Food Fight

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Alex Tabarrok shares a story rich with irony — the Senate, led by Democrat Diane Feinstein, has finally voted to privatize its restaurants and food services, something the House did twenty years ago, which led to a sort of East and West Berlin of food services:

In a masterful bit of understatement, Feinstein blamed [millions of dollars in losses] on “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.

The demagogues didn’t want to face facts when Feinstein suggested privatization:

In a closed-door meeting with Democrats in November, she was practically heckled by her peers for suggesting it, senators and aides said.

“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.

As the reporter noted, “The wages of the approximately 100 Senate food service workers average $37,000 annually.”

When Feinstein warned “that if they did not agree to turn over the operation to a private contractor, prices would be increased 25 percent across the board,” they voted to privatize.

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