- - Thursday, February 20, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Today’s veterans earned their retirement benefits in long tours of duty overseas, separated from family and friends and often exposed to mortal danger.

Congress was right to restore veterans’ full retirement benefits, but it should also be working to improve veterans’ health care and job training (“Congress reverses military pension cuts,” Web, Feb. 12).

I also agree that Congress must be fiscally responsible. We can’t put the cost of these benefits on a federal credit card that’s already $17 trillion in the red. So Congress should look for creative ways to save.

A report put out by taxpayer advocate groups suggested that we could save $44 billion by replacing two unnecessary variants of a new fighter jet known as the Joint Strike Fighter, which has come under heavy criticism for cost overruns and delays. Those savings are eight times what it would cost to restore veterans’ benefits and fund improved veterans services.

It might take some tough negotiations, but the solutions are out there. There’s no excuse for Congress not to do better by our veterans.

CAPT. ORLANDO JACKSON

U.S. Army (retired)

Brentwood, Tenn.

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