Somewhere in the world, some far flung place most Americans have never heard of, a young enlisted Soldier is on a patrol or standing a guard post. The Soldier is fulfilling the contract made with America – you and me – to risk life to secure our freedom. Back home, the Soldier’s spouse is counting the few remaining dollars until payday. She or he is balancing the checkbook for the second or third time hoping for a mistake that will add a few more dollars. The pantry is thin this time of the month. Payday means groceries, rent, utilities, and hopefully enough to make the car note. Then it’s about making it work for the rest of the month.
Washington DC politicians, who do not know what living pay day to pay day means, believe it’s not a problem if a Soldier is not paid on time. Oh, they’ve spoken the words before – how much they care about and support Soldiers and their families. It’s always the politician’s promise to take care of serving men and women and continuing to care when they become Veterans. It sounds good in the stump speech and television commercial. They are good lyrics, but they’re always drowned out by bad background music.
Some in Congress appears to not care that a government shutdown means Soldiers can’t skill or mission train or maintain already worn out equipment. The life span of a poorly trained Soldier is not too good. Malfunctioning equipment is also a game changer. It is an extremely dangerous game made more so by pure politicians who could care less about the state of our military. Politicians seem to not know nor understand that the prize for runner-up in this game is not good. If they really wanted to take care of Soldiers they would ensure they had all they needed to train and maintain and it would be written into law that a Soldier’s pay does not stop amid political shutdown shenanigans. Politicians that would hold back military funding while on a mission to protect lawbreaking illegal immigrants should be drop kicked through the goal posts of life. And to fix the Veterans Administration, start by peeling away the entire top layer of leadership and management. Then strip away everything on the chart between input and output and reengineer the whole shooting match.
The major problem is that Congress is able but unwilling to pass a budget. Instead, we get continuing resolutions giving some hack politician the opportunity to shut down the government. A shutdown doesn’t hurt the big dogs. Congress continues to get paid during shutdowns, but our serving men and women do not. From experience, the federal workers that are furloughed always get the back pay. The furlough works out to be a paid vacation. Congress needs to pass a long-term budget fully funding the government including the Department of Defense. That is their job. The continuing resolution is not a budget. Every day beyond an established due date for a real budget, Congress should not be paid. Not one penny.
In our free representative republic, we appear to have an ineffectual legislative branch. It is a sad state when overpaid career politicians cannot work together to solve problems. They have too many distractions ranging from corruption and from the lobbyists to the donor base to the voting base. What is worse is our tainted Department of Justice and FBI. As the evidence piles up identifying a cabal consisting of high level people in both to prevent the election of President Trump and if that failed to have an insurance policy that would ensure his removal from office, the only thing left for us to corrupt is the Supreme Court – and I am not sure about them either.
© 2018 J. D. Pendry