Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What is the media doing to military families?

Ok, I do not understand why there are so many different articles out there in very well-established and supposedly well-accredited media outlets about the "lavish" lifestyle of military families and all the extreme discounts/benefits we receive.

First off, ALL of the information reported is relative and while there may be a slight ounce of's put WAY out of context.  I dare the reporters to spend a day in my soldier's shoes (or mine for that matter)....

I can't remember exactly when right now, but there was an article a bit ago on The Huffington Post about how military families are banking in and reaping boatloads of discounts.  It's very troubling to think that's what civilians believe.  The discounts were established to account for the low salary a majority of military members make and for the sacrifices their whole family endures due to deployments, assignments, etc.

I really don't get how these reporters are getting their data/information.  All the numbers are radical and the actual reporting is straight up twisted!

When I saw the article in The Washington Post recently, I was livid.  WTF?!

It focused on the commissaries, which doesn't really apply to me right now anyway.  While the soldier is overseas, I'm living in NYC where it's actually cheaper and more efficient for me to shop at a local grocery store in my neighborhood in Queens than to shlep to Brooklyn and shop at Fort Hamilton.  One, I don't have a car, and two, I don't want to ride 2 hours on the subway with a bunch of groceries.  There were other details of the article that bothered me more....

Like this quote:
"In an era when private employers are reducing health care and pensions, the military continues to offer generous retirement benefits, including to service members who have never spent a day in combat. For troops who remain in uniform for 20 years or more, the military provides an annual pension immediately upon retirement — even if the retiree is 38 years old — equivalent to at least half of their final-years salary. Enrollment for an entire family in a military health-care plan that operates much like a private health maintenance organization will cost a retiree just $539 this year, about one-ninth of what the average non-military family will pay out of pocket in HMO premiums.
Those on active-duty also have bucked national trends. Over the past decade, military salaries have grown at a faster rate than those of civilian workers. The average enlisted soldier now earns more than 90 percent of Americans who have less than two years of college. Most Army captains — the third-most-junior rank of officer — will take home more than $90,000 this year."
Ok, WHERE DID THEY GET THAT INFO FROM?!  [I appoligize for all the caps.]  But seriously, I know how my much husband makes as an E-5...he works more than the 40 hour work week that MOST salaries are based on.  Also, they mention an Army captain?!  Ugh, how about they focus on the Army enlisted force?!  They actually make up a majority of the military.  Are they taking into account the countless 24 hour shifts, night time assignments, etc. that military members do?!  Probably not.  Also, the 2012 to 2013 pay raise was 1%... ONE PERCENT...which is less than half of the national pay raise needed for inflation.  Now to my dad, who's retired from 20 years in the military...who has yet to see a retirement check at the age of 53.  What they don't mention is that you have to have spent 20 year active duty to get the retirement right away.  My dad spent the latter portion of his career in the Air Guard, so he has to point is that, all the information is mis-construed - and they are spinning it in a way that gives off a negative vibe.

Now back to the focus of the piece, which is our glamorous commissaries.  I don't get how he got all that.  I've been in my share of commissaries - and honestly, yes there are awesome deals, but just as much awesome deals as local groceries stores.  Actually, when my soldier was at Fort Drum, we actually preferred to do our shopping at WalMart because the stuff we wanted to buy was cheaper.

I's just all kinds of wrong.  I think my whole issue with it is the snarkiness of his piece.  I was having SO much trouble understanding, "why?!"

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  1. I read this article and thought it was completely ridiculous! Even though my husband is an Officer, no one knows what are bills are and what our financial status is. I get so tired of people automatically assuming things. They don't seem to understand the long hours, training cycles, and other things that the military does.

    1. You are completely right...everything is relative and it really can't be judged! Thanks for your note Jen!

  2. Nice blog, Rachel! I am a new follower from the Military Spouse Blog Hop!

    - Haylee @

  3. Found you on Military So's blogging community and I couldn't agree more, it drives me insane, my husband is an E-4 and our lifestyle is anything but lavish :-)

    Following on BL
    Domesticated Breakdown

  4. We stopped shopping at the commissary years ago. It really isn't cheaper, especially if you don't care about name brands. But we just moved to DC, and Harris Teeter is the only decent grocery store I've found and it's a bit pricey. So, I went to the Bolling-Anacostia commissary yesterday. It was cheaper than the Harris Teeter but not nearly as cheap as a Giant or Walmart, and certainly not worth the 45 minute round trip.


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