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Published:November 2nd, 2009 18:00 EST
Will Military Town's Economies Recover?

Will Military Town's Economies Recover?

By Sean Bazaar


Deployments today are as common place as the changing of the seasons. All across the United States and various other countries to include, Korea, Italy and Germany, military units are constantly on the move whether to a combat zone or returning home. These deployments vary in length and mission, but many aspects hold true for everyone regardless of service branch. The time spent away from home effects everyone and everything in small and large ways. The main focus that the vast majority of the public immediately recognizes and sympathizes with is the families of soldiers at home who are left to deal with the loss of a spouse, or the child of a single service member who now has to live with another relative, sometimes in completely different states and environments for a duration of time ranging from four to fifteen months. While this most definitely takes a toll on the families back home and the soldiers abroad, there is another critical part of deployment that is felt across the board at military towns around the world and that is the massive loss of consumerism provided by soldiers and their families on a daily basis. When a unit leaves, the surrounding economy is left with a gaping hole from where a lot of cash flow and profits stem from. The loss of three thousand people can have devastating effects on the economy. 

            Businesses ranging from restaurants to bars and clubs, auto dealers and electronic stores all take a hit during this time. When soldiers first get to a unit and there making decent money at seventeen/eighteen years old, one of the first things they want to do is go out and purchase a vehicle, usually a new one. After that, many soldiers will deck their cars out with rims, massive stereos, lifts and ground effects. When you take these consumers out of a normal economy environment, that has the ability to greatly drop the sales of all these products, also this isn`t in one specific location; this is a set pattern around all military installations. It`s hard to calculate the actual spending power of thousands of soldiers and their families over the course of a year, but make no mistake, most if not all businesses take a massive hit. Throughout my various deployments, I have returned home and found that certain businesses have closed down; where when I left they were thriving. To further add to this, this has the potential of playing a role in businesses being forced to lay off employees throughout the years. Granted I`m not saying this is the cause as a whole, but rather perhaps a small part. Many civilians think of the military as a machine, but in reality we play a massive role in the world and in our economy.

 Over the years as jobs have been lost and businesses have closed, one thing that has remained the same is that military personnel and their families still receive our paychecks regularly, so where many on the civilian side has had to make drastic financial cutbacks in their daily routine of life, soldiers have stayed the same in spending power on all forms of business, even during the holidays where many families who were once able to pocket out large amounts of money for a grand a festive celebration have been reduced to cutting corners all around just to put food on the table or gas in the tank, military families spend freely in the knowledge that our jobs are secure and we will always have money coming into our back accounts.

            So the major question still stands, and that is when the military town economies recover will. While the various branches of the military across the world are making phenomenal gains in the global war on terrorism, in the long run are we hurting our own country and the host countries throughout the world by consistently creating large cuts of consumer spending, that in my mind would no doubt improve our economy and the countries as a whole. Perhaps as Iraq dies down and the citizens there assume responsibility for their country and we have less service members deployed away from home, military towns will begin to see improvements and increases in cash flow as a whole throughout the local businesses around military towns causing an increase of jobs and perhaps new businesses to open.