I almost don't have the energy to type this blog post. This fiscal nightmare has been going on for so long, that it is more the norm, rather than the exception. Every year since 2009, Congress has been unwilling to pass a balanced budget on time. Every.Single.Year. Congress is responsible for many things, but it's number one priority, constitutionally speaking, is to pass a yearly budget. Since Obama has taken office, that has never happened on time. Not once!! I've already posted about this mess back in 2011 HERE. If you want to know what living overseas during a shut down looks like for military members, it's worth the read.
When the Congress left Washington on summer recess, they were not even remotely close to a budget agreement. And yet they still took 3 months off, with full pay!, for a summer vacation. How is it that they can get paid for not doing their job? While the military must "adapt", "make do", and "carry on" with benefit after benefit being reduced or abolished entirely, and now have the honor of working without pay as well??? How is this fair or just??
If Congress' pay is constitutionally protected, why can't ours be as well?? OR why can't their pay be hinged on the completion of a yearly budget? No budget, no pay! No budget passed by May, no paid vacation! Let them all be locked up on Capital Hill, fed MREs and bottled water, sleep on Army cots, and STAY THERE until a budget is passed and signed by the President. If it's good enough for our troops putting their lives on the line in the middle east and around the world, surely it's good enough for them too, right??? Instead of making self-righteous sound bites for the media, get your butt on the floor and talk with your fellow members to get it done!! This isn't "us against them", it isn't Democrat vs. Republican.....this is for the American people!!!!! And we deserve much more from our elected officials!
We are told to pay our taxes. We are told to pay our bills. We are told to live in a fiscally responsible manner. But the government? It's become a free-for-all, where only the lobbyists and special interest groups are winners. The little guy? (You know, 99.9% of us!) Yeah, we're just screwed!
If you think this shut down doesn't affect you, you're sadly mistaken. You might not be a military service member, or a federal employee, but this affects every single citizen of our country. This is YOUR government too, and this is only going to negatively impact our fragile economy.
For me? This really bites hard. We are still living overseas, and as such, our options are always limited. We have one place to buy groceries (the commissary), and one place to buy everything else (the PX - post exchange). If the government shuts down, our commissaries close. Think about that. What if you had no way to buy any groceries? The PX will most likely cut hours, but not close completely. Services not already cut by sequestration (and there are already more than I can even begin to list here!), will be suspended. With the government's sloppy handling of...well, just about everything!...but especially international affairs, our already weak dollar is taking a beating on international money markets. So getting euro to shop on the economy is a truly expensive alternative.
We will get paid on October 1st. Getting paid on October 15th is looking grim....or anytime after that until a budget is passed. We will literally be stranded in a foreign country, without money. And still required to work. Because you know, they'll get that money to us eventually.....
Congress has until close of business on Monday, September 30th to pass a budget, or at the very least a "floating budget" to prevent yet another government shut down. If you care at all about your country, your military, your Federal employees....CALL YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVES!!! Call your House Representatives and your Congressman!!! Tell them it's just not acceptable to leave our military service members holding the bag for their incompetence!!!!! Our military put their lives on the line every day, for you! Don't they at least deserve the pay and benefits they've been promised??? Is your freedom and safety worth a few moments to make a phone call or email on their behalf?? I'm desperately hoping it is! Please, I'm begging you, make the time to call and/or write them!
Link for contacting the President: HERE
Link for contacting your Congressional Rep: HERE
Link for contacting your House Rep: HERE