July 09, 2003

Our government at work...

Last night while I was at school, I discovered that Tom Brown has another blog on the Seattle Times. I was happy to find it since I like his writing and he always has some good links to read. Sadly, I can't click on most of those links at school (blocked) but I read the filler info around them. I was shocked to find this link. And I read it this morning. And now I am pissed. Way. Pissed.

Specifically (because not everyone clicks on links, especially those that start with Army Times...) this:

For example, the White House griped that various pay-and-benefits incentives added to the 2004 defense budget by Congress are wasteful and unnecessary including a modest proposal to double the $6,000 gratuity paid to families of troops who die on active duty. This comes at a time when Americans continue to die in Iraq at a rate of about one a day.

Similarly, the administration announced that on Oct. 1 it wants to roll back recent modest increases in monthly imminent-danger pay (from $225 to $150) and family-separation allowance (from $250 to $100) for troops getting shot at in combat zones.

OK, swearing coming up, so stop reading if you can't handle it...

What. The. Fuck? Is this what I have to look forward to when he deploys? One of the ONLY things that eases some of the pain of a deployment is the small bit of extra money that we'd be getting. And it looks like that amount is about to get even smaller. So let's recap, shall we? His take home pay is just about a thousand dollars, twice a month. No, you read that right. Yes, we have the max allowable going into our IRAs and some insurance allotments, which is the main reason that the pay is so much lower. We have car payments for both cars. Credit card debt that we're desperately trying to pay off before he retires. Yes, we still have the luxury of cable since it is my one vice at two in the morning. Sue me. There are also the various small bills that nickel and dime us to death...phone, insurance for the cars, vet bills for the cats, groceries, gas. I get paid about half of what he gets paid. Yes, I made the choice to go back to part time while he was deployed so that the wildchild had someone home when she came back from school. (And yes, she did pass the 7th grade by the skin of her teeth) Yes, I'm still looking for a full-time daytime job that I can do, and looking harder now that I know he's leaving. We were counting on some of that extra money to not only help with the credit card bits but to also allow me to take a lower paying day job if I have to. I'm not kidding when I say that I will NOT be working evenings when he deploys. I can't. The fucking lectures about not answering my cell phone while my child is home alone? The dramatics about how they were "bending over backwards" to allow me to go home an hour early every day? So not fucking worth it. Not at all. I'll find something.

My point is this...what does the government think it is doing right now? It has pulled and tugged and stretched the military so thin right now that there is real danger of breakage. Breakage in the form of people leaving in droves. I know my husband has already put in his retirement papers. He knows a lot of others who have done the same. Many lower enlisted soldiers are opting to get out at ten years (no benefits then) rather than stay in and know that they will spend the majority of the next ten being deployed. What is this saying about our military? Our government? It is saying this...that you (the government) have taken advantage of our patriotism and love of this country for far too long now. My husband has sacrificed his time and education to do his job far beyond the expectations of his superiors. For this he wasn't selected for promotion this year. For this he turned in his retirement paperwork and asked to be treated like most other soldiers that do so...move him to another job on base so that he has time to set his affairs in order, do some job and home searching, perhaps finish up his education. What is going to happen instead? He'll be deployed. It is a little hard to search for jobs when you are on the other side of the world. It is a little hard to have all the conversations that need to be had. Like where are were going to go? What are we going to do for jobs? No, if we're lucky we might get a month to do all of that. And move.

Thank you for your twenty-one years of service...now bend over so we can fuck you one last time.

Posted by rowEn at 10:39 AM | Comments (1)