I was recently reading through some old comments, and one particularly reader told me to "stop being a policy wonk and find a heart." (paraphrased.) I thought about it for a while, trying to figure out what I possibly could have said that would make the reader think that I am a "policy wonk." If you've read much here at the Paycheck Chronicles, you've probably noticed that while I am just a military spouse trying to make ends meet for her family, I absolutely do get upset at when I see Congress or the Department of Defense creating programs that our country can't afford.
Every family, group, company, or organization has to plan their spending within the confines of their income and assets. If the family, group, company, or organization spends more than they make or have, then there are negative long-term consequences. It is true for my family, and yours, and it is true for our country. And, our country happens to be in a ton of debt. Therefore, when I hear people complaining that they aren't allowed to transfer their GI Bill benefits to their sister's ex-husband's step-kids, I feel frustrated. When a someone insists that the child development center on base should offer free child care for everyone, I feel frustrated. When I look around our base and see large physical projects that are happening just because "the money has to be spent," I feel frustrated.
These programs aren't FREE, people. I'm paying for them, you're paying for them, and probably all our children are paying for them through our tax dollars. Yes, most military families aren't paying a ton of taxes, but that isn't the actual point. The point is that we all contribute to our federal government's budget, and we all should have an interest making sure that money is appropriately spent. While I don't think I have any readers who are actually Representatives or Congresspeople, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't support sensible spending.
It might be nice if we lived in a world where no one ever had to pay for anything (but I'm not sure about that), but the fact is that we are all paying for the programs we use. Asking them to be extended means, in essence, asking for higher taxes or lower spending on another program. Is that what you want?
I apologize to my many readers for whom this is a silly piece because it is obvious to you. If only everyone "got it," I wouldn't have to write this.
What do you think?