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Wrapped in the flag: Ayotte, Shaheen talk tough

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was for cost-of-living increases for retired military personnel before she voted for the December compromise budget bill containing a slight reduction in that COLA.

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte was for loosening sequestration rules that she said damaged the military before she voted against the compromise budget bill that contained a loosening of sequestration.

Both women now want to amend the new budget bill that, modest though it is, was the first instance of genuine, important compromise between conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats in several years.

It was easier for Ayotte to vote against the budget than it would have been for Shaheen to do so. Republicans had already carried the day in the House and Senate Democrats needed only a few Republicans. It is notable that one of them is himself a military veteran of good repute, John McCain.

Had the Senate vote been in doubt, would Ayotte still have voted against the bill that protects much defense spending and has averted another government shutdown?

Will Shaheen vote for military pension restoration even if it doesn't raise more in taxes, which is her scheme? Will Ayotte vote for the restoration, even if it does mean raising taxes while not cutting spending?

It is easier to wrap oneself in the flag and proclaim support for the military than it is to address the huge and dangerous debt facing our nation.

If Shaheen and Ayotte can't face working-age veterans upset about a 1 percentage point reduction in their cost-of-living increase (spread over 10 years and restored at age 62), how on earth are they going to ever tackle Social Security and other entitlement spending that is killing us all?

Be sure to read retired U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer Michael Moffett's piece on the subject.

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