From The Weekly Standard comes the story of the outrageous taxpayer subsidy of haircuts and shoe shines for U.S. senators. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum tried to get rid of this back in the 1990s, but he was defeated in his effort. The U.S. House eliminated theirs in 1995.
The barbershop of the U.S. Senate has run deficits of approximately $350,000 a year for each of the last 15 years. So Senate sergeant at arms Terry Gainer has decided to try out a new model, one that has looked rather unfashionable during the Obama era: privatization.
Gainer has tried to trim Senate Hair Care Services for the past few years. Now the political climate troubling everyone else on Capitol Hill is allowing him to move faster than he anticipated towards privatizing it completely.
How much have you and I paid?
Senate Hair Care Services has cost taxpayers about $5.25 million over 15 years. They foot the bill of more than $40,000 for the shoeshine attendant last fiscal year. Six barbers took in more than $40,000 each, including nearly $80,000 for the head barber.
Gainer, who is entering his seventh year as sergeant at arms, accepts the blame, saying “shame on me” for not moving to privatize it sooner. But he adds, “I’ve tried to be more of a humanitarian than some people would like, and not just wallop everyone’s heads off at once.”
Government does not exist to be an employer. Its role is to provide necessary core services to its constituents.
Absolutely ridiculous waste of public money.