Government Reform

Perestroika Begins in the Cafeteria

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Who says privatization in Washington is dead?

Last week, in a late-night voice vote, the Senate agreed to privatize the operation of its food service, a decision that would, for the first time, put it under the control of a contractor[.]

It only took two decades of losing more than $1 million per year selling crap food to a captive audience for the World's Greatest Digestive Body to catch up to the junior privateers in the House. But not without a few ridiculous quotes from Democratic senators!

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), speaking for the group of senators who opposed privatizing the restaurants, said that "you cannot stand on the Senate floor and condemn the privatization of workers, and then turn around and privatize the workers here in the Senate and leave them out on their own." […]

"I know what happens with privatization. Workers lose jobs, and the next generation of workers make less in wages. These are some of the lowest-paid workers in our country, and I want to help them," Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), a staunch labor union ally, said recently.

Washington Post story here.

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  1. Ah the great Sherrod Brown, my former representative and current congressman. There is no topic on which he cannot be wrong.

  2. Let me know when they’re ready to outsource the House of Representatives to India.

  3. These are some of the lowest-paid workers in our country, and I want to help them,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), a staunch labor union ally, said recently.

    You could try being a better tipper Senator; but that require you to actually stick your hand in your own pocket, wouldn’t it?

  4. I can haz privatized cheezburger?

  5. The only thing more annoying than reading about Sherrod Brown is hearing him…the man sounds like a male Janis Joplin.

  6. outsource the House of Representatives to India

    “Don’t worry, Speaker Pelosi! I’ll tell everyone you were ‘untouchable.'”

  7. If they’re the lowest paid workers in the country under the current non-privatized system, how would maintaining the status quo be a way to “help them”?

    Also, keep in mind that a little privatization is often worse than none at all (eg, Walter Reed). A private company that has the government as its only customer, is generally even less efficient than having things run directly by the government, as that company can only lose money by government action, not by customer choice.

  8. Crap food? The breakfasts in the Congressional office buildings rule!

  9. Also, keep in mind that a little privatization is often worse than none at all (eg, Walter Reed). A private company that has the government as its only customer, is generally even less efficient than having things run directly by the government, as that company can only lose money by government action, not by customer choice.

    That’s what I came here to say.

  10. If you RTFA, you wouldn’t worry about “a little privitization”. The same company that has been running the House cafeteria for 20 years, turning a profit and paying the House a commission will be taking over the Senate cafeteria.

  11. I can haz privatized cheezburger bean soup?

    Fixed. (Just like the cat!)

  12. “I know what happens with privatization. Workers lose jobs…”

    Haha! It’s always about the JORBS!

  13. John-David,

    The company that ran Walter Reed was also turning a profit. I’m not concerned about the financial health of favored private interests, I’m concerned that they’re subject to real competition.

  14. Chris, they do face competition.

    A senator can walk down the road and buy a martini in any number of watering places.

    A guy missing a quarter of his brain lying in a ward? One who is under orders to stay in that ward or be counted a deserter who is in danger of being locked up in a cage? He can’t cross the street so easily.

  15. tarran,

    True, but the cafeteria inside the Capitol is in a highly favored competitive position, to say the least, because you have to leave the Capitol grounds to go anywhere else. It’s not like the Capitol grounds are the size of my back yard…it’s a decent sized walk to get anywhere else.

  16. A Popeyes chicken joint, a moon pie cart and a
    aarrrra C cola machine. That’s my lil slice o heaven.

  17. Senators can’t just go wandering around in public. Some fool might try to petition them for redress of grievances (without paying).

  18. If I go to lunch with a senator, who should pick up the tab?

  19. I believe Brown did vote against that Global Warming Bill (probably for all the wrong reasons.)

    Any libertarian considering Obama should look closely at those speeches by the Democratic senators and then tell me it’s hyperbole to call them socialists.

  20. If I go to lunch with a senator, who should pick up the tab?

    Well, you should each buy your own.

    No, seriously, don’t laugh. I know the notion of a Senator reaching into his own pocket for anything is risible, especially when your pocket is within easy reach, but still. . .

  21. I read the headline as “Petronia” and thought this thread had something to do with the Family Guy.

  22. Any libertarian considering Obama should look closely at those speeches by the Democratic senators and then tell me it’s hyperbole to call them socialists.

    In fairness, it was Dianne Feinstein who pushed this through, and it wasn’t like the Republicans managed this when they were in the majority.

  23. True, but the cafeteria inside the Capitol is in a highly favored competitive position, to say the least, because you have to leave the Capitol grounds to go anywhere else. It’s not like the Capitol grounds are the size of my back yard…it’s a decent sized walk to get anywhere else.

    There are something like 6 cafeteris, between the Capitol itself and the House/Senate office buildings.

    Maybe they should just privatize each one to a different supplier.

  24. Taktix,
    That was Petoria. He was gonna call it Peterland, but the gay bar down the street already had that one. NTTAWWT

  25. joe,

    Nope. I won’t be satisfied until there’s a food court in the rotunda and you can park a taco truck right in front of the capitol steps.

  26. C P, a roach coach with the “La coocaracha” horn?

  27. These are some of the lowest-paid workers in our country, and I want to help them,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), a staunch labor union ally, said recently.

    Many, many moons ago, J sub D took a job as a busboy at the age of 17. It didn’t pay shit. The fact that I had no employment record and had ~ zero experience or training in food service, I was one “of the lowest-paid workers in our country”.

    Sen. Sherrod Brown, wouldn’t you say I deserved to be?

    Sheesh!

  28. “I know what happens with privatization. Workers lose jobs, and the next generation of workers make less in wages. These are some of the lowest-paid workers in our country, and I want to help them,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), a staunch labor union ally, said recently.

    The Senate cafeteria must be ensuring that their diet contains plenty of irony.

  29. These Congresspersons should eat McDonald’s for lunch like the rest of us.

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