Military back pay cost will be shared

By Tom Philpott: Military update The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have worked out a plan for sharing the cost and the task of delivering about $500 million in back pay to more than 100,000 military retirees with VA rated disabilities. The retroactive payments are owed to nearly half of all recipients of Combat-Related […]

Market should determine prices

CNJ Editorial Have you ever found yourself in a situation that seemed like a good idea at one time and no longer does, but extricating yourself presents as many problems as the status quo? If so, you know how the federal government must feel as it tries to end its involvement in tobacco growing. Begun […]

Veterans’ disability pay questioned

Tom Philpott Both his grandfather and great-uncle served in World War II, said Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., but only his great-uncle entered a Nazi death camp as the war came to a close. “According to the story my grandmother told,” said the senator in a phone interview, “when he got home, he went up to […]

Government farm programs hinder free trade

Freedom Newspapers One of mankind’s earliest inventions was agriculture. Growing their food rather than chasing it around or wandering in search of it enabled people to stay in one place. This stability allowed the development of other trappings of civilization: towns, trade, regional culture and government. But agriculture provided the foundation upon which all else […]

Military health care costs still rising

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Defense Department officials say it’s time users of military health care pay a greater share of rising medical costs, perhaps through higher co-payments and enrollment fees that haven’t been raised since TRICARE, the military’s managed care program, began a decade ago. In an interview, Dr. William Winkenwerder, Jr., assistant secretary […]

Flaws discovered in disability benefits

By Tom Philpott: Military Update A commission conducting the first major review of veterans’ disability benefits in 50 years was warned at its inaugural meeting that perhaps too many veterans have been deemed “unemployable,” which raises their compensation to the level of 100-percent disabled veterans. Renee L. Szybala, director for operations of VA’s Compensation and […]

Restitution to be paid for bad investment

Tom Philpott: CNJ columnist An estimated 13,000 military investors who bought and later terminated a “Systematic Investment Plan” marketed by First Command Financial Planning Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, are due restitution payments in the coming weeks that likely will average a little over $300. Letters of explanation are being mailed to a list of […]

Year ends with pay and benefit gains

by Tom Philpott A lame-duck and bitterly divided Congress found comity enough in mid-November to pass three bills that will raise veterans’ benefits, improve pay for VA doctors and strengthen veterans’ legal rights. The bills cap another year of solid pay and benefit gains for a military community that lawmakers recognize is under enormous strain. […]

Put debt on a diet/Finances find a friend

By Michelle Seeber o Getting out from under credit card crunch calls for self-restraint. By Michelle Seeber CNJ STAFF WRITER michelle_seeber@link.freedom.com About four years ago, Danny Keith Duncan owed more than $10,000 in credit card debt. Since then, the 43-year-old Clovis resident has learned the secret to staying debt-free — self-restraint. Facing debt, his income […]