Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Friday, April 8, 2011

Held Hostage by the US Government!

My good friend, Jeannie is a military wife and they are currently stationed in Italy....peachy assignment I thought...until I read this and realized how the government's lack of budget would affect our military.  I have been sitting here worrying about budgets of the state of Alabama as a teacher....when I should have been worried about the bigger picture.  I had another post idea set up for today....but after reading Jeannie's post this morning I felt I had to address this issue.  She asked us to share her post and I was going to just paraphrase it at the end of my post....but the more I thought about it on my way to work...the more I knew that I had to post it in it's complete form.  I know I only have 83 followers....but I began thinking...those 83 people...know people...and those people know more here it is!
"It can't have escaped your notice that the US government is finding it difficult to do it's job again. It seems to be a chronic illness that gets worse, rather than better, over time. Democrats blame Republicans. Republicans blame Democrats. Everyone looks to the President to be a leader. Well....with this particular congress and this particular President, we all might just be out of luck.
The possible government shutdown:  This is bad, folks. Really, really, no-kidding-around BAD! Our country's tenuous hold on economic stability literally hangs in the balance at this point in time. And all we're getting for our tax dollars is rhetoric! So much for talk being cheap!! We could talk and talk and talk about this all day long (like they do!), but I'm going to show you what this means to me and my family. Just to bring a bit of reality and clarity home to you.  IF the government doesn't pass a budget by midnight tonight (EST), OR passes a temporary bill to "float" the government, then it will be shut down. This will have immediate and dire direct consequences for us. It will mean:
 * Our April 15th paycheck will only be HALF of what it normally is, and only HALF of what we've earned.
* Our Commissary (the only store we have to buy groceries) will immediately shut down.
* Our Post Exchange (the only store we have to buy everything else) will immediately shut down.
* All of our Shoppettes (mini PX's) will immediately shut down.
* All "non-essential" services will immediately close: Health Clinic, Child Development Centers, JAG, Education Center, Gyms, Chow Halls, shuttle buses, Youth Services, EVERYTHING short of police and fire departments!
IF the government does shut down, and then doesn't pass a budget by April 15th, we will not get paid on May 1st. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. So that half paycheck on the 15th, is now supposed to stretch for four weeks. This is a very real, very scary possibility for every single military family in our country!!!
Now if you're a military family in the states, you have a few options. You don't have to only use the Commissary or PX to shop - you have all kinds of discount stores available to you, as well as a myriad of local/state/federal social services for emergencies. Being overseas, we don't. You can't use your credit or debit cards on the economy here, so you will have to use cash. And when your cash is gone, it's gone. Families that rely on WIC coupons to make ends meet, will be unable to redeem them. So we will have very limited resources, with very limited opportunities to use them, and we have no idea how long this situation will last.  Official word came down the chain of command yesterday, advising all families to curb all unnecessary spending because the shut down was looking more and more as a likelihood, rather than a possibility. Want to know what panic looks like?? It looks like a young mother, with a deployed husband, trying to corral two shopping carts and three small children while vainly trying to find the appropriate sized juice bottles in order to redeem as many WIC coupons as possible as the Commissary might be closed the next day! It looks like a longgggg line in the PX to buy fuel coupons (we buy 100 liter booklets of fuel coupons - currently priced at $114.00 - to buy gas at $4.32/gal rather than on the economy at $8.78/gal), because we have to drive now, as the shuttle buses will no longer be running and no one can afford gas on the economy. It's frantic and it's sad.........and it's so freaking, completely avoidable!!!! This is a MAN MADE disaster!!!!  So that's the dilemma. You have whatever monies you have available now, and a half paycheck coming in a week. And that might be it. And everything is going to close. Don't spend anything? Or stock up on what you can? How much do you spend? What do you get? We did decide to go out last night after Thomas got home from work. It was chaos. There was next to no fresh meat or dairy, and the frozen aisles were hit hard too. Everyone was stressed, all the kids were crying, and the cashiers were harried. Rumors were swirling like a snow storm. There was serious talk about the PX running out of printed gas coupons. It was a nightmare.  Luckily for us, we are a bit better off than many military families. We don't live paycheck to paycheck, and have a more comfortable standard of living than many. But we sure aren't rich, and we sure haven't "budgeted" for not getting paid! We will be OK until the 1st. If this mess isn't resolved by then, we are going to be seriously in the shit. SERIOUSLY, SERIOUSLY IN THE SHIT! I'm really trying hard to keep calm, keep it together, not worry in advance, etc, etc, etc. Mostly it's not working. We had planned to visit Venice this weekend, and the Bavarian region of Germany next weekend. Because we had PLANNED for it. Because we had BUDGETED for it. Because we're mature adults who take care of business! All travel has now been postponed - again! Instead we have a very full chest freezer, overflowing cupboards and a month's worth of fuel coupons - purchases made a month in advance.  But those young families? The ones that don't have any credit, or savings, or much left over from last paycheck? They're just going to be out of luck. The government doesn't care. There's nothing here for them to turn to for help. It's up to the soldiers and company leaders to make sure everyone is staying afloat. We have to take care of ourselves, because as usual, our government can't be bothered with taking care of us. We're just here to fight their wars. Still.  We don't ask for much, and we rarely complain. We do, however, expect to get paid!
This is the budget for Fiscal Year 2011 which started on October 1, 2010!!! This was supposed to have been completed six months ago! So we're talking about coming up with a budget for six months. This isn't rocket science, people! I don't want to hear your crap....just get it done and get it done on time. Period. Shut up and get to work!! If I were in charge, I would literally lock you all up in the capital building, away from all your family and friends, make you sleep on Army cots, feed you nothing but MREs and bottled water and keep you there until you finished this. You know, like our military does day in and day out, for 12 months at a time! Your pay may be constitutionally guaranteed, but ours isn't.
One pissed off, stressed-out, no longer going to Venice this weekend thanks to you, Army Wife
Thanks Jeannie for making me aware of this major league problem.  I didn't know....and you know...sometimes ignorance is bliss.  Have a wonderful weekend...and think of all those men and women who are protecting you on foreign soil tonight and say a prayer for them....and their families.

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Queenie Jeannie said...

Thanks hun for helping to get the word out. Although the "deadline" of midnight hasn't yet come, it's already too late to save our paychecks. Our pay on the 15th has already been cut in half. If they don't pass a budget within one week, our next paycheck will be zero.

Personally, we're ok until the first. I will not be able to pay bills, buy food or get gas after that point. This honestly was not something we could have prepared for in our wildest dreams.

Love Bears All Things said...

Well thankfully this c risis was abated....we were concerned also with our son deployed and his family living in Texas...if we're going to have a military and ask the ultimate sacrifice of them then we have to support them....
Also, we have the Arsenal here which employs many folks...anything like this always trickles down and effects us all eventually...I compare our Government's Debt to Credit Card debt....they just keep charging without ever paying anything on the principal.
As for the cuts in education...they're messing with our future when they rob our kids of what they need to learn...
Mama Bear