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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sequester this!!

It was all the talk, the big bad monster, the scare tactics being rammed down our throat, but what it seems to boil down to is the lack of responsibility and accountability of the elected officials in our country to simply "do their job!"  There are small examples I am witness to of how the sequester has affected those I know, or family members of some I know.  First, was the Federal Tuition Assistance program we use in the military being placed on hold.  Many I know were crying fowl, but honestly, being a guy who has served in both the Army and Army National Guard over the last 16 plus years and using all the educational benefits afforded service members, I would have survived without it.  Don't get me wrong, for education, any money available is extremely important, even an education from a university or college that is not considered at the forefront of academic institutions is very expensive in the present day.  I have student loans I had to take out to keep food on the table and clothes on the backs of my family while I went through the final two years of Physician Assistant school.  I make a great salary now, but I still owe over $60,000 dollars in student loans.  That sucks considering my entire tuition was paid by the Active Army GI Bill, Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA), and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard's Educational Assistance Program (EAP).  But I had to sustain the life of my wife and four kids also, that took extra money, therefore, loans.  I planned on using FTA to complete my masters degree (8 semester hours from completing that), and that hangs in the balance.  However, if it goes away, I will make it work somehow.  I have heard that Congress voted to re-instate it, but I do not have the hard facts in front of my to confirm that, but heard it somewhere along my journeys between Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN.

Another aspect I have seen locally is within the federal prison system, they have had correctional officers take unpaid days off during pay periods, or rotating furloughs of sorts.  Obviously this has not gone over very well with the correctional officers, it also means less staffing and other personnel in the prison systems expanding their typical job duties to some they may not be comfortable with.  Like a nurse walking the prison block acting as a correctional officer.  Yeah, that is intelligence for you, but when times are tough I guess everyone needs to step outside their comfort zone.  And so the sequester rolls on.

If you look at the facts (if I can believe the MSM - ha-ha), the sequester doesn't even really cut money from the budget, it just doesn't allow for as much spending as otherwise would have taken place.  With a national deficit pushing the 17 trillion dollar mark, you think our elected officials would be finding the extra pork and cutting the fat to try and reverse the course of the national debt.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, there are ways at every level to make cuts, they may seem simple and small, but they add up over time.

So, what the sequester should mean to all is simply this, come the mid-term elections in 2014, we need to clean house.  All sitting elected officials, left, right, middle, every single one up for re-election we need to put out on the street, back into the regular workforce.  Unfortunately they will collect benefits the rest of their lives, but that is what we need to take care of next.  No more automatic pension for serving less than 20 years as an elected federal official, and it will not be 100%, it will be equal to that of what a military service-member will receive after 20 years of service.  Americans need to stand up, and make accountable those who need to be accountable, no more special interests, lobbyists, big banks, big oil, or anyone with fat enough pockets to buy legislation should be allowed to manipulate our federal officials and in turn pass laws with asinine pork bloating what should be a simple, plain, legislative decision.

But honestly, America is not listening, the lemmings will continue to waddle, straight off the cliff the left or right leads them over.  It is sickening, but it is America, and the next best option, quite frankly, doesn't even come close to what we have, and will have in the future here.

Check out my book:
Combat Support "The True Burden of Sacrifice"
A simple story of the average Army National Guardsmen.  Soldier, husband, father, take the trip with me through my military career leading up to and through Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).  As I learn first hand that letting go of OIF is easier said than done, and nothing is ever as simple as it seems.  Exposing my failures as equal to my accomplishments, this story holds a familiar theme to all those who have served in the same capacity as myself, in a combat support role.  But it is simply one of a kind in the sincere honesty and humility that I share as I reflect on a deployment that will forever be the greatest experience of my professional career.


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