mises.org / Tate Fegley / Feb 24, 2017
On Monday, January 23rd, President Trump announced a hiring freeze on federal workers, with an exception for jobs that are ostensibly related to national security or public safety. The exception includes uniformed military personnel, but does not include the military’s civilian support staff, which already numbers around 750,000.
This has led to somewhat of a brouhaha regarding two major US Army bases – one in Fort Knox, Kentucky and the other in Wiesbaden, Germany — that have sent out memos to soldiers informing them that child care services would no longer be provided by the Army, specifically claiming that the closure is due to the hiring freeze. On its face, such a cut seems like a great burden to put on military families and may lead one to question whether this hiring freeze is really worth it. And that is precisely the intention.
The First Rule of Budget Cuts: Cut the Most Popular Programs First
If one takes any time at all to consider the options Army bases have for cutting expenses, it requires an extreme form of naiveté to think that they had no choice but to cut child care. Don’t just take my word for it: go to the Garrison Wiesbaden website and look at the recreational opportunities that remain funded. A family on base may no longer receive complimentary child care, but they can attend Zumba, yoga, German, English as a Second Language, and money management classes (to name but a few) for free. And the kids aren’t left out either. Every Friday they can still attend “Play Morning” where they can interact with other children while their parents learn about child development and parenting skills.
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