January 23, 2005


I got excited a few months ago when they raised our Cost Of Living Allowance, but now today I am feeling alarmed:

As the dollar drops against foreign currency, it makes the cost of basing U.S. military personnel in Europe and Asia all the more expensive. For example, every time the euro rises one euro cent in value against the dollar, the dollar increase in salary and benefits for local-national employees at the Navy Exchanges is $187,000 adjusted annually, according to Lt. Cmdr. Lisa Braun, spokeswoman for Navy Region Europe in Naples, Italy.

Get us out of here! Send us all back home so we can spend our dollars in Kansas and Texas instead of on paying Germans to sit on their rumps and be rude to us in the housing office. Let me go home so I can pump my money into Quizno's and Hobby Lobby instead of spending it here. Let our single soldiers drop hundreds of dollars in American clubs and bars instead of being banned from Club New York in Nuremburg because Club New freakin' York doesn't like Americans. Let me take my car in to the Nissan dealer at home so I can stop getting hosed here because our warranty is no good in Europe. Let me tip an American waiter for bringing me my third free refill of Dr. Pepper instead of the German who charged me extra for ketchup.

Wanna solve issues of COLA and ridiculous pay/benefits for local nationals?
Send. Us. Home.

Posted by Sarah at January 23, 2005 08:42 AM

When we were stationed in Germany, we finally had to move into base housing because our rent went up over 30% in one year, and we weren't paying a single DM more per month. That exchange rate is a two-edged sword for sure.

Posted by: Ted at January 23, 2005 03:03 PM

But, Sarah, aren't we needed in Germany to protect them from a French invasion?

Oh, wait--I forgot. Snicker. Actually, I wholeheartedly agree: We're done with them, and they're done with us. Adios.


Posted by: Jim Shawley at January 23, 2005 04:15 PM

I second that motion. I can't count how many times I say that EVERY DAY. As much as I love the experience here, it irritates me to no end to put money in their pockets.

Posted by: Erin at January 24, 2005 12:03 AM

Sarah: I'm stationed with the Navy in the Naples area, and until the COLA catches up on my LES, the exchange rate really bites.

OTOH, like my Italian wife says, it bites for Italians, too. And on my own blog, I linked to a comment on another blog by a French person who said that the higher prices since the Euro has been instituted have been a major concern there.

The Euro is turning out to be one, giant rip-off, IMHO.

Posted by: someguy at January 25, 2005 03:02 PM

I remember living in Germany in the 80's as a dependent kid (Zweibruecken AFB), and we had it the other way around -- for awhile, the exchange rate was almost 4DM to $1. My parents bought an Audi for somewhere near what they would have paid for a Ford Escort in the states...

Back then, there was a clear divide between the Germans who were old enough to remember WWII and those who were of my generation. The older generation loved Americans -- we lived in a tiny village and our 90-year old neighbors, who spoke no English, were absolutely delighted to have Americanische Luftwaffe living next door to them. On the other hand, the kids my age had an almost-universal dislike of Americans. I'm not surprised that we're no longer wanted there, now that we've all grown up.

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