Mar 27 2015
It’s a great Spring Break for us. My son and his partner started the Break by winning the State Championships in Public Forum Debate; and, now, we’re at Steamboat Springs doing some skiing and writing (as you can tell by the photo). It is beautiful up here and a great break. But, one of the reasons we can swing this trip is because some of the Colorado ski resorts offer a discounted annual ski pass for retired and active duty – including family.
I bring this up because of an opinion piece in the Washington Post about entitlements to military families and how they are uncalled for. The author is a retired Army LtCol who owns a couple of smoothie shops in South Carolina (along with being the Director of Strategic Studies at Silverback7), and who wrote this piece due to a milspouse copping a bit of an attitude when told that the smoothie shop only offered discounts to active duty military and not spouses (or retirees apparently). Mr. Duffy also feels that most veteran hiring preferences should be eliminated. Pretty controversial stuff, but fitting for the MOAA audience here.
You can find the opinion piece here<http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/03/16/opinion-no-room-for-sense-of-entitlement-among-veterans-and-military-families/> or here<http://www.stripes.com/opinion/enough-with-the-entitlement-among-veterans-and-military-families-1.335477>. It’s fun to read both in order to read the different comment sections. Speaking of which, the comments get pretty good. There is the argument from an enlisted spouse who reasons that she and her active duty spouse live on one income, so the argument that “we only offer a discount to the active duty member” is a bit unfair (I can see that). Or there is the commenter who dug up Mr. Duffy’s LinkedIn account to find he works with vet-owned businesses doing business with the government – and questions if this isn’t an entitlement (of course, Mr.. Duffy did not want to eliminate “all” vet preferences, just “most”).
But, the author raises an interesting question about entitlements. I agree that military spouses shouldn’t have an attitude when there is no discount. It’s a free country and businesses can offer what they want. Heck, I remember living in the DC area in the early 2000’s and no one offered a discount – it wasn’t expected.
However, if a business is going to offer a discount to the active duty member, why not the milspouse? They are one family and usually with one income. And why not the retied military member? Many served when there was no discount.
And the author borders on the edge of hypocrisy. For instance, the website of the firm he works for states that the firm is vet owned. Are they getting government business due to being vet owned? Or did Mr.. Duffy take advantage of any vet preferences when buying or financing his smoothie franchise. Perhaps not, but it would be interesting to know – or spell out specifically what “most” entitlements he’d like to see eliminated.
In any event, what do MOAA readers think about this issue? We’d love to hear your thoughts – post a reply below.