by Matthew Cunningham-Cook and David Sirota, published June 16, 2015, at the IBTimes
American service members are confronting a potential haircut. Under a proposal the Pentagon outlined last week, new members of the armed forces would see their guaranteed retirement benefits cut by one-fifth if Congress approves the plan.
But if future veterans are being asked to make do with less, one key constituency stands to capture more: Wall Street.
Under the details of the Pentagon plan, the federal government would divert 3 percent of service members’ pay into a 401(k)-style plan that would be managed largely by BlackRock, a financial firm whose executives helped bankroll President Barack Obama’s election campaigns.
The change could wind up transferring as much as $50 billion from military paychecks to BlackRock, generating tens of millions of dollars in fees for the Wall Street giant. BlackRock employees have donated over $90,000 to Obama’s campaigns directly, and nearly $75,000 to the Democratic National Committee during the course of Obama’s two presidential campaigns, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. BlackRock Chairman and CEO Larry Fink was also a prominent supporter of Obama’s election campaigns, and the company in 2013 named Hillary Clinton’s former State Department chief of staff to its board of directors.
WASHINGTON — With a chilly wind blowing and under a sometimes grey, overcast sky, Honor Flights carrying World War II veterans from Florida, Rhode Island and Wisconsin arrived in Washington on Saturday for tours of the WWII memorial. For many, it was a sight to see for the first — and possibly last — time.
The majority of veterans on site for the event were men, but among them were several women. One was Doris Zimmermann, a former Navy Yeoman Petty Officer 2nd class who served from April from 1944 to 1946, watching German prisoners of war. Zimmerman arrived as part of the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight (the organization is unaffiliated with Stars and Stripes newspaper).
“(Serving) was an interesting experience, because I didn’t know German. It was a good experience, but the whole Navy was a good experience for me. It changed my whole life. I made some wonderful friendships in the Navy that endured through the years” Zimmermann said.