Monday, October 7, 2013

Living on Base During a Government Shutdown

So we are officially one week in on this government shutdown.  This is the third or forth October that we have been a military family, and I have to admit that I scoffed a little bit at all the panic that was going around base when people worried that they weren't going to get paid. 

Every year since we've been in the military has been the same, with a military-excempt bill going through just as the deadline approaches. So I admit, I rolled my eyes at the end of September panic that spread across the Joint Base Charleston forums from military spouses and members. They passed a bill making sure military members still would be paid, but I didn't realize just how much a government shutdown would still affect those of us living on base.

So many military families not only have their service member working for the government, but also the milspouse. Often, working on base or in a federal job is one of the only ways that milspouses can find employment. Many of them are out of work until the shutdown is over.

The biggest example of this that I have noticed is the Commissaries. Though they have just reopened, They were shut down for almost a week. That's a week without pay for most of the workers. That's a week where any perishable foods that weren't sold in the shopping frenzy on October 1st will most likely be need to be thrown out. Not to mention all the military families that are on a tight budget and depend on the commissary's lower prices to feed their families.

The other big example that I've noticed just on our base is all the enrichment activities for military families. Classes designed to help military families find a job, manage their finances, prepare for a baby, or strengthen their marriage are suspended until further notice. While it's true that most of these classes can be taken at another time after the shutdown is over, it's not always easy to find the time.

Hopefully this can all get resolved quickly. For a deadline that approaches the same date every year, it is ridiculous that military families, federal workers, and countless others are being punished for this refusal to compromise.

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