Edmonds Military Wire: New office aims to strengthen military families financially

By Michael Schindler

Okay, I know this will sound a bit funny – especially in light of all that is taking place in Congress right now – but the government has dedicated an office to help strengthen military families financially.

Here’s the release:

“A government office dedicated to protecting servicemembers and their families from financial predators and pitfalls officially opened for business this week. As the military arm of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Office of Servicemember Affairs is intended to strengthen military families financially and to serve as an advocate on their behalf.”

Since there are 50 states, each with different laws, military families may be unaware of the protections in the state where they live. The office will work to ensure servicemembers and their families receive the financial protection and education they deserve by insuring that military personnel are provided a quality financial education.

The office will also monitor consumer complaints and the responses to those complaints, and work with other federal and state agencies to help resolve issues.

(I’m wondering if there is an office to register constituent complaints.)

To report a financial issue or complaint, servicemembers and their families can visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include  “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.”  He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

  1. Why just “military” families? Why should they who are supported by our tax dollars to fight in places that we would like for them to leave and in “wars” that were never approved by Congress — why should they be given special treatment? They are costing this nation billions upon billions and we still glamorize what they do in the name of “patriotism.” It’s very, very misguided.

  2. Ron, Thanks for clarifying my message. You are right — the soldiers and their expensive hardware, the services that are now provided principally by private corporations (jobs that military folks used to provide now cost taxpayers many times more than previously), all of the airplanes and trucks, as well as the weapons — these expenses from our US budget (or off-budget if CIA or DoD) — are the result of hawks in Congress and in corporate America. I am glad that we agree on the illegal wars. The “Homeland” (shades of Hitler) Security Administration has become a bloated department with endless buildings in and around DC. It has gotten entirely out of control and I wish it could be undone. Any suggestions?

  3. As long as we’re putting together a wish list for our future wars, I’ll add two more:

    We need to figure out how we’re going to pay for wars. Borrowing a trillion dollars from China was not a good plan.

    We need to better consider the inevitable civilian casualties as part of the terrible cost of war. The death of a soldier is indeed tragic, but so is the death of an innocent civilian. It’s estimated that at least 10 Iraqis have died for each U.S. soldier death.

    I’ve got an idea: let’s amend the Constitution so that we can’t have a war unless Congress formally declares it. Oh wait, we already have that. Pity our government just ignores the Constitution when it gets in the way. Not a surprise – Corporate America loves wars – they get all the benefits, and the Congress they’ve bought makes sure they don’t pay any of the costs.

  4. Joe,

    Thank you for your insightful comments. As a Board member of the UN Association of Greater Seattle, I have learned that a high percentage of the civilian deaths from our wars (or any other wars, for that matter) are deaths of children. The wars that our members of Congress support with tax dollars have been justified on a number of different groups — to reduce suffering of civilians, etc., but usually they are for oil or some other prized commodity. In the future they will likely be fought for water. You are “spot on” regarding the ignorance (lack of knowledge) of voters in political matters, from local to county to state to federal. We need more education in government, civics, and political science. That is being threatened by the “RadCons” as they seek to privatize education for (principally) religious reasons. Democracy requires “eternal vigilance” but in today’s society people seem to be either too busy, too lazy, or too preoccupied with consumerism (going to the shopping malls to shop or be entertained) to pay attention to government or our “electeds.” We need to turn this around…

  5. Oops — “on a number of different groups” should read: “on a number of different grounds” — typing too fast…

    PS — I recommend this book: “The God Strategy: How Religion Became a Political Weapon in America,” by Davide Domke and Kevin Coe. Domke teaches at UW, Dept. of Communications.

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