Your Military Life on the Fiscal Cliff


When we asked our Facebook fans last week what topics they think we should be talking about here on SpouseBuzz, a whole hill of people responding “budget cuts.” And why wouldn’t they? When members of Congress start blathering on about “sequestration” and “defense cuts” and “the fiscal cliff,” most Americans have a hard time figuring out what that stuff means to them.

But not military families.

Military families know that the federal budget is our life blood – and not just because it is our paycheck. It’s the programs our children attend. It’s our ability to shop at the commissary. It’s the body armor our spouses wear, the weapons they use and the vehicles they drive.

The federal budget is everything.

So it makes sense that we’re worried about it. It makes sense that we know that this is going to make a difference in our day to day lives.

It would also make sense if, like the people in this school, programs managers on bases and posts around the country are already starting to scale back. I’m wondering (and even hoping a little – because that’s how small-scale it was) if the particular lameness of a “Winter Wonderland” here on Fort Campbell, in place of the normal extravagance, this past weekend isn’t to blame on belt tightening.

And yet getting program managers to pony up to the fact that they are cutting at all is really hard.

And so I need you.

You are our eyes and ears on the ground. You see what is being cut, what is no longer available. You know what programs you can’t use, who scaled back their hours, who isn’t open anymore and where you can no longer take your kids.  Take our poll below and weigh in …


And then please, pretty please, tell us in the comments: what have you seen? We’ll follow-up with your base or post, and possibly include them in a story we’re doing on how the budget cuts impact you.

Give us a hand? Thanks.

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of’s spouse and family blog A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.

103 Comments on "Your Military Life on the Fiscal Cliff"

  1. On Cherry Point, things like grass cutting on base and in housing are being scaled back, we are likely losing our bowling alley also. Last year they tried to do away with the pools, but there was a lot of push back, and so they stopped cutting grass to keep the pools open. Seems like a good trade to me. Those are just the start.

      • My thoughts continued ( I am long winded)
        By you the neighborhood, doing the work, you can develop responsibility in your kids and a sense of ownership for all, in your domain, while building character in the next generation. The competencies needed to groom and preserve a lifestyle/home come from a sense of belonging and that means taking ownership, while expressing a character of humility, and faith that we as Americans have all learned over the years, and wear on our sleeve for the world to see.
        When I was in the Coast Guard, we (in most cases Enlisted) performed the tasks you have spoken of, we may not have always liked it but we always took ownership and responsibly for our surroundings, which gave us a sense of Pride. The Politian’s, bureaucrats, and MEDIA left us alone it wasn’t a matter of human rights then, it was our duty.
        Sorry if I sound like I am lecturing, I am just sharing my thoughts!
        God Bless you all for what you do!

    • I know SAS and Daycare Fees went up!! Commissary prices went up!!

  2. Here on Andrews AFB we lost our bowling alley, movie theater, and auto hobby shop this year. The library is gone in 2013. The base parks and other areas are all run down and in need of work. It is sad to see really.

  3. sarah i agree we need to keep the military running. trust me married soldiers make well over their single counterparts. BAH and BAS anyone. If you cant manage yourself without it go to financial counseling.

    • BAS is given to every servicemember. The enlisted all get the same amount and the officers get a different amount. BAS is specifically given to feed the servicemember and has nothing to do with their marital status or number of dependents.

    • Additionally, the difference between the BAH w/dep rates and the BAH w/o dep rates is fairly small. For example, in NC for an E5 the rate w/dep is $1173 and the rate w/o dep is $909. The difference is $264 dollars. I don't consider that well over the single people.

    • stop whining if the military wants you to have a family they'll issue you one.

      • Oh, I'm not whining. I'm just pointing out that your initial statement lacks truth and you may want to do a little research before parroting what you hear from people bitching about pay.

      • I joined BECAUSE I was getting married, so my family DID come with my seabag. Don't try to pull that fecal matter on me.

      • Oh Dan, that is so smart of you. Lets return to the glory days of officers and their families in on base housing and enlisted folk with no one stuck in barracks.

  4. I have worked at the Army level command for several years, and what struck me as odd when I first got there was the number of DOD Contractors that were in positions that could have been filled with soldiers. I also agree that we can and should make a lot of spending cuts, but lets start letting soldiers do the jobs they were trained for instead of hiring in civilians to do the job. If you are ever deployed, have you noticed that the cooks are all contracted? The cooks who do work at the DFAC are there in a strictly supervisory roll only. So we pay our cooks to watch cooks cook. Sounds like we could eliminate one of those positions. Again make cuts and scale back where needed, but lets make sure that were not cutting needed positions.

  5. So, is the Army to be a career path only for officers and enlisted single folk who have nothing better to do with their lives? My my, I feel like such a drain on society Dan so I guess I will get a divorce so I can keep serving. Oh wait, I can do you better. I will do something horrible like tell an officer a college degree does not make you officer material and get a BCD. Then you won’t have to worry about paying for my retirement with taxes. Let’s save that for generals like Mr Ward. It is so sad, getting busted from 4 to 3 stars. But, he will still gross over $150K a year. PATHETIC.

  6. Mr Ward just might be able to pay his fair share, as long as the dumbocrats have their way with the fiscal talks. Evil rich guy! What was he thinking, like he has the right to achieve personal wealth?

  7. but you notice that congress doesn't take any hits at all………………………

  8. True, how could they vote themselves a pay cut anyways. They vote themselves a pay raise like working 150 days or so a year i hard to do. And complain that enlisted end strength is too high and their retirements too costly.

    • Excuse me, did you say they work 150 days a year? They may be there, but it doesn't seem like they are doing much work, except watching out for themselves.

  9. robertabbott | December 4, 2012 at 3:58 pm |

    All this talk about a fiscal cliff offers up two scenarios, the executive branch and the leglislative branch of government can either join hands like Robert Redford and Paul Newman did in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and jump. Fortunately there was water below to cushion their fall or like Wiley Coyote chasing the Road Runner, they can just go over the cliff and plummet into the abyss. Meanwhile what's a military family to do other than walk on egg shells and have endless moments of anxiety coupled with night sweats. What was that old saying about "tough times don't last always…tough people do. I guess we will all find out in January how valid the old saying was.

  10. We all need to remember one thing, we chose to be here! It is an all volunteer military. The government does not owe us anything other than a paycheck. Yes, programs for kids are nice, shopping at the Commissary is nice, the pools are nice, and so-on. But, they are not owed to us! If some servicemen/women and spouses would stop treating the military like welfare, we might all be ok! How can you serve in the military and still get food stamps? I have seen it and it disgusted me!! We need to get out of the mindset that the government owes us or has to do everything for us. People need to quit being "sheeple"! That frame of mind is what got us into this mess to begin with. It you can't live without all the extra's of military life than it is time for you to go!

    • Yes you chose to be there, but you have to admit that management (Congress, White House, etc.) is getting a sweet deal while screwing over its security teams (military, CIA, FBI, etc.) and their families. Why should management get to keep 100% retirement and benefits after one term when you have to work 20 years for just half or 83% max at 35 years? The guys at the top are saying that everyone needs to cut back but they sure as heck are not putting their pay or pensions on the line for cutbacks. A bit one sided isn't it? I wonder, how much would be saved by altering the pay and retirement scales of all current and former politicians but cutting theirs in half?

    • Very true! No one is twisting anyones army to stay. Just because there were/are "perks" doesent mean its going to stay like that til the end of time.

    • No the Military does not owe us but if I remember right they PROMISED us these benifits so why wouldn't we screem when they look like they will be taken away. I gave the Military 21 years of my life so I want to keep what they PROMISED me. I will fight like h___ for my retirement benifits.

    • No sir greed got us here put the blame where it should be and the rest is called Survival I have worked two part time jobs with being in the military and its the reason why so many of us just get out its no longer anything to be proud of its sickening the way the soldiers are now being treated.

  11. Budget cuts are needed. I recently had a conversation with a soldier who is getting out of the military due to back issues. (Medically discharged) He was telling me that he is going to have a sleep study done too so that he can beef up his disability. Needless to say I was disgusted. This guy has never deployed and the back injury is from a previous car accident prior to the military. He goes to Bush Gardens and rides roller coasters though. I say we take a budget cut with the Malingering soldiers. Taking advantage of the assistance for soldiers who are truly injured.

    • My husband is currently active duty on rear d since he just came back from a deployment. He says he is with a lot of "broken" soldiers. He is going to be 43 and says he is disgusted by the lengths that some soldiers go to get higher disability payments. There needs to be better regulations to help cut spending and keep the programs for soldiers who are doing the right thing.

  12. All the talk of pay cuts, closing down facilities on post to save money. Well how about the military
    community in general, start a volunteer program and do the work themselvws to improve the post/base
    to their satisfaction or better.
    Then get rid of the civilians that work on post like the ID section, finance, etc. Get our soldiers back in the game like back in the day when every MOS was covered to do the work. Let our soldiers do it again and our dependents can work the commissary, Post Exchange, swimming pools, gyms, etc. Its our turn to pay back the military.

    • I know quite a few dependents who volunteer their time for child care, etc., but if Cherry Point didn't hire civilians we'd only have military living here in the area. I have civilians tell me all the time how thankful they are that they were hired to work on base because there was no where else in the area they could get a job.

    • Those you are naming about getting rid of are in most part federal civil service employees. They are the backup for the military when they are deployed. In most part you don't send civilians into war zones, they take care of the home bases when the military have to leave. I served in the military for 22 yearsk, and have been retired 31 years. and yes, in many jobs the military has been replaced or reduced to some degree, these are considered soft core positions.

    • Amazingly, volunteers are prohibited BY LAW from doing some jobs AND soldiers are also prohibited BY LAW from doing other jobs. WTH!

  13. Here at Elmendorf we have lost our enlisted club, our auto hobby shop, and our arts and crafts store. Honestly, we are adjacent to a good sized city, so while those things were nice to have they were mostly inferior to what is available off base with but with inconvenient hours. Services like that make much more sense on true overseas bases, where they are appreciated and utilized and can turn a true profit.

    Meanwhile, budget cuts cancelled a training deployment for the F-22s earlier this year, and the guys working on the planes went without filters for their respirators for weeks because there wasn’t money in their budget to buy more until the next fiscal year. Meanwhile, airmen staff the front desk at military hotels, the gyms, and medical clinics. Those jobs could be done at an hourly rate by civilians for so much less money!

    I also agree with the previous poster that it is bs for military families to have food stamps and WIC. If you choose to be a stay at home mom but you can’t afford food on one income, then why should I work to buy your family groceries? Get a job! It’s often the families on assistance taking all sorts of trips to visit family and going on extended vacations. They game the system and don’t seem to feel any guilt over the rest of us working to fund their lifestyle.

    • I agree! And many (not all, but many) times the same people on WIC have a motorcycle sitting in the driveway, the latest gaming console and the newest iPhone. So irritating! Tax payers are already paying for your salary and you also expect them to pay for free food?!

  14. Boricua0427 | December 5, 2012 at 2:36 am |

    I totally agree the wives of soldiers should find a job., most of them all they do is stay home and enjoy all the privileges earned by their spouses male or female. I served 20 years in the USARMY and my wife worked all the time. We were never handed anything they need to go back and check out how we did it in the old school. And you civilians need to stay away from all these entitlements, this is not the America I fought for, love and grew up in, it is a shame where are heading.

    • what jobs??? i live in an area where jobs are very hard to come by and it doesn't matter if you have a college degree or not. my husband joined the air force later in life b/c he wanted to do special forces so when he enlisted we already had two children. he took a paycut to follow his dream and now as a lowly a1c we still manage to pay all our bills, put organic food on the table, gas in our car, and clothes on our back without the help of any assistance or credit cards. i would love to go back to work but the cost of childcare in this area would make it pointless.

  15. What I find interesting is everyone seems to willing to give stuff up on our level when things at higher levels are costing the military much more. My husband works for a unit that is run pretty much by a civilian who just ordered a $16,000 computer that can not be used because although it was authorized it is not cleared to be used by the IT guys on their network–and probably never will be. So basically, that computer is sitting in storage. A $16,000 paperweight. Nice, huh. My questions are, "Why is there a civilian running something that should be run by someone in the military? How did this person get authorization to order something that could not even be used–something that was fairly expensive? Why aren't these problems being looked into?" Accountability needs to be taken everywhere not just things taken away.

    • See my response to the topic- aligns with yours. Too many civilians with their hands in the cookie jar.

    • The reason is congress, has designated certain positions within the military that will be designated civilian billets. That means only civilians can be placed in those positions. As for the civilian that purchased a $16,000 computer and can't use it. All software and computers are suppose to go through a process – board that approves new systems to be purchased. IT is suppose to coordinate on the purchase request before it can be bought. At least that is the way it worked in the AF. The reason I know is because I was responsible for purchasing and maintaing some 80 laptops, and 60 desk top computers. I also ran into a problem like the one you mentioned about a expensive laptop ($10,000), that could be connected to our server because it wasn't a classified computer. I could only allow it to be signed out and used when individuals in my unit went TDY.

    • Karletta Hart | December 13, 2012 at 11:51 am |

      Speaking of civilians working on base!! We now have Civilians, as Gate Guard's at most bases now!!! Sorry folks, I don't like it. How do u know these gate guards are not letting Terrorists on base and not know it!!! I don't know the requirements for using a civilian at the gate, but, I would rather have someone in uniform checking my ID, to see if i am legally suppose to be able to get on base. Comment, Please!

  16. You want to know were the cuts can occur? Just walk over to the installation's contracting office and they will give you a long list of crazy stuff they have to buy that can be cut. How about scaling back all those P-cards and allow contracting specialist to negotiate lower prices through leveraging.

  17. Boricua0427 | December 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm |

    Sarah I am so tired of your BS put on a uniform and go fight in Afghanistan or shut up. We deserve all that is given to us. If we are out there fighting for our freedom and your'e baking cookies in the safety of your home don't complain, PUT UP OR SHUT UP.

    • yes. I bake cookies all day. I married my husband so my children and I could benefit from all the army has to offer. Wrong. I have my own job with my own benefits. I don't have kids. And my husband who has been deployed several times supports very strong budget cuts. Math is easy. No income= no way to pay the bills. Simple as that.

      • It would be interesting to know the rank of your husband. Because if he is a fairly high rank he can be making 3 or 4 times what a junior enlisted member makes. So saying YAY BUDGET CUTS and going from lets say $7000 a month to $5250 a month isn't as bad as going from lets say $2500 a month to $1875 a month. That $625 would hurt my family a LOT more than the $1750 would hurt yours, oh and that is a 25% reduction to both pays.

  18. I have read write ups from a bunch of whinny wimps. Militaty members and families have earned everything they have and more. The average soldier is not overpaid, and his spouse has an extremely hard time finding employment with so many moves.

  19. Eliminate commissaries and base exchanges on bases in or near large metropolitan areas in the U.S.. The same with NCO and officers' clubs. These services are much more available off base or post and often have much better deals, better customer service and better hours. On the other hand, these are still necessary overseas and in more rural areas.

    Close ALL base theaters. They show third-run movies you can pay a dollar for at the local Redbox.

    • Also, I work in the Fort Benning Commissary. They actually did close all of the commissaries near Atlanta. Now people travel two hours–just so they can go to the commissary. The ones that are near the large urban areas actually give way more of a discount because the prices are pretty much the same at each commissary and food prices at the large urbans are much more expensive.

  20. Why is the government still paying for free breast augmentation for spouses and service members for cosmetic reasons?! This is an abuse of funds!! Check the Ft Lewis/McCord MAMC records!

    • LeotaB, it is because the doctors who perform the surgery are required to keep their certifications up-to-date. It certainly sounds like a waste, and perhaps there is a better way to do it, but that is part of the way things work.

  21. You want to know were the cuts can occur? Just walk over to the installation's contracting office and they will give you a long list of crazy stuff they have to buy that can be cut. How about scaling back all those P-cards and allow contracting specialist to negotiate lower prices through leveraging.__

    • It is CRAZY that purchased are REQUIRED to be from more expensive places, but that is true across the board!

  22. I havent noticed anything being unavailable or having a reduced availability at Dyess AFB but with my work schedule I havent had much time to really leave the house if im not leaving the base for one reason or another. This is not to say there hasnt been any changes though.

  23. Boricua0427 | December 5, 2012 at 7:54 pm |


  24. Boricua0427 | December 5, 2012 at 8:26 pm |

    Glay don't forget cutting the salary of Senators and Congressmen, that when the feel like it get more raises than men in strip clubs.

  25. Attempt to, or cut military benefits for our soldiers, sailors, air force personnel, and marines and observe its impact on recruiting and the quality of our recruits. Congress and other "cutters" continue on this potential route and you go fight the conflicts. I am a proud retiree and served in the airborne, ranger, and special forces units. I, and many others, are now disabled while proud of my service I assure you we all feel we have earned the VA compensation, CRSC, PX/BX, commissary, and so on. Cut the benefits, cut the force and cut America's ability to maintaiin and project military power throughout the world. Don't "come a'callin" if you want to go off to Syria……………….

  26. They are attemting to cut Tricare for 171,000 Retirees.
    I would not bank on any of the retirement promises you are given while serving.
    Things have changed drastically since they privatized things.
    It isn't as much about actual cost, or our care, but profit for the contractors.

    • Thomas Odegard | December 10, 2012 at 10:09 am |

      Privatized war. What a concept. Just think Iraq hired a company named Haliburton with a NO_BID contract to do things like, cook, laundry, escort tankers and many, many things that E-3's were resposable for back in my day, (1968-1972, Viet Nam) Now what sucks the most, simply Haliburton was the company Dick Chaney was CEO BEFORE runni9ng as Bush's running mate. He is responsable for invading Iraq, not POTUS at the time. He was determinded to award his old company a huge part of the total budget for the war. What did Haliburton do with the profits? They built a world headquarters in Dubi!!!! This is all true.

  27. To Mr Jay R. All I can say is WOW! For you to have served AND retired from the Amy AND Marine Corp is something I have never heard of! All I can say is congrats to such an accomplishment. I do however seem to believe (this is after all how your comment reads to me) that you may be insulting my by assuming I can not read or understand my husbands LES. Well let me explain to you there is no such allotment for groceries. Maybe there once was, but not now, not for families anyways. And we actually can afford our children so the comment of using comfoms is extremely rude. Please have the respect to stay yourself out of a married couples bedroom. Also you have no idea of my age nor my husbands, so yet again you should keep such comments to yourself. They are not only rude and disrespectful you have also deemed my children unworthy of their lives. My husband works hard for every single thing we have. We deserve everything we have. We take no hand outs and never will. Also maybe since you seem to think so highly of yourself to put your opinion out in such a way because you did serve 25 years in some branch of the Military if our BAH is set at $1025 dollars a month should we not recieve an itemized bill explaining to me how the money is being spent? After all housing is no long by the government. Base house is a cilivian owned contract. As for you hateful comments toward people that do recieve assissance from WIC and through Food Stamps why do you feel that other are entitled to such benfits and not the Military. That is a bit prejudice is it not? If my husband, as did yourself, fights to keep our country free and equal to all then why should we be deined such assistance? But beause I am so young and don’t “work” and I have had children at such a young age I guess I just don’t understand. Maybe one day I will be able to take such a cold and unfeeling stand and when that day comes I do pray for God’s forgiveness.

    • Your comment goes to show your age, maturity and educational level.

      In your statement your husband is a USMC CPL. Ok using the USMC standards he has been in shorter than 4 years. If longer than there is another issue in itself. So if he enlisted in the USMC at 17 (as i did) then he is around 21. Perhaps though he took another route and joined late, well recruiting standards are high in the USMC and he probably wouldn't have been accepted after his 26th birthday. Makes at least him less than 30.

      You need to attend an LES class.

      You should see BAS (Basic Allowance for Subsistence) around $348

      Now even though this allowance is not meant to provide for the entire family (i've been there as many of us have) unless your husband is eating at BWW three times a day there should be some extra to help provide some relief at the family table.

      Trust me when I say "the last thing you need is another document to try and figure out your BAH". Not your concern, just be concerned that you have housing that is for the most part afforded to you at no or very little cost.

      Believe me when I say- NO ONE SHOULD RECEIVE PERMANENT FINANCIAL OR FOOD ASSISTANCE from the federal government. All of these free hand outs are adding to our problems and not the solution. With that being said "NO MILITARY MEMBER SHOULD BE ALLOWED OR AUTHORIZED TO USE OR RECEIVE WIC/ FOOD STAMPS or WELFARE SOCIALISTIC Programs" EVER.

      BTW- there are thousands of us who served different branches of the military and retired. I have a friend who retired from the Navy after being in the USMC and Army.

      Now enjoy, hug and love those children as they should be and you and your family have a Merry, Merry Christmas.

      Jay R

  28. It seems that Congress wants to cut spending on everything but their own pay. I believe they should set the example. They are over paid for what they don't do anyway.

  29. During the debates our president said that it "won't happen" that is, the fiscal disaster about to occur. I guess I just don't believe him. It will happen and the rammifications of it will be profound.

  30. Though I know it doesn't matter in a sea of comments here, I have to say this.

    I don't care about the theaters or the pools (there are bases with pools??). I don't use the childcare that has NEVER been free where I'm stationed and that even at a reduced rate is too expensive for me to entertain the idea of working for too long (sometimes we choose not to work for financial reasons too!).

    What I DO care about is whether or not my husband will have a job. I care about the guys he's worked with this last decade–who he's gone to war with. I care about their jobs.

    What's that you say? You didn't know the actual employment of service members could be on the chopping block? Well here in the last year I've watched friends be cut as a result of what was called an "Enlisted Retention Board." They were essentially fired and sent home with no chance of retirement benefits just because they were in an overmanned rate in the Navy. The Navy told them they'd only cut the 'under performers' but where the military meets a quota, you know that some of your good guys are going to go. Thousands of Sailors were fired this year.

    Or maybe you haven't heard about PTS in the Navy? Perform to Serve. A "streamlining" measure that requires all kinds of paperwork that makes you go cross-eyed to be sent in at just the right time so that some computer system can tally up your career and decide whether or not you should be allowed to re-enlist. Here again we've seen friend after friend after friend having to pack up and move elsewhere with no job.

    And among those benefits are medical benefits…. I know I know 'Free healthcare' right? But after over a decade of war there are those among us who are broken. Mentally or physically. There are wounds that demand being cared for. Among spouses too–spouses who have been spread so thin for so long that they are brittle.

    Are we entitled? I suppose there are those among us who have an 'entitlement' attitude just like so many other Americans do.

    But let's get this straight–Over a decade of war and you want to make cuts on the very people who have made sacrifices for this long?

    THAT'S why I worry about the fiscal cliff. That's why 'budget cuts' coming down the line make me sick to my stomach.

  31. This is my first response about a subject I feel needs to be shared. In my case I have been retired for more years than many folks have been alive. I retired in 1968 after over 20 years in the Navy. Of course I then went to the civilian world and worked another thirty two and one half years before I retired on Social Security and my Navy retirement. Now as I see it those that are in Washington DC want to cut my retirement and possibly my Social Security. Well, my first comment would be that Every Federal employee which would include all of the political leaders and even Federal Judges be first in line to take a pay cut in the same percentages that I would loose by their actions in a job that they were elected if they were to cut my "earned" advantages of such things as the Navy Exchange, Commissary, and other things I gain by being retired Navy. I admit that there are not many in my state if affairs having been retired from the Navy for forty four years but the loss of any of these benefits would put me into the poverty state of affairs and I depend on them. Also they are talking about my TriCare for Life and adding cost to my medication and treatment by the way of my Doctor. My suggestion for the politicians is again for them put themselves on the same restrictions.

  32. I am not sure where my first post on this subject went but I will try to do it again. I am probably one of the few that are retired for more years than most of the current military folks that would comment on this subject. I retired from the Navy as an Chief with over 20 years service and now have been retired for over forty four years. I do believe that those in Washington DC need to become aware of those of us that have served our Great Country in the Military and then have gone into a civilian job and contributed in a second career towards this Nation of ours. And when I say Contributed, I mean putting into a retirement fund like Social Security and what other laying away of funds we can so we do not have to become dependent on any form of Welfare in the community in which we live in. I would suggest those from the top and all the way down to the last file clerk in Government to take a pay cut in the same percentage I will face if they do not figure out how to deal with this fiscal cliff. This includes things like my TriCare for Life, my Social Security, and any other funds I have salted away to cover what I thought would be needed. It is about time that the politicians become aware that they are not some sort of Elate group. If they pass a law that exempts themselves, then it should not be that way. Like maybe they should be under Social Security and required to put away funds for their own retirement. And this includes the Health Care that they passed into law. As far as cutting the Military, we need to go back to when the United States came into being and have funding for what was originally deamed necessary and not pet perks that seem to pad their own re-election prospects. I guess I have blown off enough steam for now. Norman L

  33. We live in the Tri-Border area of Europe, what is supposed to be our main support base is an hour and a half away. The base everyone was using has been cut across the board. I'm paying out the nose for child care. BAH and COLA no where near covers the ammount I have to pay in heating oil every year as there is no on base housing, and the services on base SUCK. So people stationed at Ramstein and Spang and other places where you get to live on base, get ready. This fiscal cliff is going to take you down to where we're at. Say good by to the Bx being open 7 days a week, the commissary too. Good bye to more than one register open at a time unless its sat or sun. Get rid of the bookmark, Get rid of all of the fast food except Burger King (which is rarely fully staffed.) Welcome to our world.

  34. I agree CUT BUDGET ALL ACROSS STARTING WITH CONGRESS PAY. And make other countries pay for us to go through the canals to protect them and us not to pay. And service members who ever served on ships and boats know what I am talking about. And Military is always the first piece of the pie to be taken. So let start with the Congress and then go from there.

  35. Sarah,

    In your post you stated "…free childcare…" this is incorrect. While there are or was a program that did offer free child care the amount paid is base don rand and family income.

    I do agree that there is a sense of " …owe me…" from family members, but I don't think this is the norm by any means. IMO this is the opposite and receives the most publicity.

    Overall I think that championing out service-members and their families does go a bit overboard at times, more so with the politicians, and like minded groups. Cuts do need to be made but no one is willing to take the hard right over the easy wrong.

    Al D'Adda

  36. I agree Sarah. We neeed to cut ALOT and the military has been getting a giant piece of the pie for a very long time. It only makes sense that there are going to have to be some large cuts. It sucks but it is what it is. Its time for a major re-tool.

  37. Sarah you better get all your facts before you spout off. I have been a military wife for over 26 yrs and I never received anything for free. I paid for daycare, groceries, fuel, housing etc. Yes, we may have received some of the services at a lower rate but Military pay is also at a lower rate. this is a chosen life not a life for all. Yes, we chose it and I am damn proud to say that I am a military wife and mom. Walk in our shoes then you have the right to talk about our life and benefits. because of our sacrifices you can spout off without all the facts. Married families may have additional benefits but they also have additional expenses.

  38. We get free gyms because we have standards to follow as far as physical fitness in order to keep our jobs. Ohhh and daycare certainly isn't free! We pay $175/week for 1 infant in full time daycare! Please tell me what else it is we get free? The commissary and px certainly aren't free nor are they deeply discounted! As a matter of fact I often find deals better out in town!! Do you have any idea of the hours the men and women in service work? Cause minimum wage would pay us more than our current yearly salary! My husband is an officer with 12 years in the USMC. Please go look online for homes in oceanside CA. I want you to see what our $2000/month housing allowance gets us! A very modest 2 bedroom home MAYBE! And if you are stupid enough to believe bad housing is free……WRONG! We pay the full $2000/month to live there! Please rethink the accusations you have made!

  39. Your another lemming with your head in the sand. Look at the biggest piece of the spending pie, then come back here and make a statement. *Hint it's not free childcare and free gyms for military members you ignorant ditz.

  40. move to china

  41. I totally agree. Make budget cuts across the board including the politicians pay & benefits. They need ro learn to cut way back too.

  42. "free this, cheap that?" Sarah, have YOU gone to war for your country? Better yet, have you ever tried to live off what a typical soldier gets paid? Yeah, they DO deserve it.

  43. I agree that cuts need to be made but not to the military or things that effect thier family. The state dept. could stop sending money to countrys that have stated they hate us, and that support bad guys! that would be a huge savings that could be directed into our nation were its needed.

  44. SPOILED!!!! Ok, Sarah, have you ever been in the military, or been a military spouse?
    If you haven't then you do not know what you are talking about. Most Enlisted soldiers are in debt up to their eye balls because of the lack of pay that they get. Most military families are families of at least 3 on 1 income. And if you are not an Officer then you are living paycheck to paycheck. Do you realize that most of the lower ranks of the military qualify for food stamps in some states. I do agree that the government should cut frivolous spending, but they should cut it out everywhere not just military. Iam not going to apologize for being upset about the military cut backs, if it means that my husband has to go overseas, to add to his multiple deployments he has already had, and has to go with less than perfect equipment. We are talking about the lives of people here Sarah!!!! Someones dad, husband, wife, brother, sister, daughter, son, or friend.

  45. I regularly see free childcare hours being offered by cyss at our base. almost every weekend actually.

  46. Since military families have been experiencing multiple deployments, some bases have offered a specified amount of hours of free childcare for families with a deployed spouse. The base I am at used to offer 10 hours a month, but due to budget cuts they have eliminated this program. For some families, this is the only way for a parent to get a break from the kids.

  47. Iits niotabout a break from kids. Its about not spending money we dont have. Replace the word childcare in my post with another benefit if you want. Somethings gotta give.

  48. Mel,

    I do agree with Sarah on this point, after almost 23 years of service I can say that this does happen on some installations. Originally it was part of the SEC of the Army initiative. This initiative was the 12 / 15, 12 months home 15 months deployed. I do think it was a bit of a knee jerk reaction to current deployments and the proposed 15 month deployment schedule. Obviously the 15 month deployments did not stay for the long term.

    While I think the offering of free child care is nice Sarah is right in that spending cuts are needed. When I the offering of free childcare came up when I was stationed in Germany I did see it as a friction point. Why, because families become accustomed to it and it does begin to be viewed as a right and not a privilege. It seemed the days of FRG's and social gatherings finding their own child care had gone the way of the dinosaur. This free child care quickly changed from being offered for deployed family members to mandatory support for the units FRG meetings, even after the soldiers return home from deployment.

    If cuts are going to be made then they should include all spending. Not to mention the spouses who work in the base childcare facilities, they spend less time with their children over all as a result of the free childcare when it is conducted on weekends and week nights. Keep in mind that spouses overseas who work in the daycare centers also have soldiers who are deployed as well, and I got it if they don't like it then they can quit. So if enough were to quit then, who will provide child care? If you are in Germany it may fall upon the local nationals who work in the centers, but they also get American and German holidays off, not to mention the workforce commission in Germany ensures that their folks get time off. Just something to think about.

    In the end spending is out of control and cuts will be made, and when the cuts do come no one will be 100% pleased with the out come.

    Al D'Adda

  49. I was disagreeing with the inference that free childcare is the norm. I do see the benefits of providing free care during deployments but I also understand the need to cut back on things that aren't necessities. As noted in my above post I did say that this program was cut on the base I am at. Since 9/11 there has been a dramatic increase in base programs, with duplications of services provided by different entities. With the proposed drawdown, the necessity of these programs will decrease and many could be eliminated. I don't have an issue with that since the only base services I use are the commissary, the gas station and the convenience store. I do agree that many people have an entitlement attitude and maybe we should go back to how things were pre 9/11. I, too, have been part of the military community for over 23 years and I do get irritated with the constant griping about not having it all when they have so much more than what we had before 9/11.

  50. Maybe so, but what about the libraries and parks? The bottom line is that there is nothing left for families to use on base, and the areas surrounding the base are unsafe. I'm thankful my husband is willing and able to commute an hour to work, as we are moving off base. He has one more tour until retirement, and he'll likely go as a geo bachelor. I just don't think it's worth it anymore.

  51. For the Army Libraries are an A category. They are fully funded by federal dollars. Most parks are the responsibility of the privatized housing companies.

  52. And i disagree. That is why there is such an uproar about it. Agree to disagree!

  53. yeah my hubs is one of those people. He has been deployed a few times and getting ready to go again. He is strongly in favor of huge budget cuts to the military across the board.

  54. Let me enlighten you a little on a couple of your comments. Keep in mind I did 25 years i the USMC and am retired 1982-2008.

    Firstly BAQ/ VHA or whatever you want to call it is to be used solely as a housing expense. (Rent for example). If your husband receives $1000 month for housing then it is up to him/ you to shop for the best deal. If I were in charge you wouldn't have to worry about having any extra because I would make it as simple as "bring me a rental agreement for the amount up to the max for your rank", "you would only receive that $. If your husband rates $1000 monthly and you choose an apartment for $700 that is all you will receive". This will cut expenditures moderately. I have been there.

    Maybe you do not know how to read your husbands LES. There is a benefit called Separate Rations that is what you use to buy groceries.

    As far as having so many children so young and getting Food Stamps and WIC. This is a sham. If you cant afford the children on what your husband makes, simply use a condom.

    BLUF- You knew or should have known what you were getting into when you married your husband and if married prior- at his enlistment. No one forced him to sign the enlistment contract.

    Seems as though a little counseling could go a long ways. I cannot count the numerous Marines, Soldiers and Sailors I had to counsel about living beyond their means.

  55. My son-in-law is still active and wll be for years but when he separates he will do so with specialized (nuclear) training not easily found among civilians. in fact many "civilian" employees in his field are ex-Navy. So he should chuck his specialized training – not to mention high security clearance – for what, exactly? He'll be in his early 40s and not about to sit home and twiddle his thumbs.

  56. Why not? when you serve in the military for 20 or more years, that is one contract, once you leave the service and decide to work for the federal government as a civil service employee, that is another contract (not the same as the military) but who is more qualified to do the job then someone who serviced in the miltary doing the same job.

  57. Big piece of the pie is corporate welfare which includes big oil.

  58. As I said in my statement "EVER".

    Perhaps you need a clerrification. In my comment I am referring to what I consider "double and sometimes triple dipping". That is going from working in the military (wearing the uniform) to retiring and basically going back to the same old desk as a civilian.

    With the current administration do not count your sons chickens before they hatch. Until he retires there are no promises/ guarantees.In the Navy every advancement is in one part a written test, if he doesn't score above everyone else he will simply not make selection and his career will slowly fade away. If you follow any of the military news you will see all branches are making it more difficult to retire. It doesn't matter if your son is a Nuclear Physicist or a Bosuns Mate.

    You must have been listening to those recruiters over glorify those nuclear ship jobs. Chances are he is just painting decks.

    I do wish him the best of luck and thank him for his service as many of us do.

  59. Thank you for your contribution and understanding what it means to live within your means.

    Well spoken.

  60. 4everAmerican | December 6, 2012 at 1:42 pm |

    Thank you!!! Thank you for your service and thank you for your comment. My spouse is a NG soldier deployed to Iraq several times. His last deployment, worked 18hr days, 7 days a week, for 7 months straight (NOT A DAY OFF). We lived paycheck to paycheck, we do not live anywhere near a base so we have no commissary, no exhange and no support that the active duty soldiers/families get from their base. The comments on here are so frustrating, they haven't got a clue what military life is really like!

  61. I wonder why anyone would think someone who isn't a military spouse would read SPOUSEbuzz and make comments. I am an Army spouse dear. I am not "spouting off". I am stating facts. Facts: the defense budget is not sustainable, along with a lot of other spending. We can do without 75% of the "benefits" offered. Relax.

  62. Did you ask those military friends if they are in debt up to their eyeballs? Just because someone has newer things does not mean that they actually have more money to spend. It sounds like some of your friends are more financially responsible than some of your other friends. I volunteer for a emergency relief agency and I can tell you that there are alot of people out there who live beyond their means. It's not a military thing, it's a human thing. We have a society of people who need immediate gratification and the entitlement attitude does not pop up when becoming a part of the military community, it begins in childhood and is nourished by the parents and other significant adults during their formative years.

  63. They do factor in BAH and BAS now for food stamps, so any military people you see using them have them because they need them.

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