Biden to US Soldiers: Consider Food Stamps to Help with Inflation
Pentagon officials this week issued a memo with guidelines to troops on how to cope with inflation, including speaking with a financial adviser and enrolling in SNAP (food stamps).
The decision comes after months of complaining from soldiers who are finding it difficult to make ends meet on government pay.
Inflation in the US is currently at about 8.3%, but is as high as 13.6% for government defense purchases. Unfortunately, Defense Department officials based their budgeting decisions for 2022 on a rate of 3.9%.
In May, Pentagon Comptroller Michael McCord issued a memo to Congress warning lawmakers of the Defense Department’s failure to adequately track inflation and make adjustments to budgets. Pentagon leaders even declined assistance when concerned lawmakers offered to help the department with inflation numbers.
This problem could be even worse next year, warns retired US Army Major General John Ferrari. Based on the latest information released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Pentagon’s budget request of $773 billion for next year is short by as much as $70 billion.
“[This is] hardly a rounding error,” notes Ferrari. “Although the House and Senate have added money in their defense bills, $7.1 billion and $21.2 billion respectively, raging inflation means troops and their families will lose $8.7 billion in buying power this year.”
Taking into account inflation and pay increases, soldiers today are currently facing what feels like a 12.5% pay cut.
“Having already added more money to the defense budget than President Biden requested, Congress will have to appropriate even more to save America’s troops from the Defense Department’s negligence,” warns Ferrari. “It’s the only way to get troops and their families the financial lifeline they need.”
Author’s Note: The potential impact here is staggering. If word gets out that soldiers are turning to food stamps because they aren’t earning enough money, we won’t be able to recruit new men and women during a time of unprecedented global risk – not to mention how weak it makes the United States look if we can’t even pay our own military.