Letter to the Editor
I beg to differ with Milt Zall in both fact and opinion with regard to his
April 9 column in Federal Computer Week, "Pay parity."
He decries President Bush's proposed military pay raise without a corresponding
mention of the civilian work force, based on some misleading (at best) and
outright false (at worst) assertions.
He writes, "There's no good reason to treat feds and military personnel
differently." Well hallelujah! If only that really were the case, the military
would receive matching Thrift Savings Plan contributions, a 40-hour workweek
and optional mobility.
Please, Mr. Zall, come join us being treated equally in government-sponsored
hellholes all over the world. You and your ilk may then also benefit from
hostile-fire pay and various other incentives. Based on the aforementioned
considerations, similarly rated military grades receiving higher pay than
their civilian counterparts seem an only fair, albeit a ridiculous fantasy.
You want documentation? OK, let's look at it in terms of civilian vs.
military performance, since that appears to be the crux of the matter you
are attempting to examine anyway. The American military has been doing more
with less on a continually shrinking budget for the past 10 years. A lot
more. While at the same time, overall government spending and budgets have
increased. Maybe we really do deserve a raise more than you? Hmm.
Why are recruiting and retention goals not being achieved? Because we
have long since passed the limit of what I stated in the last paragraph.
Good soldiers, sailors and airmen are smart enough to know when they've
been had. So they leave to get real jobs with decent pay and an opportunity
for a normal family life. It's simple cause and effect.
Furthermore, I wholeheartedly agree with the president's call to produce
cuts "in the number of managerial layers in the upper echelons of government."
While you, in your next sentence, seem more concerned with getting a raise
for these relatively highly paid bureaucrats whose positions may realistically
be entirely done away with for the sake of efficiency and fiscal responsibility.
Maybe we need some "documentation" on that count.
And here's a news flash for you, sir: No president's policies, current
or past "create[d] a pay disparity between military and civilian government
employees," as you would imply. That disparity has always existed and will
continue to exist, but it's really the other way around. Only policies like
the recently established program to eliminate the need for food stamps to
military members will do anything to close the gap which so disturbs you.
I realize it is hard not to speak from where you stand, and I am certainly
doing so now. But using a public forum such as Federal Computer Week to
make dubious comparisons in support of an argument that basically amounts
to whining about your pay at the military's expense is a bit hard to swallow
for people like me who may be called upon to put our lives on the line for
you and every other citizen of this country regardless of rank, position
Master Sgt. Paul Shaffer