Saturday, December 28, 2013

Clearing Things up with a Few Facts #4

 Yes, #4! I was chatting with my hubby yesterday and he told me I need to go through this entire article. We are both quite tired of news sources only getting a part of the facts correct. So onto #4
There's the article again, I'll move onto the next paragraph....

"The force also gets what the Pentagon calls "quality of life" benefits, like help paying for continuing education, separate schools in some places for their children, commissaries where they buy food at an estimated 30 percent below retail prices and exchanges where they buy other deeply discounted goods like clothing and household items. Greatly discounted day care is available through the department's child development system, which officials say has grown to serve the largest number of kids daily among the nation's employers — now that more than half of the 1.4 million-member force is married and they have 1.2 million children."

Let's chat about the "quality of life" benefits our service members receive. Seriously why wouldn't we want to give our troops a great quality of life? They are constantly asked to leave their lives behind for us. They just sign on a few lines and leave everything they've ever known. Why wouldn't we want to make sure they have everything they need and more while they are serving our nation? Let me assure you once they retire or leave the service we are all thrown to the wolves, so we really should take care of them.

Continuing education is the first "benefit" that is mentioned. How do you build a better nation? You educate them. How do you build a better military? You educate them. Why wouldn't we want to help them get an education? Our military will take their knowledge back to their community and can help develop a better world. Why wouldn't we help them pay for education?! If we invest in their education, we are also investing in their citizenship. We are making them better Americans. We are saying thank you for your service by giving them the chance at a better education.

"Separate schools in some places for their children" is the next up. What the article fails to mention is that our military sends some of our military families to places where there are no schools near by. Again are we going to argue against paying for education?

The commissaries are up next. I don't shop at the commissary anymore. Why? Honestly because I spend more when I am there. I see a good deal and stock up and then my family ends up not eating it and I am wasting the money. Second, I haven't gotten too lazy. Maybe it's too busy, busy sounds better, huh? I have to plan for the commissary. I would rather plan meals, make a list and shop at Publix because it is closer and the people there are always so nice. Also when I went to the commissary they didn't carry a lot of things when eat in this house. This is also the reason I don't shop at Walmart anymore.

This article fails to mention that the commissaries sustain themselves, Military patrons keep the commissaries operating. The commissary charges a small overhead to keep itself running and yes the government does kick in some money. However the commissaries are not fully paid for by the government and they have to return excess proceeds over to the DOD. I find it hard to believe that cutting commissaries is going to save an overly abundant amount of tax dollars. And the article fails to mention many of our military family members work at the commissaries. So if we close the commissaries we also cut jobs. This is definitely not a win-win cut.

Now onto the "greatly discounted day care" they mention. Deryn attended their hourly care there in 2003-4. They were wonderful and professional. I can't remember how much it cost, but I found a part-day preschool that was closer to us and cheaper. I have several tax clients who send their children to the CDC (Child Development Center) here. I also have lots of clients who use regular day care. I can assure you our CDC is not what I would call "greatly discounted." Is it discounted? Yes, but not in a "great" way from what I have seen.

Now CYS (Child Youth Services) I know offers free day care for the families of the wounded. Why? Because we need someone to watch our kids while we spend 3-6 hours at appointments, PT and OT. That is what I would call "greatly discounted." Perhaps that is what they were referring to?

I love that they mention "more than half of the 1.4 million-member force is married and they have 1.2 million children." But they don't mention the divorce rate or what our marriages and children go through. I read the other day that 82% of marriages that have experienced a combat related injury end in divorce within 3-6 years of injury. I cannot remember where I read that, but I did remember this article.

"Certainly many, perhaps a majority of military couples have relationships as strong as their civilian counterparts. Yet in one measure of trouble, divorces among active-duty enlisted troops have increased from about 34,000 a year in 2000 to almost 50,000 in 2011, according to Defense Department records." You cannot say a decade of war didn't have a big effect on the "quality of life" of our troops.

Chaz and I are in a unique club. Not many military marriages make it past the 10 year mark. The military life is exhausting. You constantly have to readjust to your life. Your service member comes in and goes out. You get a routine set and they come and change it. Then add the combat injuries, it's exhausting.

Our children develop abandonment issues. They have nightmares because their friend's father was killed in action. They start sleepwalking because they are looking for Daddy in their dreams.They have anger issues for a multitude of reasons. The list goes on and on.

So yes we have a few "quality of life" benefits from being the dependent of a service member. Grab a spouse like myself and ask me if I'd give them all back if the government can take back my husband's PTSD? Or how about they give him back his legs and elbow? Can they take the memories of the IED blast that hurt my husband out of his soldiers' minds? I'll happily give you back all of the "quality of life" benefits for a normal 9-5 job with weekends off. But wait someone is going to tell me "I knew what we signed up for....."

1 comment:

  1. Hope the right people are reading all of these!
    Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
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