This Is Austerity: The White House Will Install a Snazzier Bowling Alley

We are down to a small military presence and our White House bowling alley.


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As everyone knows, the U.S. government is operating under strict austerity budgeting, pinching every penny and slashing every expense. Despite this reality, the White House still found some money to renovate its bowling alley.

Thank goodness. Now White House visitors will be spared from the horror of "chipped lanes and worn-out shoes." (Is this some Third World hellhole, or is this America?) According to Time:

The exclusive bowling lanes reserved for White House employees and their guests are getting an upgrade.

According to a federal contractor posting, the General Services Administration is seeking to modernize the 1940s-era lanes, which were first located in the West Wing near what is now the Situation Room. The two-lane Harry S. Truman Bowling Alley was moved to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in 1955 for the use of White House staffers.

The bowling alley was recently photographed by POLITICO, which described "chipped lanes and worn-out shoes" in the basement getaway. "It has been fifteen years since these lanes have had any professional, industry standard maintenance, modifications, repairs or attention," the GSA wrote in the posting. "They are now irreparable."

Irreparable! Much like our national character, so long as our White House's bowling alley is not up to snuff.

"It could use [the renovations]," one recent bowler told TIME on the condition his name not be used. "It's quaint and feels old. There's no electric scoreboard, so you have to score by hand—which is just debilitating when you're focused on bowling a 300 like I am."

Debilitating. All Americans should be thankful that years of severe spending cuts have nevertheless left room for this critical function of government: the maintenance of a suitable bowling alley. As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi so wisely put it, "There's no more cuts to make." None. We are down to a small military presence and our White House bowling alley.

On a side note: The poor state of the White House bowling alley could explain why President Obama is so embarrassingly terrible at bowling. At an infamous campaign event in Pennsylvania a few years back, he managed to score a mere 37.