Government Shutdown 2013: Thoughts of a Jaded Captain.
We’ve all done it. We bought something on credit we really couldn’t afford, we got a fancy-shmancy new and shiny credit card because Alec Baldwin, or Jimmy Fallon, or whoever else is a spokesman for credit card companies these days, told us to. I myself bought a 51” HD plasma TV when I was 23 on a new credit card because, well I was 23 and I didn’t really need a reason, I just wanted a massive TV to play video games on. But what happens when we can’t pay that bill? We get angry letters. What happens when we still can’t pay that bill? We owe more money now, we get charged fees, and penalties, and late-payment charges. But eventually we pay it off right? And we promise ourselves we’ll never let that happen again. We’re going to make a budget and, more importantly, stick to it this time. No more eating lobster five nights a week. No more deluxe cable TV package. No more 51” plasma. Fiscal responsibility is the name of the game now.
Or is it?
It’s not. The answer is it’s not.
For those of you who don’t know – apparently our government is shutting down (it’s not official yet,but there’s great speculation that it is going to happen). Awesome. Those in charge of us cannot get their acts together and figure out this novel concept of don’t spend more than you earn. As Bill Maher says about how they fixed the debt in California, “It’s amazing, really. We did something economists call cutting spending AND raising taxes.” WOAH! Mind. Officially. Blown. What?
So why isn’t the federal government doing this if California’s state government can and is? Well, uh, you see, there’s this, uh, problem, and thing, and you know, it’s all very, uh, technical, yes, technical. Your guess is as good as mine. And my guesses usually involve mythical creatures and dance parties. So your guess is probably better than mine. I highly doubt our government’s fiscal problems are the result of a lack of unicorn-raves.
Or are they?
They’re not. The answer is they’re not.
Now, normally I’m not a big proponent of big government and spending (especially when it’s money we don’t have. Our current national debt, as of this writing, is $16,738,158,460,368) but there has to be a limit on what we can stop spending. Some things should never be on the chopping block. Ever.
With that said, according to CNN,
“Rep. C.W. Young, chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, told the Air Force Times, ‘All military personnel will continue to serve and accrue pay but will not actually be paid until appropriations are available.’
Their mid-October paycheck would be the first affected. In addition, the congressman told the paper, changes of station would be delayed, medical offerings would be scaled back, facility and weapons maintenance would be suspended and most civilian employees would be furloughed until appropriations are available.”
You read that right. We’re going to stop paying our military. When will “appropriations” be “available”? Next week? The week after? Next fiscal year? When we, as a nation, are out of debt? I have no idea, but regardless of the answer it’s unacceptable.
As a nation we’ve asked so much of our men and women in uniform and what have we given them in return? A lot of yellow “support our troops” ribbon bumper stickers. The gesture is nice but what we need to be giving them, at the very least, is their paychecks. And, if I had my way, free Krispy Kreme donuts for life.
The basic pay for your average junior enlisted troop as of January 1st 2013 is about $2,000 per month. That is not a lot of money for someone who is enduring deployments and risking their lives and mental health at the behest of our country in the name of freedom. Our military is facing some of the worst military stresses we’ve ever seen as a nation, PTSD and TBI are no laughing matter and I would never make a joke about either of them. These men and women work hard for their paychecks, they are separated from their families, friends, and loved ones by thousands of miles, and most of them are counting on that next paycheck, especially in situations where both husband and wife are members of the department of defense. Now you’re not just cutting the family’s income in half. You’re cutting all of it. This money is greatly needed by these individuals. And now we’re threatening to take that away?
The current pay for a United States Congressman (or congresswoman, congressperson?) is $174,000 per year. That’s over 7 times what a junior enlisted soldier makes. I’m sure that $2,000 pay cut doesn’t seem like a lot to a member of the House of Representatives but for a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine that’s all they have. These brave individuals don’t own homes yet as many are in their late teens or 20s and we’re actually considering taking away what little compensation we provide them?
Are you kidding me?
C’mon, America, we’re better than that.
At least I hope we are.
Written By Nick Bente
Government Shutdown was first published at www.milehighthoughts.wordpress.com and has been posted with permission from the author
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