Taxpayers getting a trim at US Senate barbershop?

Senate Barbershop
Photo Credit Library of Congress

We often hear about lawmakers in Washington, D.C. enjoying a privileged lifestyle at taxpayer expense, living in a bubble, isolated from real-world experiences that everyday Americans must deal with.

Like getting a haircut.

As it turns out, Senate Hair Care Services is there to meet the needs of busy lawmakers looking for a quick trim. The barbershop provides government-subsidized cuts, shaves and shines in a tradition that predates the Civil War.

And it has run a deficit of approximately $350,000 a year for each of the last 15 years, according the The Weekly Standard. For those keeping score, that’s $5 million.

Considering that in 2010, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the estimated net worth of a U.S. senator stood at an average of $2.56 million, it’s fair to ask why this service is being subsidized.

The Weekly Standard noted that sequestration’s required spending cuts is providing convenient cover for efforts to “privatize” the barbershop — efforts that have met great resistance from senators who have argued “that the barbershop was an important institution passed down from the great statesmen who came before them.”

It’s also a nice convenience for “busy” lawmakers, even though for the 100th through 110th Congresses, the Senate met an average of just under 137 calendar days each year, according to the Center for American Progress.

“I don’t know when you could get a haircut with our schedule around here,” Arlen Specter once said. “You can slip in and out of the barbershop in 20 minutes. If you have to go downtown, it will take an hour and a half.”

So add haircuts to a long list of perks costing taxpayers millions of dollars every year, be it for rental cars, dry cleaning or any number of reimbursements.

House Republicans successfully privatized their taxpayer-subsidized barbershop in 1995, according to the Weekly Standard.

Read full report here: Supercuts – The Senate barbershop gets a trim


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