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Editorial Comment — December 2012

Top Ten Things We'd Like To See
In 2013 ...

With the New Year not quite upon us, it's still too early to know what we should expect to see -- in terms of budgets, taxes, military buildups and drawdowns, appropriations, and especially the military resale system -- after the ball drops, the smoke clears and the year ends.

But here are a few things we'd like to see:

Number 10:

Congressional freshmen who are military veterans, and those with sons or daughters in the military, joining their incumbent colleagues in standing up for servicemembers and their families in support of military resale benefits.

Number 9:

The light bulb going on in think-tank minds with the realization that the resale privilege is a benefit earned through years of service and sacrifice, and is not just a chip to be tossed on the table during budget poker.

Number 8:

The 125,000 people or so who work in resale facilities, or in support of them, still plugging away, paying their income taxes and not collecting unemployment benefits, helping to reduce the federal deficit rather than being fired and sent off to increase it.

Number 7:

The tens of thousands of military spouses and family members among those employees whose wages help reduce the appropriated fund contribution to military family income, all jumping up at once, waving their arms and raising a ruckus, to open the eyes of those who would seek to end or erode resale benefits, enabling them finally to connect the dots that lead directly from resale to readiness.

Number 6:

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and “policy research” groups like the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) recognizing that military retirees are legitimate patrons, just as the law says, and no longer dismissing them summarily from consideration — it's not only disrespectful, but it sends the wrong message to the career Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen defending the nation now, who will be tomorrow's retirees.

Number 5:

If the rumors are true, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta retires, his successor standing just as firmly behind “the quality of life of our military members and their families” and putting the money where the mouth is, just as Panetta did.

Number 4:

“Doh!” apps on budgeteers' iPads and tablets pointing out that giving $400 to the single soldier is not going to persuade the career family, who they have just taken $4,400 away from, to remain in the military.

Number 3:

Sen. Tom Coburn, and others who seek to eliminate appropriated funding for military resale, living for a year or even six months with military families (not families hand-picked by the CSBA) to discover in person how much shopping in commissaries and exchanges really means to them.

Number 2:

The word “sequestration” referring mainly to juries deliberating, and “cliff” once again meaning just another aspect of the landscape.

Number 1 — What we'd most like to see in 2013:

As many troops as possible shopping with their families at their permanent bases in the 50 States, not just home for the holidays, but for every other day of the year as well.

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