After the budget insanity in March, we thought it was over.† But on websites devoted to military spouses and their concerns, the questions have popped up again. †As SpouseBuzz put it† “Will We Still Get Paid?”† Veterans groups including IAVA have been attending meetings, making phone calls; their members are terrified that the benefit checks won’t be there, that the tightrope they already walk would suddenly break. As my son who is a veteran with a disability said “this sure doesn’t help the stress level.”
While in Afghanistan last week, Admiral Mullen (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) was asked not about the pullback, not about reductions in force, but the budget problems. Admiral Mullen told the troops at Camp Leatherneck
“The discussion really centers on providing by law an increase in the debt ceiling so the United States can pay its bills,” the chairman said. “And the bills really run the full spectrum. I really don’t know the answer to the question to how, if we default, how that will work out.”
Holding off on pre-deployment purchases
This resonates strongly with me.† Today my husband’s latest deployment became official as he flew “downrange.”† The trunk is packed to be mailed, †the calendar is ready for the first day to be marked off.† While he was home on leave, we were looking at new cell phones, but we waited — after all, if he doesn’t get paid, it’s not a crucial purchase.† We’ve held off on other purchases — as have other members of military families that Iíve talked to.† †There’s the trickle down effect for non-military folks as well; the local businesses here that survive because of military family purchases were not as busy this weekend!† Banks that cater to military families, including USAA, are getting ready to help their members.† After all, if we don’t get paid, we aren’t paying our bills, our mortgages, our insurance, our car payments.† More trickle down.† For many members of the military , non payment of bills and the resultant “dings” on the credit rating can mean problems with the employer and security clearances!
Now that we have a deal (maybe/hopefully) we are looking at the specter of military cuts, according to military.com — 350 billion in cuts† — but we wonder how we are going to survive cuts while we are still in two wars!† Until it is passed, signed and voted on, we are still holding back; still waiting on purchases. We wonder why the Congress wears little flag pins and has pictures of themselves with returning soldiers on their websites, but they aren’t able to pass any of the legislation designed to protect military and survivors pay.† We wonder why our pay and our benefits are being held hostage by both parties during their displays of† brinksmanship;† while we are still going through continuing deployments with no real end in sight.