This story out of the D.C. area crossed my path in December – pretty innocuous stuff, in a way, except that it was among the first I saw notifying families that activities on base are going to start costing more.
The subtext here is clear: brace yourself, the budget cuts are coming to a base gym, childcare center, commissary, kennel, playground, housing office or recreation site near you.
One of the things I used to struggle with as a reporter was over how to give federal budget drama a face. The powers that be on Capitol Hill yammer on about cutting this and cutting that, and it can be hard know exactly who, if anyone, such things will impact.
But defense cuts are a little different. It’s easy to see how this drama impacts military families and our day-to-day lives. Now, suddenly paying $3 at the gym for a class that was once free probably isn’t going to break the bank once or twice. But if it’s something that you regularly participate in and have never had to budget for personally, it could have an impact. And if things like that start costing more all over the place, you’re going to have to make some choices about what activities you can keep doing and those for which you’ll have to find free alternatives.
I’ve not noticed any price hikes like this one here at the Army’s Fort Campbell – but we are living off post at the moment and I don’t frequent very many of the facilities. Maybe I’ve just missed them. Have you noticed any price increases where you are?