely caused by their time in the service. These are people we need to care for, these are people we need to ensure are given opportunities to receive the care they need as well as have opportunities to work and thrive in our country.
Let’s commit to do more to ensure our service members are taken care of. An E-1 enlisted fighter makes less than $19,000 per year. There is no reason at all that a young soldier should live in poverty conditions because they chose to serve our country.
And God Bless