So we’re facing a government shutdown. The last time the government shut down, I was on active duty as a recruiter, and faced no real negative impact. Recruiters were listed as non-critical, and told to stay home. We were given credit for mission accomplishment for the month, told not to use our government vehicles, and then a few days later, came back to work.
This looming shutdown is looking to be a little different. If the government does shutdown, there’s no indication that there will be a rapid resolution to the shutdown. Normally, I’d be ecstatic to see the massive bulk of the government told to stay home. But there’s a real downside to this approach. As it currently stands, any shutdown will mean that our troops won’t get paid. Oh, sure eventually, any budget or continuing resolution will mean that the troops will eventually recoup the pay and allowances owed to them. But for a young PFC with a wife and a kid who is living paycheck to paycheck, that’s cold comfort. How does he pay the rent THIS month? What if a failure to pay his bills on time negatively impacts his credit rating? A bad credit report could be enough to place a soldier’s security clearance in jeopardy, impacting not just his ability to do his job now, but also his economic viability after he leaves the service. And ultimately, it is morally repugnant for our nation to ask our soldiers to continue fighting overseas while failing to meet our nation’s end of the bargain, that is, pay them a pittance for their selfless service.
President Obama and the Democrat controlled Senate are willing to shut down the government and deprive the troops of their hard-earned pay. There’s a very good chance they’ll pay a heavy political price for that. I find their willingness to do so disgusting.
But they aren’t alone in culpability. The GOP led House is proposing continuing resolutions to fund the government for a few weeks, but also fund the military for the rest of the fiscal year. But they are also attaching riders such as defunding Planned Parenthood that they know are poison pills that the Democrats cannot swallow.
Neither side of the political debate has taken the troops best interests at heart, and resolved the issue of their pay. Both sides are poised to accuse the other of holding the troops pay hostage for political reasons.
A pox on both their houses.