How Much $$$ Is Military Service Worth?

(Photo Credits: Photo Pin)

So, there was this “news” (and I use that term loosely here, folks) article that came out of The Washington Post. I’ll post that link here as a courtesy to those whose news feed did not produce it. So, take a quick perusal and take a deep breath while your blood boils…then come back.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/paying-for-the-all-voluntary-military/2013/01/14/3c4bab00-5e71-11e2-a389-ee565c81c565_story.html

Yes, yes. We get that the bulk of civilians do not have a single clue what life in the military is like and to some within the civilian sector we are simply numbers on paper. Paper that defies the simple laws of math, paper that clearly uses those invisible Crayola markers that only show up under certain lights, paper that holds some sort of magical property that prevents its numbers from being added up properly. This piece of information is for THEM, not the folks who ‘get’ that there is more to this “math” problem than addition and subtraction.

Let me provide you with some actual news. They are usually referred to as “facts” here in the modern day.

The reason you can’t add stuff up?

Is because there are so many intangibles that cannot be calculated because TPTB (that’s, The Powers That Be) cannot place VALUE on them. I’ll wait while you think on that…mentally take a trip back to high school Algebra. These items are called: V.A.R.I.A.B.L.E.S.

Here’s a few variables for you to gnaw on while I think of a few others:

  1. Our lives. Yanno, those things our service members risk nearly every day? Those pesky things that some folks would prefer to just sweep under the rug? You can’t put a price tag or a negative cost to the worth the willingness to serve provides. Can you? I challenge any man, woman or beast to be the first person to raise their hand with a VALUE on a single human life. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Does age factor into your bogus math theorem? Are older people worth less than younger ones even though their experience might help save lives on the battlefield? Oh, and the battlefield is that very real place our service members spend their lives. It’s got lots of cool stuff like military equipment, guns, ammo, blood, sweat, tears…

2. The opportunity cost to our families. Someone…ANYone please put a value on the cost to military families when their service member is gone for up to 18 months over and over. How much is a missed birthday worth to the bean counters? How much does a baby born without his father “count” in the math problem? Can you put an integer value to the number of days our spouses sleep alone? Do I get, say $10 for every night I hug a pillow instead of my husband? Do we give $5 more for each child who says evening prayers without their second parent? What about anguish? You lawyers types love to sue folks for mental anguish and such dribble. How much VALUE do you place on the 7.5 years (that’s over half my married life, my good people) I’ve spent alone? Is it a sliding scale, or just a day to day price? What IS the cost of our families’ worry? Oh, and do you count extended family and friend or just spouses and kids? Or, do you even count kids?

3. Jumping into the fiscal ramifications of life in the military, I’d like to draw your attention to exhibits A, B and C.

  1. We move. And, we move often. A lot of us don’t homestead (you can go look THAT one up, civies) and never even get to own a home until we retire. We can’t afford to lose equity if we move sooner than expected.
  2. We don’t have enough left over to invest like this moron gentleman would have you think. Our pay sucks. And, yet, we still get up each day and serve this nation. We don’t live some glamorous life of luxury. It’s so laughable to think otherwise, I’d just simply invite any interested person to take tour of military housing. Like a field trip. Take a gander at the kind of places we actually live. Then respectfully, just sit down and be quiet. Because if you still feel the military is “making out like bandits”, you need your head examined. And, very, very soon.
  3. We need financial assistance. Some of our younger families? Live on WIC, need financial assistance just to survive AND work extra jobs to pay for Christmas. So, respectfully, my good sir? You can please be quiet (actual recommendation redacted).

4. Job performance. In short, people willing to do their job are better capable to do so than if you draft and force people. Studies have shown, willingness to learn and being a ready-military go DOWN the less volunteers you have. Kinda makes sense, doesn’t it? The people who are serving are actually there because they want to be, not because they were forced to be. So, what is the VALUE of a person who wants to do their job? Do you “count” more beans for someone who is willing to carry a gun outside the green zone? Or, do you count less for a person who is mending legs and arms stateside? They are not “in harm’s way” now are they? How do you tally those hash marks? What price do you put on a lifetime of PTSD or those wounded warriors who will never walk again? Or their caregiver wives whose lives are forever changed because YOUR math didn’t work out as you’d expected? What dollar value is that worth in your bogus, dollars and cents analysis? Will you provide a chart? A leg equals what precisely? An arm? No sight?

What this means is that men and women who are willing to “volunteer” have done their own mental math and determined it is worth it…because they have placed their own VALUE on what it means to serve. They have each, individually of sound mind and body, determined for themselves what they are willing to risk and what they are not. And, THAT? Is not for ANY bean counter to decide. No one should be able to tell any willing service member the cost of their willingness to serve this nation. I’d argue that a non-volunteer has given the honor to serve far less value than a volunteer one.

So, please. Forgive me if I think you’re just full of hot air as you sit from your comfortable chair, in your heated room, with the comforts of home around you as you type on your Apple laptop under perfect lighting with a stogie and highball to your right.

Your pontification and posturing underscores only that you might need a refresher in basic math.

Clearly, you have no idea what value is. Or, anything about the people willing to serve this nation.

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