I am a pessimistic military spouse. In my heart, I want to believe that when Americans say “support our troops” that this statement means more than buying a reservist a cheeseburger for lunch and putting a camouflaged bumper sticker on the back of their Buicks.
I want to believe that their support for the U.S. military means that they will choose to sacrifice for those who volunteered to serve in the Armed Forces.
Their civilian sacrifice means that they demand that service members receive an annual pay increase every year. It means that Americans pay higher taxes so that a disabled veteran has free health care for the rest of his life. Supporting our military means that Americans encourage their representatives to cut other benefits (services that will directly impact their well-being) so that military families can afford to buy food at an overseas military commissary or have the option of living off-base.
But that’s not reality.
We live in a country where the leadership at the Pentagon proposed cutting benefits for the military. I thought those top ranking officials were appointed to fight for the interests of everyone in the military, from the youngest recruit to the oldest World War II veteran. Earlier this month, the House Armed Services personnel subcommittee voted unanimously to leave intact the current military health care system, the housing allowance and much of the Pentagon’s $1.4 billion in direct subsidies to the commissaries. The news shocked me. It pleased me. Then I remembered the subcommittee’s recommendations are a long way from the President’s desk. We’ll see what version of the defense budget and which reductions reach the chopping block this summer. See, I really am a pessimist. But I am a patriotic pessimist.
MilitaryShoppers wants to hear from you: Why should Congress support military benefits?
Post your answer in the comments section between Thursday, May 15 and Tuesday, May 20 to be entered to win a $50 military commissary gift card, courtesy of MilitaryShoppers.