Sat 22 Oct, 2016 10:52 pm
Nearly 10,000 California National Guard soldiers have been ordered to repay huge enlistment bonuses a decade after signing up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, a newspaper reported Saturday.
The Pentagon demanded the money back after audits revealed overpayments by the California Guard under pressure to fill ranks and hit enlistment goals. If soldiers refuse, they could face interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens, the Los Angeles Times said.
Faced with a shortage of troops at the height of the two wars, California Guard officials offered bonuses of $15,000 or more for soldiers to reenlist.
A federal investigation in 2010 found thousands of bonuses and student loan payments were improperly doled out to California Guard soldiers. About 9,700 current and retired soldiers received notices to repay some or all of their bonuses with more than $22 million recovered so far.
Soldiers said they feel betrayed at having to repay the money.
“These bonuses were used to keep people in,” said Christopher Van Meter, a 42-year-old former Army captain and Iraq veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart. “People like me just got screwed.”
Van Meter said he refinanced his home mortgage to repay $25,000 in re-enlistment bonuses and $21,000 in student loan repayments that the military says was improperly given to him.
The California Guard said it has to follow the law and collect the money.
— Associated Press
I'd say that the govt should eat that loss. Pick a better direction to recoup losses. Build one less fighter.
As much money as we overpay the military establishment I expect they could easily afford to soak up a loss.
I think that if the recipients were promised the money and received it in good faith, they shouldn't have to repay it. They held up their end of the contract. It seems like Congress should step in and settle it.
If the officials offered re-enlistment bonuses, and the soldiers in question re-enlisted, then it sounds pretty clear...
I am wondering if there is more to this story.
Apparently local congressmen are aware and promising a House investigation.
I dropped the link but it's from the LA Times
The California National Guard told the state’s members of Congress two years ago that the Pentagon was trying to claw back reenlistment bonuses from thousands of soldiers, and even offered a proposal to mitigate the problem, but Congress took no action, according to a senior National Guard official.
The official added that improper bonuses had been paid to National Guard members in every state, raising the possibility that many more soldiers may owe large debts to the Pentagon.
“This is a national issue and affects all states,” Andreas Mueller, the chief of federal policy for the California Guard, wrote in an email to the state’s congressional delegation Monday. Attention had focused on California because it was “the only state that audited” bonus payments at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he added.
I've been following this by way of Jim Wright on FB.
from his recent comment
Who can change this?
Who can put a stop to this outrage?
Who KNEW it was happening and did not one ******* thing to stop it?
Who NOW pretends surprise and false outrage?
But Congress has gone home for the season smug in their failure to do ANYTHING of substance and gleeful in their continued obstructionism. These people, this congress, these miserable sons of bitches one and all, have failed America and failed those who protect America, more thoroughly than any government in history.
House Leaders, the VERY PEOPLE WHO ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN IN THE FIRST PLACE AND WHO FAILED FOR THE LAST DECADE TO DO A DAMNED THING ABOUT IT, now beat their narrow chests and shed crocodile tears for veterans and ... instead of doing anything about it, went home.
They just went home. **** it. After all, it's not THEIR homes that are at risk, is it?
Perhaps, they say, they'll, maybe, address the issue during their lame duck session AFTER the election, or perhaps not -- I suppose it depends on who wins and whatever bullshit reason they come up with for continuing NOT to do their goddamned jobs this time.
And while this goes on, 10,000 (and more) soldiers who served this country, who put their very lives on the line, who were enticed into a war started by a lie with yet more lies, pay the price as they always do.
Here's what needs to happen: The President and State Governors, the executives one and all, must immediately issue executive orders halting the collection of such debts -- not waive the debt, the executive can't do that, only Congress can change the law. But the executives CAN chose not to enforce the law exactly as they accuse the President of doing and EXACTLY as they threaten to do if Obama comes for their guns and marriage via legislation.
Halt enforcement of the law.
Then the President must publicly demand Congress return and permanently fix the situation and do right by those who served this country.
And do it NOW.
Do it NOW. Today. BEFORE THE ELECTION.
Legislation to fix this exists right now. It could be on the president's desk by Friday.
Do it now.
And those who refuse?
Those governors, those members of congress who refuse to step up? To put their own agendas on hold, to put aside their politics and obstructionism and personal vendettas while hiding behind the flag and those who gave their lives for this country, those sons of bitch who fail America each and every day and refuse to do what needs be done?
Then you'll know who to vote for come November 8th, won't you?
I may have missed it, but no politician I could name has tried very hard to right this thing.
I'm sharing the begeezus out of Mr. Wright''s post. I'm hoping one of my friends (who has 250,000+ followers ) picks it up.