2013 Oct 10

written by Sherri Joubert

Army funeral uniforms

Photo Credit: Army Funeral Uniforms

Today is the 10th day of the federal government shutdown, and the negative consequences are mounting. We’ve now been at war in Afghanistan for 13 years, we’ve just begun year 14. We’ve never had a government shutdown in war-time, ever.

Rule number 1 in war is young people die. The federal government has critical duties to military families when a soldier is killed in action. One is the immediate stipend they receive within the first 36 hours after the death occurs. The stipend is to allow grieving families to take care of burying their dead and surviving until other benefits kick in.

The stipend allows the family to fly to Dover Air Force Base and meet their loved one’s coffin, a very important ceremony to honor our fallen and begin to help families grieve. It provides the funds for families to make funeral and other arrangements.

It’s vital funding, and telling a grieving mother, father, wife, husband, or child that they can’t have that financial help at such a critical time is unconscionable. But that’s what’s happening now that the federal government is shut down.

In case you don’t know, it costs we-the-people $300 million every day that the government isn’t operating. Tens of thousands of hard-working folks aren’t getting a paychecks, and this will harm the economy when we can’t afford that harm.

Guess who is still getting their paychecks? Wait for it…Congress. Both Senators and members of the House of Representatives are still getting paid for not doing their jobs. Their staff members are not getting paid, but have to work anyway. The executive branch is still getting paid, too.

Many Senators from both parties and the President and Vice-President are standing in solidarity with furloughed federal employees and sending their pay back to the treasury. Some House members are as well. But the ones who want to keep the government shut down are keeping their paychecks, get this, “because they need their money”. Like everyone else doesn’t?

Those same House members are also toying with the idea of defaulting on the national debt. Unlike the budget deficit, the national debt is money that has already been spent and is a debt that must be repaid with interest. If we default, we will plunge the world into a recession that will make the Great Depression look like a minor economic hiccup.

Call, write and email your Representative and demand two things:

  • they vote for the Senate bill as-is to reopen the government now!
  • they vote to increase the debt ceiling and avert a horrific crisis.

Please continue the discussion and write a comment. What do you think?

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