The fear that the Department of Defense would close stateside commissaries has been replaced by the realization that while commissaries will stay open, the price of groceries could go up.
Stars and Stripes reports Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel presented a proposal Monday that would cut taxpayer subsidies to commissaries from $1.4 billion each year down to $400 million.
Military Spouse Magazine founder Babette Maxwell explained to NBC News that the proposal breaks a promise made between military families and the government. Service members agree to lower salaries in exchange for discounts at commissaries:
"This is a pay cut, pure and simple... It's going to be painful.
“As much as we’d like to pretend that Department of Defense leaders are dialed into what’s happening in boots-on-the-ground families, they’re not. We are. We know what our families can afford. They don’t."
An unnamed senior defense official told the Wall Street Journal the price hike at commissaries would also devastate low-income veterans who depend on the discounts to make ends meet:
"These are near and dear to the retired population's heart. The commissaries will be a battle."
According to a 2013 study conducted by the Defense Commissary Agency, commissary shoppers pay 30 percent less for groceries than they would at supermarkets, club stores, drug stores, discount department stores, and even dollar stores.