Point of View

Help military families: Stop the sequester

December 18, 2013 

We all make sacrifices in this country. We do so for the good of our country, our families and for our future. Military members make more sacrifices than most. As a military family, we know that sacrifice firsthand. My family is used to working hard and doing the right thing to ensure the next generation is better off.

What we’re not used to – and what no one should get used to – is to make unnecessary sacrifices. We want to know that the struggles we go through make a difference. Unfortunately, because of across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration, military families are bearing a larger burden than usual.

What is frustrating is that it doesn’t need to be this way.

Let’s begin with the impact federal budget cuts are having. All American children face a bleaker future because of cuts to public schools. People struggling to make ends meet are seeing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) slashed. This means people and local businesses will have less money in their pockets now, and we’ll all have less opportunity in the long run. This is happening because politicians have been unable to get a reasonable federal budget passed. Now, we’re all feeling the pinch. To make matters worse, 64,000 military families in North Carolina lost their Earned Income Tax Credit this year when the state legislature decided that corporate profits were more important than tax breaks for working people.

Sequestration cuts aren’t just harming families like mine: They’re harming our nation’s readiness. Because of the cuts, we’re being told that force-level freezes, cuts to pay and benefits, and downsizing of Special Forces operators are all possible. Now, we’ve seen tough times before, and shared sacrifice is one thing. However, this is happening when corporations are benefiting from tax loopholes that allow them to avoid contributing to our nation

Right now, there is a bill called the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act (S. 1533) that would stop corporate tax dodging. This bill would make it harder for companies to hide their profits overseas. If military families are going to lose a vital tax credit that only goes to people who work, corporations shouldn’t get tax benefits by taking their money out of America.

Making sure profitable corporations pay their fair share is a good start, one easy fix that would get us on the right budget track. I’d like to see our federal delegation support efforts to ensure corporations pay their fair share. There’s one more thing we can do. We have to stop pretending that we can keep slashing the budget without harming the future. Yes, we all have to pull together in these economic times. We also have to face that investing in the future – our kids’ education, and families like yours and mine – pays off. To make those investments, we need new revenue.

This is just common sense. If we want to stay the greatest nation in the world, we have to do what’s necessary. We have to invest in America. To do that, we need to close the loopholes that let corporations move money out of our nation. Then, we have to put money back into the educational system that keeps us prosperous. We all make sacrifices. We just want to make sure that our sacrifices matter. It’s time for the corporations who are making record profits in America to make some sacrifices, too. Let’s close these tax loopholes and fix the budget in a way that works for military families.

Susan Reynolds is the 2013 Pope Air Force Military Spouse of the Year.

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