The latest victim of sequestration appears to be military tuition assistance. This is the money for college that factored into many folks’ decisions to join the military. Tuition assistance was promised by the government as part of the package – it was part of the contract.
It appears to me that the government is prepared to breach its contract. Now, that just doesn’t seem right. A deal is a deal. Our members of the military put their lives on the line to defend and support the ideals this country holds dear and for that they don’t get much in the way of remuneration. But the thing they do get – the thing that has been heralded as one of the best perks for military service – is a paid education. That was the deal.
Unfortunately, the government has decided they just don’t have the money to hold up their end of the deal any longer. As such, the government has cut tuition assistance.
Now, wait just a minute. There was a contract that was the result of a meeting of the minds between the government and an individual that resulted in the individual committing to military service for a block of time. The individual – a.k.a. a brave member of the military – met his or her end of the contract, but the government didn’t.
Oh, bother. Surely they can sue for such a breach of contract right? Uh, no…sorry the government has immunity. And in this case it means they can change the contract or choose not to perform under it at their whim without penalty.
Well, not really without penalty. There is actually a penalty – a cost, if you will – that accrues with this action. Now folks will know that the government is not true to its promises – not even when they are in writing and when those promises are made to members of the military. Gee, I am thinking that is going to make recruiting new folks into the military pretty darn tough (oh dear, that could compromise national security). I am also thinking that this behavior on the government’s part is going to anger Americans who can think of many other places the military can save money other than on the back of enlisted folks. Oh boy, elected representatives may just have the heat turned up under them to ensure that tuition assistance gets re-funded (you can find links to their contact information here). It could get ugly…no wait, it should get ugly.
Americans should be angry that of all the waste that can be cut in government spending generally, and military spending specifically, tuition assistance was selected as one of the things to cut. Americans should stand up and demand that the government keep its promise and honor its contracts with members of the military. That is what honorable folks do, they keep their word.
It is time for the government to do the right thing and restore tuition assistance. The very least this country owes members of the military is what it promised them. It may not be nearly enough to repay their service, but at least it lets them know that the country they were willing to die for honors its commitments. There are some contracts that should never be breached…this is one of them.
Day one thousand three hundred and fifty-two of the new forty – obla di obla da