Friday, April 8, 2011

Held Hostage by the US Government!

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!

To the President & Congress:

GET TO WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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


Ally said...

I read it. I got FIRED UP all over again. And I put it on FB with urgent instructions: "If you only read (and re-post) ONE blog post in the next 24 hours, it should be THIS ONE!..." In the morning, I will put it all over Twitter and then start sending it to my usual news sources like I did today...CNN iReport, Rachel Maddow, Huffington Post, Roll Call, my rep and senators, as well as Obama. This will go viral like I did today if I have anything to do with it. Thank you darling! I could never have said it bettah!! xoxo

KatCollects said...

I'm with you sweetie. I am so sorry that this is happening and causing so much stress to so many military families. As you know Matthew is still in Iraq, and his wife moved to Hawaii a few weeks ago and rented them a home, which costs money, which is not going to get paid for if his pay stops. They are just starting their life together and this is not a stress either of them need. Sending hugs your way.

Unknown said...

I can't even think about this because they are sure as hell going to collect their full over blown paychecks while getting the normal perks of the job that they can't even do. If you weren't so family friendly I would be cussing up a storm.

Sueann said...

Oh! I am so mad!!! And for all of you, this is unconscionable!!! How dare they be so arrogant as to play with people lives like this!!!
I am so sorry that you all have to be stressed like this!!!
All I can do is sit here and fume and pray that this mess will get straightened out.
Hugging you

Sandy said...

I am absolutely horrified that our government could allow this to happen. ((Big hugs))

Evonne said...

This whole situation is crap! It seems like it's all about one side blaming the other and not taking into consideration what can happen to people.

A friend of mine is a stay-at-home mom. If nothing is signed by midnight, her husband doesn't go to work next week. It might not be as scary as your situation, or other military families, but it's still bad.

joe tacoma said...

Add me to the list of the frustrated. Our political system has devolved into a carefully orchestrated blame game.

Mary said...

I started getting mad about this last month when they waited til the last mintute to sign the current extension that expires TODAY!!

This sucks more than most people can imagine...and it is going to ruin the economies surrounding EVERY military base that depends on civilian jobs, and for those military families to spend their money!

Eric and I scrimped and saved to have a 8 months mortgage b/c we plan to rent out our house next month....and his job depends on us having a good credit score!

I want to know WHO is going to be in charge of fixing all these families credit scores when they get evicted, foreclose, & have their cars reposses??

If the military doesn't get paid, then why should Congress, the Senate, or even the President?? They are resposible, and get paid for making these decisions...if they can't, they shouldn't get paid!

Anonymous said...

Hey there jeannie, this is just so heartbreaking and it makes me sick to think of every since I have heard about this Government shutdown. I feel so badly for all the military families and it hits close to home here with my daughters husband in the Army and this is all the thanks they get. You know the world is going to crap when the men and women out there fighting for US and this is how they get treated. Im praying and keeping my fingers crossed HUGS

Amanda said...

The exchanges will still be open, but not that it does us any good. We don't need household goods. We NEED food, and the commissary should be open. They have that way backwards.

I've been discussing this for a month, but of course until a couple days ago, I was crazy.

Rita said...

So sorry!! Glad you have stocked up and food and goods. But so sorry this is happening. My prayers and thoughts are with all of you.

Kristina P. said...

I am so sorry. It really is all just so shocking.


I did not know how it would affect you....I posted your post in it's complete form as my blog post today.

Carolynleigh said...

That's horrible!!!!

Audra said...

It looks like they are anticipating this shut down. I just checked Mypay and my husbands pay is only half of what it is usually. So frustrating!!!

Heatherlyn said...

You know, I think that congress people who can't pass a budget should not get paid themselves. Period. For the rest of their term. And all their retirement benefits disappear. Forever. The end. I am very very sorry. :(

Kari said...

This is simply ridiculous! I hope you don't mind, but I linked your post to my blog, to get the message out!

Brooke said...

too bad we don't get off the hook for those days the government is shut down. surely if they aren't at work we shouldn't have to pay as much right.


hopefully this mess gets cleaned up quickly for your sake.

Mary said...

Wow. That's a completely different perspective. I've never thought about all of that before. It's ridiculous that the parties are arguing and not getting anything done. UGH!

Mimi said...

What a scary, awful mess. I did read that congress gets paid if there is a shut-down. What a surpise, huh?

Praying for you,

AliceKay said...

It's sad to know so many families will suffer the consequences of the ineptness of our elected officials. The President and all of the members of Congress should go without pay or benefits just as they expect the military and their families to do. Their inability to pass this long overdue budget is ridiculous. Let's hope they can get this resolved before the deadline tonight.

Sending hugs your way, Jeannie, and my thoughts and prayers go out to every member of our military family.

Vickie said...

Jeannie saw this on Sandy's facebook page and had to see ya. Hope this whole mess gets fixed soon. It is complete crap and I swear the higher ups suck:(

Haven't been blogging much. I just post once a week for my Stamp-n-Doodle dt work. Been out of it for a while.

Intense Guy said...

Our "commander in chief" wouldn't know what leadership was if he tripped over it - unless leading the line to a taxpayer paid for vacation counts.

They all need to be fired without benefits and pensions.