Senate Cafeteria: Democrat Incompetence in Microcosm

If a government-run cafeteria bleeds the red ink of cost overruns year after year, why on earth should anyone but the craziest, stupidest of fools believe that they can successfully run the health care system which represents over 1/6th of the economy?

For that matter, if the Democrat-controlled Senate can’t run a cafeteria, why on earth should anyone trust them to run the country?

The first three paragraphs of an AP article titled “Money-losing Senate restaurants to go private” read:

WASHINGTON (AP) – The famed bean soup served in Senate restaurants is made up of dried navy beans, smoked ham hocks, onions and a million-dollar tab for the taxpayer.

That menu for financial distress could be about to change as the Senate, following the lead taken by the House more than 20 years ago, moves to privatize the restaurants, coffee shops and cafeterias located in the Capitol and Senate office buildings.

The Senate last week passed a bill authorizing Senate restaurants, now run by the Architect of the Capitol, to go private, ending months of back-and-forth between Democrats appalled by the operation’s money-losing ways and other Democrats worried that restaurant workers would get thrown out like the ham bones.

The opening paragraphs from the Washington Post likewise detail just how disasterous this Senate-controlled operation truly is:

Year after year, decade upon decade, the U.S. Senate’s network of restaurants has lost staggering amounts of money — more than $18 million since 1993, according to one report, and an estimated $2 million this year alone, according to another.

The financial condition of the world’s most exclusive dining hall and its affiliated Capitol Hill restaurants, cafeterias and coffee shops has become so dire that, without a $250,000 subsidy from taxpayers, the Senate won’t make payroll next month.

The embarrassment of the Senate food service struggling like some neighborhood pizza joint has quietly sparked change previously unthinkable for Democrats. 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 and all but guarantee lower wages and benefits for the outfit’s new hires.

The House is expected to agree — its food service operation has been in private hands since the 1980s — and President Bush’s signature on the bill would officially end a seven-month Democratic feud and more than four decades of taxpayer bailouts.

Just in case you figure the Washington Post article must be conservatively biased, the aforementioned Associated Press piece puts it this way:

…the Senate restaurants last year cost taxpayers $1.3 million with food quality and service that is “noticeably sub par.”

[Senator Diane Feinstein, the chair of the Senate Rules Committee,] noted that in budget years 2003 through 2007, Senate restaurants racked up deficits of $4.7 million while the House received commissions from the operator estimated at about $1.2 million.

Losses could top $2 million this year, and the restaurants will need a transfer of $250,000 from the Senate’s emergency funds in July to make payroll, she wrote in a letter to other senators.

A private review commissioned by Feinstein found that the Senate operation had no strategy for improvement other than price increases. She said new menu items “have not been remotely reflective of the rapid change in the food industry whether it be health and nutrition or ethnic foods.”

So let’s review: the private-run House cafeteria is generating over a million dollars in profit while the Senate/government-controlled cafeteria racks up nearly $five million in deficits.

But Democrats continuously call for one massive element of the economy after another to fall directly under government control, and those elements of the economy they can’t directly control, they seek to pile up regulations that amount to control, which harm the ability of American businesses to compete in the global marketplace.

Another few paragraphs toward the end of the AP article demonstrate just how much trouble we are in now that our economy is in the hands of Democrats:

But Feinstein’s efforts to change the system ran into obstacles from four Democratic senators: Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who questioned whether current workers would face lower wages, reduced benefits and be deprived of union representation.

Feinstein said she was “somewhat dismayed” by the resistance. She stressed that under the proposed contract with Restaurant Associates, the New York-based company that runs the House restaurants and will operate the 550-seat cafeteria in the underground Capitol Visitor Center slated to open this fall, current employees will continue at the same basic rate of pay and receive the same level of health insurance and retirement benefits.

Those not wishing to switch to the new system would be eligible for a voluntary buyout of up to $25,000. She said 47 of the 96 permanent restaurant employees are expected to take the buyout.

The four senators signed off, saying they were pleased that Restaurant Associates was willing to commit in the contract to union neutrality and a reasonable annual cost-of-living adjustment.

Modern Democrats are socialists, and they have been for decades. They look at the horrendous failure of Europe’s economy and say, “That’s what we want for the United States. Profit doesn’t matter; common sense doesn’t matter; reality doesn’t matter. It’s all about protecting workers’ benefits, no matter how ineffecient, unsustainable, unrealistic, or doomed to disaster our policies prove to be every time they are tried.

Why did it take Democrat Dianne Feinstein to tackle this? Why did it take Republican Richard Nixon to go to China? Democrats have blocked such common sense privatization approaches for years. it took a Democrat to finally overcome the Democrat’s opposition. And Democrats had to act because now that they are in control, they could actually start taking some of the blame for their stupid policies.

Please understand this: these people cannot even control their own cafeteria, yet they want to control 1/6th of the economy, and intimately involved themselves in matters of life and death for hundreds of millions of people.

The last apparently not-so-delicious bit of irony is also important to understand:

In a masterful bit of understatement, Feinstein blamed “noticeably subpar” food and service. Foot traffic bears that out. Come lunchtime, many Senate staffers trudge across the Capitol and down into the basement cafeteria on the House side. On Wednesdays, the lines can be 30 or 40 people long.

House staffers almost never cross the Capitol to eat in the Senate cafeterias.

“It’s so bad that the Senate hasn’t yet figured out that House ‘Taco Salad Wednesday’ trumps any type of entree they have to offer,” said Ron Bonjean, a former press secretary to both the House speaker and the Senate Republican leader.

You see, whether we are talking about the Senate cafeteria or the government-managed health care system that Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats seek to impose, what we will end up with is something really expensive that produces crappy results.

When the Democrats get their way with our health care system, it is only a matter of time before medical care is “rationed,” just as it is in Europe. This is because bureacrats don’t run things as much as they run them into the ground. The cost of treatment will go up (as government insiders get their piece of the pie, as the massive government regulations take effect, as government employee unions usurp benefits for themselves that Americans in the private sector don’t receive, etc.) and the quality and level of treatment will go down.

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5 Responses to “Senate Cafeteria: Democrat Incompetence in Microcosm”

  1. Ellajac Says:

    You’d think college-educated legislators would be able to figure this out a LONG time ago… Wait, maybe it’s the college education that’s the problem. I say elect Big Oil CEOs to office. :) Not that they’d take the pay cut, but maybe they could turn this ship around and compensate themselves appropriately.

    Thanks for commenting on my blog!

  2. Michael Eden Says:

    And likewise ye on mine.

    It’s funny how Democrats blame oil companies for gas prices, automakers for SUVs, insurance companies for health care, mortgage companies for the sub-prime loan meltdown, and so on. They refuse to blame unions or lawyers or individual people who make stupid decisions. And no way they would ever blame themselves!

    They have a fundamental and irrational fear of business and fear of the private sector. They demand to control it in the name of the soulless, mindless proletariat who apparently are nothing more than mindless victims passively waiting to be manipulated by the next evil corporate entity that comes along.

    Sadly, Congress is full of lawyers who only know how to litigate, rather than lead, and demagogue, rather than deliver.

  3. mamajerrie Says:

    well sarah palin couldn’t find her own ass if she had it painted, printed and directions on it!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. mamajerrie Says:

    maybe we don’t need democrats or republicans, we need socialists (real socialist or communists.) left of Lenin

  5. Michael Eden Says:

    What does one even say?

    We see someone who is so completely overwhelmed with hostility toward Sarah Palin (and I mean, WHY her?) that she is compelled to attack her even on an article and a story that has nothing whatsoever to do with Sarah Palin.

    And then we have a call to embrace pure socialism – an ideology that resulted in the murder of well over more than 100 million of its own citizens IN PEACETIME – as an answer.

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