An email from the “Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission”:
Dear Retired Service Member,
The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission is reviewing the pay and benefit programs of the Uniformed Services. You have been selected to take this survey.
The Commission must make recommendations for the modernization of pay and benefits to the President and the Congress next year.
Please do not pass this link along, your input is very important to us and your participation will remain strictly confidential. If you cannot complete the survey in your workspace, feel free to forward this e-mail to your home address to complete it there.
Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey.
Here are some of the questions:
Since I can’t fit a very clear picture in my column width, here is the question:
What are your preferences with respect to the following range of one-time cost-of-living adjustments? Please indicate how much you prefer each option by moving its slider Up (toward 100) if you prefer it more, and DOWN (toward 0) if you prefer it less. How far you move the slider up or down should reflect how strongly you feel about the option.
The choices: 0% increase, 5% increase, 10% increase, 15% increase, 20% increase.
Note that if you happen to pick non-obvious answers, as I did above, a little yellow warning triangle appears by your slider to ask you: “are you sure you prefer a 0% COLA to a 20% COLA?”
To be fair some of the questions asked the participant to choose between different sets of tradeoffs. But most of them were like this:
What is your preference for using a local retail pharmacy for filling prescriptions at the following incremental co-payment levels (relative to the cost at a Military Treatment Facility?
[Choices]: $20 more at a local retail pharmacy, $15 more, $10 more, $5 more, $0 more.
What is your preference for choosing a civilian doctor at the following incremental co-payment levels (relative to the cost at a Military Treatment Facility)? [Choices] $40 more per visit to a civilian doctor, $30 more per visit, $20 more, $10 more, 0$ more.
This was unique in not providing any warning triangles.
How much of a monthly health care premium do you prefer? Please indicate how much you prefer each option . . .
$400 per month, $300 per month, . . . $0 per month
What is your preference for using a local retail pharmacy for filing prescriptions at the following incremental co-payment levels (relative to the cost at a Military Treatment Facility)?
$20 more at a local retail pharmacy, $15 more, $10 more, etc.
Maybe someone can explain to me what these questions are intended to measure. Our reading comprehension? Our preference for more money over less money. I can’t actually think of a non-trivial answer.