Feeding at the Trough: Chuck Hagel and the Commissary

MexicCity 151.

Apparently there is no lower limit on shamelessness.

Here we are in the Great Recession, and everyone in government is feeling the effects of the Great 10% Sequestration. Instead of being fired outright, many civilian employees of the military’s huge bureaucracy are only being asked to give 10 days of “furlough.” No work, no pay…. one day a month.

Sec. of Defense Chuck Hagel visited the Charleston Navy Base on Thursday. According to the New York Times (7/19/13, page A11), Hagel not only had to respond to complaints about this ‘unfair’ policy. He had to explain why a new $45 million commissary was going to be delayed. And why the commissary is now closed on Mondays. Can you believe the outrage?

For those who have never been to a commissary, let me explain that it’s like a Walmart or Costco. But only the military and its civilian employees can shop there, tax free of course, and at prices lower than you pay. The 110 employees of the commissary take their furlough together, so it’s now closed on Mondays. But that really inconveniences 74-year-old Joel Logue, a petty officer who retired eons ago (and who probably was never ever fired at). He wants his tax-free, reduced price groceries on Monday too, gosh darn it.

Why is the federal government running grocery stores? Why compete with the local economy? Does this not deprive local government of taxes? Why would the U.S. even consider spending $45 million on a new commissary?

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3 Responses to Feeding at the Trough: Chuck Hagel and the Commissary

  1. Unaltered by the House bill, for example, is a $130 million bite from commissary operations this year, which will force base grocery stores, at least in the continental United States, to close Wednesdays, their lightest sales day, from late April through September. This will coincide with day-a-week furloughs — or 20 percent pay cuts — planned for up to 800,000 civilian employees of the Department of Defense.

  2. Spot on with this write-up, I actually think this website needs far more attention.

    I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the information!

  3. Dash Cruz says:

    The commissaries, while often abused by undeserving retirees, serve as a privilege for retired and active soldiers! They are necessary because they are operated within the security of a base and provide a safe environment for soldiers to buy the necessities to survive; in time of peace and war!
    The government is in the grocery business, not to compete with the local economies, rather to provide a service for those who put everything on the line to protect your basic way of life! The prices are lower because they are not in it to make money; most have a +\- 5% tolerance, which means they would be perfectly happy losing money to provide said service!
    So before you go dogging the government for providing a service to our soldiers, you should ask yourself “why am I shopping at Walmart? A retailer whom subsidies new stores with their unlimited supply of money, so that they can offer lower than competitive prices in new areas, then raise the prices back up when smaller/local grocers are forced to close or move because they cannot compete!!”

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