The Dayton Daily News (one of the most consistently interesting regional papers in the country) has a great story on the spendthrift ways of the U.S. Senate, the World's Greatest Deliberative Body that has been unable or unwilling to pass a budget for coming up on four years straight.
It turns out that the Senate excels not so much in deliberating but in flushing tax dollars down the toilet. To wit:
Last year the Senate Hair Care barbershop/salon ran a $401,000 deficit providing $20 cuts to senators, staff and members of the public who visited the shop in the basement of the Russell Office Building, according to Terry Gainer, the sergeant-at-arms and doorkeeper of the Senate, whose wide-ranging duties include overseeing the hair care operation.
You got that? A group of folks not particularly known for their flowing locks are managing to drop almost half-a-million of your tax dollars on their very special heads.
It's not just shaves and haircuts, of course. As the News reports:
The legislative branch budget has grown 73 percent since 2000. Although Congress cut funding by 2.7 percent in 2011 and 5.2 percent last year, the 2013 appropriations request of $4.5 billion is up 4.8 percent over 2012. Embedded in those appropriations is a vast menu of services, an army of staff and an array of supplies, equipment and facilities supporting the 100 senators and 435 voting members and six non-voting members of the House of Representatives….
While senators and representatives receive $174,000, the Speaker of the House is paid $223,000 annually. The president pro tempore of the Senate and the majority and minority leaders in the House and Senate are paid $193,400 annually….
Congress members also receive:
- A generous pension that allows a member to retire at 62 with a full pension after five years of civilian federal service.
- Rides on a private subway system that runs between offices, committee rooms and the Capitol.
- Up to 96 cents per mile for mileage reimbursement.
- Free postage - known as "franking" - for mailings to constituents.
Read the whole story. And then tell your senators to stop subsidizing their hairdos and hairdon'ts with your precious tax dollars! There's about 30 Haircuttery joints within a dozen miles of the Capitol, fer chrissakes.
Remember the old management saw about "leading by example"? Yeah, well, the legislative branch sure does. Which helps explain why gross federal debt is above 100 percent of the economy and shows essentially no sign of ever coming down absent some sort of global-warming induced meteor attack. If that's what it takes to make Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, and the rest to pay full price for their own goddamned haircuts and dye jobs, then so be it.