Oh, budget cuts. We military families cringe when we hear that in association with the military. Why do we see these cuts happen and why do they have to hurt so much? Why is cutting Tricare, housing and other benefits the best way to handle the budget?
I have been a military spouse for more than 10 years now and I have seen plenty of other ways to cut the budget instead of cutting where it hurts the most. That makes me wonder, why is the military an easy target for budget cuts?
One reader wrote this in a comment about proposed changes to the commissaries:
This is a reduction in benefits any way you look at it. Another pay cut. The military is an easy target since they aren’t allowed to be political.
Is this true? Is the military an easy target for cuts because the military is not allowed to be political? I think there is some truth to this but it isn’t the main reason.
The biggest reason is because few people in the government have a real connection to the military. You are more likely to make cuts to something you think that a small percentage of the population will actually be affected by.
Although military members themselves can not be political, others who are associated with the military and who care just as much can be. Spouses and those who have served in the past. Those with children serving or with parents who have served. They are people who can get political about the cuts.
Because of this, there has to be more to the cuts than just the fact that those who serve can’t be political.
When my husband joined the military, we didn’t know too many people who were also making that choice. Over the years that has changed as we have met more and more military families. However, when we go home we still feel like the minority when it comes to the military. This isn’t true for everyone of course. Others come from big military communities and have known the military life before they became a part of the service themselves.
The truth is, only 1 percent are serving and because of that, a lot of people don’t understand what we need. They don’t understand that when you sign up to fight for your country, you expect your family to be taken care of in return. That you shouldn’t have to worry that your health care will be cut, that services for your special needs kids will suddenly be taken away or that you have to worry that you will not make enough each month to support them.
If we could figure out a way to make sure everyone with the power to change this knows what military families need and what we don’t, things might change. If they could hear the voices of the military spouses and other family members, maybe they would find another way to make their cuts. If they could truly understand what the budget cuts do to the 1 percent serving in the military, maybe they would do something else.
This means that change needs to come from us, those that stand behind those serving in the military. We need to be aware of the changes that are being made and do what we can to stand up against them. This won’t always be easy and sometimes things will feel like we are not even making a difference, but the more people understand what military families need, the better chance we have for things to change.