Editorial Comment — August 2013
What Now? ... What Then? ...
An open question to government — why are you busy digging the nation's military a deeper hole than it — and the vital industries that support it — should be expected to climb out of?
As the folks in the marketplace sit tight and refuse to panic while the Department of Defense (DoD) consults the Defense Business Board (DBB), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis (CSBA), etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, about how far the suits believe benefits for fiscally strapped servicemembers and retirees should be scaled back, a few thoughts are marching through some people's minds in the military and military resale ...
“WHY IS IT, for instance ... that if another country needs bailing out, our government always seems to have a fund to dip into to send money to assist it? Meanwhile, here the nation sits in the middle of a fiscal mess in the aftermath of the last 12 years of war, not to mention providing funding for corrupt regimes and some not very effective nation-building, and most of the talk focuses on trimming benefits ... even though so many wounded men and women are painfully rehabbing, and their families are trying to find new ways to make ends meet.”
“WHAT IF ... the country gets more deeply entangled in Syria, or Africa, or Korea or Iran ... after chipping away at all the troops' benefits, would the powers that be still expect the military to willingly go off to fight another six tours of duty?”
“WHAT WOULD YOU DO if, after risking life and limb for your country year after year — whether active duty, Guard/reserve, retired or combat wounded — you were stripped of the resale benefits you had been promised, because you happened to live in a metropolitan area?”
“WHAT HAPPENS in a lockdown, like the one that began in mid-morning on 9/11, and there are no on-base stores?”
“WHAT HAPPENS in a prolonged emergency or shortage or any other crisis and there are no on-base stores?”
“WHAT IF ... a casually promised discount from a national chain off base were substituted for the commissary or exchange benefits, and the chain's shareholders later decided they no longer wanted to run a benefit? How much would it cost to rebuild the commissary or exchange systems if that happened?”
If in a fit of shortsightedness, military resale is dismantled ... how many companies that have worked hard to support the system, and have covered expenses not included in appropriations, will be pushed out of business?
When up for election, you have often actively sought these companies' fund-raiser support. With their very existence threatened, you must certainly take a few minutes to consider how their loss would impact the economy.
As for asking servicemembers and their families to give up non-pay compensation benefits of long standing, put yourself in their boots-on-the-ground for a day.
Then ask yourself ... what financial sacrifices have you yourself made?