What Would John Galt Do?

A whole different way of looking at "WWJD"

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Left Hand of Thanks

There's an abundance of sloppy-sentimental "patriotism" in America on days like the one just past.  And a fair number of creeps who come out of the woodwork to exploit a day that is supposed to be about honoring those who died in service to America -- for partisan political fuckery.

I'm a Libertarian who doesn't go Full Rothbard.  I am not anti-war, and I am not anti-military.  I shan't elaborate here; I only want to make it clear that I'm not coming from any of the usual ideological perspectives as I write this.

So I ran across a rant over the weekend by someone claiming to be "a veteran of both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy" who "served from Vietnam to Beirut" (it's possible -- the two were only about ten years apart) about the hollowness of the whole "Thank a Vet" that has become all but a meaningless gesture.

His rant starts out well:
...but why are people doing it, really?

I am old enough to have experienced the very different reception that was given to Vietnam era veterans where veterans were spat upon, called names like "murderer, baby killer, baby burner,” etc. Sometimes ... people who were there (America 1960s-70s) try to compensate for the shameful actions still lodged in their memories....

There are others, unfortunately, and they seem the most vocal and public, who just want to feel good about themselves. They want to be seen thanking veterans and by doing so ... gain the image of being "Patriotic." It isn't really about the veteran, it is all about them....
Amen.  I, too wonder whether a lot of this is an overreaction to the despicable way that returning Vietnam vets were treated.  Unfortunately, from there the rant takes a sharp Left turn and proceeds straight down the road to Hell:

If you really want to thank a Veteran: 

...Stop voting for people who deny help for military families who need food stamps to exist month to month.

Stop voting for people who make it impossible for veterans and their families to get the education they need to build a better life.

Stop voting for people who ... could not care less if your grandmother loses her home and has to live in a cardboard box under a bridge while you are serving your country in Afghanistan and her Social Security and Medicare are taken away.
What a steaming pile of crap.  This is pure Democrat National Committee propaganda:  NO politician has ever denied anyone food stamps, or taken away anyone's Social Security, but the DNC has been slandering Republicans with these charges for decades.  And the remark about making it impossible for vets to get an education -- a pure, lying, sack of shit.

Look carefully at the wording:  this has come straight out of the DNC talking points, word for word.

So we know that we're dealing with a partisan Democrat.  And we've known since the Paul Wellstone funeral that Democrats will exploit any corpse in pursuit of their Socialist agenda.  I shouldn't be surprised, I guess, that they also have no qualms about desecrating dead soldiers, but -- a veteran!  Doing this to his own!  I've lost a little bit of my respect for veterans qua veterans*, right here.

Enough of that.  So I got to thinking about the whole "military families on food stamps" meme, and got to wondering:  What does that actually mean?  And just how in the hell does that happen?  If a couple is that poor, they have no business having babies they can't afford.  Why should it matter if one of them is a soldier?  Does "supporting our troops" mean that we also have to support all the kids they're having?

So I decided to do a little fact checking.  I presume that we're not talking about officers here.  So here are this year's monthly pay grades for grunts:

2 years or less$1,546.83$1,733.88$1,824.24$2,019.48$2,202.90
Over 2 years$1,546.83$1,733.88$1,938.04$2,122.92$2,350.74
Over 3 years$1,546.83$1,733.88$2,055.38$2,238.07$2,464.34

A few notes:

  • Promotion from E-1 to E-2 is pretty much automatic during the first year.  After 2 years, the only E-1's are people who really screwed up.
  • Hardly anyone makes E-5 in the first four years.
  • This is taxable income, so it would be an apples-to-apples comparison to civilian pay... except:
  • They also get a housing allowance, tax-free.  This varies by zip code, but a quick check in zip codes where I've lived indicate that it very nearly amounts to free rent.  Not quite, but very close.
  • So for a real apples-to-apples comparison, add to these numbers whatever rents are typical for your zip code.
Now let's compare all this to this year's food stamp thresholds:

Household size Gross monthly income (130 percent of poverty) Net monthly income (100 percent of poverty)
1 $1,265 $ 973
2 1,705 1,311
3 2,144 1,650
4 2,584 1,988
5 3,024 2,326

So there's no way that a young childless couple, one of whom is in the military, is going to get food stamps.  Even if only one of them is working.

Even with one kid, it ain't happening.  With two kids and the soldier hasn't made it past being a PFC, still probably not.  Three kids -- if you're popping out three kids in your first three years in the service, and you haven't yet made E3 -- uh, something is wrong with this picture.

I checked with a family member who is a recent veteran, and he told me that "military families on food stamps" is a crock.  He said that the whole time he was in, he never knew anyone who was on food stamps.

So if you want to thank a veteran -- first of all, don't do it with your left wing hand.  Deal with things as they really are, not as some Socialist wants the world to view them.

Or better yet, wait for "Hanoi Jane" Fonda to die and go piss on her grave.  But you're going to have to wait in line... a long line... mostly of veterans...

Just sayin'.

You can read the original rant here.
* By that I mean:  it does not lessen my respect for any individual, that I already know, who happens to be a veteran; it does mean that I am less likely to prejudicially favor someone I don't yet know, just because s/he is a member of that group.


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