As Brandon’s aides get depressed just in time for Christmas, the Department of Defense is apparently trying to win the award for worst timing, announcing a cut to the living allowance it gives troops just in time for Christmas.
That’s according to Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper, which reported that:
Thousands of U.S. troops will lose a monthly cost-of-living stipend beginning Jan. 1 because fewer locations across the lower 48 states — including the Washington, D.C., metro area — qualified as excessively expensive living areas, according to a Pentagon announcement Wednesday.
About 48,000 troops will lose the adjustment as their cities no longer qualify as expensive enough to justify it, in the eyes of the now penny-pinching Pentagon.
To qualify for the cost of living adjustment, or COLA, the cost of living around a base must be at least 8% more expensive than the national average. That cost is calculated by taking transportation, goods and services, federal income taxes, sales taxes, and miscellaneous expenses into account.
According to Stars and Stripes, those cities which still qualify for the COLA adjustment are:
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New York City, Long Island and Staten Island in New York; Nantucket, Mass.; Boulder, Colo.; and San Francisco, Calif. New York City’s 6% COLA payment will be the largest in 2022, dropping from 7% this year. Long Island and San Francisco were the next highest, with troops in those locations set to receive a 3% adjustment next year.
Washington D.C. and Boston both dropped from the list.
It’s well and good for the Pentagon to finally start caring about stretching its dollars a bit more, but this cost-saving measure hardly seems necessary, especially as it will hit already cash-strapped troops in their wallets.
When the government is spending over $100 million per new F-35C, thousands of dollars per flight hour for fourth-generation planes like the F-15, and about $12 billion for the USS Gerald Ford aircraft carrier, it hardly seems necessary to cut a relatively small program that helped troops afford the cost of living where they are stationed.