Getting Clipped in (and by) Congress
This article about the Congressional Barber Shop caught my eye because I have actually seen the place, although just in passing, en route to another perk. And true to my personal experience of decades ago, our congressional elite continue to benefit themselves at the expense of the taxpayers. As the article linked above relates, our elected royals receive their tonsorial treatments by a staff of overpaid government (is that a redundancy?) stylists, whose income and union benefits far exceed their non-governmental counterparts.
I was dismayed to read this, but in no way surprised. Back in the'80s, as a government sales manager for a small subsidiary of one of the giant pharmaceutical companies, I was taken to the Capitol pharmacy by our East Coast manager. And yes, I did say Capitol pharmacy. Unknown to most Americans, our political potentates have their very own pharmacy for their exclusive use. My guy warned me in advance, "You're not gonna believe this, boss." And he was so right.
The pharmacy service counter was bustling like that in any other major discount retailer. The major distinction here though, was that the discount was 100%. That's right, free, no charge, no co-pay, nada, nada, nada. And as you might expect when something as expensive as pharmaceuticals are free, the business was brisk to say the least. Congressional staffers were lined up in the hallway outside the dispensing window waiting to tote away large brown paper bags filled with medicaments that would have cost an ordinary taxpayer hundreds of dollars.
My company produced a line of over-the-counter (not requiring a prescription) dermatological products, bath oils, creams, lotions and soaps, that were considered quite cosmetically elegant as well as quite pricey. I was both pleased, as a sales manager, and perplexed, as a taxpayer, to see them being so freely dispensed for absolutely no charge. Our very pricey, prescription steroid creams were being dispensed with equal largesse. And not the 15gm tubes typically used by our military pharmacies for the troops but the 60gm tubes which a military patient rarely received. Of course, our products were only a small part of what was going into those big brown bags; our competitors' equally expensive products were going out that window with similar dispatch.
I spent a lot of time in some very busy pharmacies in my three decades in the health care business, in some of the largest military hospitals in the world; but I have never witnessed pharmaceuticals being dispensed with such alacrity and abandon as at that cost-free, congressional cornucopia. It's been decades and I have no way of knowing if that pharmacy is still in operation; but it is a government function, and most of them, once created exist forever.
Pharmacy, barber shop or whatever, we're always getting clipped by Congress.