Senate Food Fight

John Campbell
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Posted: Jun 09, 2008 4:38 PM

Since 1993, the Senate side restaurants have lost more than $18 million and it is estimated that the cafeterias have lost as much as $2 million already this year, and without a $250,000 subsidy from taxpayers, the Senate won't make payroll next month. 

I know this may seem like something of pure fantasy, but I assure you it is true, and yet another example of government mismanagement. 

Last week in a late night voice vote, the Senate passed a measure agreeing to privatize its restaurants and cafeterias. According to GAO, the Senate Restaurants bring in more than $10 million a year in food sales but have turned a profit in only seven of the last 44 years in operation. 

Senator Feinstein (D-CA), blames the poor quality of food, but I am inclined to believe, as is the case in many government endeavors, the lack of entrepreneurial incentive contributes to poor food quality, high prices, and eventually the need for more government subsidy.

Senators needn’t look far for confirmation of a successful example of privatization; the House privatized its cafeterias in the 1980s, and since 2003 has turned a profit of roughly $1.2 million.