So, the Senate barbershop is a thing, and surprise: It runs at a deficit

posted at 6:31 pm on March 17, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Well, isn’t this just peachy. This is actually the first time I’ve heard anything about it, but apparently, the public servants of the United States Senate have been enjoying taxpayer-subsidized trims and shaves on Capitol Hill since before the Civil War — an oh-so-beloved tradition that, in merely the past fifteen years, has cost taxpayers over five million dollars. Senate Hair Care Services is technically open to the public, for those who know/care about it, but last year alone the salon needed a $300,000 bailout from the Senate coffers to cover their jacked-up costs.

The convenient little Senatorial perk has steadily resisted several sporadic efforts to reform the outfit over the years, but sequestration is once again focusing some attention on the endeavor, the Weekly Standard reports:

The barbershop of the U.S. Senate has run deficits of approximately $350,000 a year for each of the last 15 years. So Senate sergeant at arms Terry Gainer has decided to try out a new model, one that has looked rather unfashionable during the Obama era: privatization. …

Gainer has tried to trim Senate Hair Care Services for the past few years. Now the political climate troubling everyone else on Capitol Hill is allowing him to move faster than he anticipated towards privatizing it completely. …

The sequestration’s required spending cuts provide convenient cover. Gainer is offering early retirement to all eligible employees, hoping to replace them with independent contractors. Four employees have already accepted the offer, and they plan to retire in the next 60 days. Gainer likens these “buyouts” to those that corporations often make. He has no timeline for complete privatization, but is determined to see it through.

The other chamber managed to revamp their own deficit-running, government-subsidized barbershop in 1995, when House Republicans passed a resolution as a part of Speaker Gingrich’s privatization task force — is it really so very outrageous that the Senate should have to do the same?


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Plugs Biden has the answer..

Electrongod on March 17, 2013 at 6:33 PM

This should be a no brainer. It needs to pay fair market value for rent and be open to anyone. Otherwise close it down. Those elitist scum politicians should be ashamed.

karenhasfreedom on March 17, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Surprise. The Democrats closed the Whitehouse to tours before they Senate stops giving free haircuts and shaves. Typical waste.

artman1746 on March 17, 2013 at 6:42 PM

is it really so very outrageous that the Senate should have to do the same?

You can’t really expect senators to rub elbows with us common serfs now, can you?

rbj on March 17, 2013 at 6:42 PM

“Shave and a Haircut, two bits”.

Not accounting for inflation..

Electrongod on March 17, 2013 at 6:43 PM

You can’t really expect senators to rub elbows with us common serfs now, can you?

Actually, yes, we should.

hawkeye54 on March 17, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Surprise. The Democrats closed the White House to tours before the Senate stops giving free haircuts and shaves. Typical waste.

Typical elitists in DC. Of course, cut out the real owners of the White House from visiting it, while keeping all the self created perks of Capitol Hill intact.

hawkeye54 on March 17, 2013 at 6:52 PM

There are plenty of “public servants” getting trim on taxpayers dollars, especially when on overseasjunkets, and it is not in a barber shop.

simkeith on March 17, 2013 at 6:56 PM

And yet somehow, they still have an approval rating greater than zero. Saddest part of the story.

nobar on March 17, 2013 at 6:58 PM

OK, I’ll bite..

How does one lose sooooo much money a year running a barbershop?

JSobon on March 17, 2013 at 7:01 PM

I’d be very interested to learn exactly what sort of services the senators get there. Is it simply a shave, a trim, shampoo, and a blow dry? Or do these services include styling, cuts, color, permanents, straitening treatments, extensions, weaves, manicures, pedicures, cosmetics, facials, etc?

The fact that four employees have thus far accepted early retirement, meaning that there are others who have not, suggests to me that the services offered rivaled a full service salon.

If the senators wish to have on site beauty and barber services, they should pay for them out of their own pocket, not the taxpayers pocket.

As to the senators requiring a shave…we have a grand little invention these days… its called an electric razor.

thatsafactjack on March 17, 2013 at 7:04 PM

The people who can’t run a barbershop are going to run ObamaCare, the largest undertaking in the history of the world.

Curtiss on March 17, 2013 at 7:09 PM

So, the Senate barbershop is a thing, and surprise: It runs at a deficit

Peanuts compared to health, and more outrageous, dental care.

They are the prince and princesses, not congressmen and women…

right2bright on March 17, 2013 at 7:09 PM

I think most of our show horses spend a couple hours in ‘hair and makeup’ if they are going to be any place close to a TV camera

I think the word vain doesn’t even begin to describe these people

r keller on March 17, 2013 at 7:10 PM

Just give them all Mohawks. Simple.

WhatSlushfund on March 17, 2013 at 7:12 PM

My haircuts cost $12. By my estimation that means that each one of the 100 Senators received 2778 haircuts per year for the last 15 yrs. Well groomed I’d say!

rich8450 on March 17, 2013 at 7:16 PM

Just give them all Mohawks. Simple.

WhatSlushfund

I was thinking of something a bit more severe …..

BD57 on March 17, 2013 at 7:19 PM

Aren’t the majority of U.S. Senators millionaires to start with?

And surely the six-figure salaries we pay them, on top of all the money they make doing insider trading, should be enough to allow these already-wealthy individuals to pay for their own damn haircuts in a privately-run salon.

The shop is just another symptom of the rot that permeates our government.

AZCoyote on March 17, 2013 at 7:27 PM

Think this is a recent topic?

Think again.

1997 story: http://articles.philly.com/1997-11-17/news/25541733_1_haircuts-deficit-barber

It’s been 16 years and nothing done.

Throw them all out.

It’s us, the taxpayers, getting clipped yet again.

CharlieCA on March 17, 2013 at 7:28 PM

I wondered why when I told my senator to “get a haircut” he misunderstood?

viking01 on March 17, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Mr. Rostenkowski? Post Office on line two….

viking01 on March 17, 2013 at 7:30 PM

Senator Whinestein? COSCO on line three.

viking01 on March 17, 2013 at 7:31 PM

Mizzzzzz Pelosi? Starkist on line four?

viking01 on March 17, 2013 at 7:32 PM

With Wiener gone..
I am surprised that the barbershop is still operating in the red..

Electrongod on March 17, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Senator Fwank? Senator Dodd? Countrywide on lines five and six…

viking01 on March 17, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Nothing is too good for the professional royalty.

Bishop on March 17, 2013 at 7:35 PM

With Wiener gone..
I am surprised that the barbershop is still operating in the red..

Electrongod on March 17, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Not to mention Miss Lindsey and Silky Pony John Edwards…

One beauty session by each could easily burn through five mil’.

viking01 on March 17, 2013 at 7:35 PM

Not to mention Miss Lindsey and Silky Pony John Edwards…

One beauty session by each could easily burn through five mil’.

viking01 on March 17, 2013 at 7:35 PM

Does Frankenstine have access?
I can hear the backup beepers in Idaho when the dumpster is being emptied..

Electrongod on March 17, 2013 at 7:38 PM

With Wiener gone..
I am surprised that the barbershop is still operating in the red..

Electrongod on March 17, 2013 at 7:33 PM

The material they use for b-waxes isn’t eco friendly, don’t ya know?

nobar on March 17, 2013 at 7:38 PM

OMG! Those POOR and UNDERPAID Senators will have to dig into THEIR OWN pockets! SOB!

Too bad we can’t make it retroactive and have all those Senators PAY BACK THE TAXPAYERS!

ENOUGH WITH THE DAMNED PERKS!

GarandFan on March 17, 2013 at 7:42 PM

I heard Nanzi Pelosi stopped by and still hasn’t figured out why they handed her a paper bag….

viking01 on March 17, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Okay, okay, I apologize….. well, sorta.

viking01 on March 17, 2013 at 7:45 PM

Okay, okay, I apologize….. well, sorta.

viking01 on March 17, 2013 at 7:45 PM

Apology not excepted..

I concur with your original post…

Electrongod on March 17, 2013 at 7:49 PM

Looks like they give all the women senators helmet hair. Nice.

SouthernGent on March 17, 2013 at 7:50 PM

Now…….

Do we all remember how well the Post Office used to work ?

Just sayin’

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/1994/02/em375nbsp-time-to-resolve-the-house

RealMc on March 17, 2013 at 7:55 PM

Senator Ma’am stopped by and they gave her a bowl, some lawn shears and a sock.

viking01 on March 17, 2013 at 7:55 PM

Just give them all Mohawks. Simple.

WhatSlushfund on March 17, 2013 at 7:12 PM

I say a reverse Mohawk. Shave a strip down the middle. Maybe, then, some clothes with broad horizontal stripes…

trigon on March 17, 2013 at 7:57 PM

This barber shop/salon is another example of the implementation of the philosophy of the political class: NEVER SPEND YOUR OWN MONEY WHEN YOU CAN SPEND OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY.

I’d like to see a spread sheet detailing the exact value of all of the perquisites and benefits the political class has managed to set aside for themselves above and beyond their salaries.

thatsafactjack on March 17, 2013 at 8:04 PM

AND 97% of these irresponsible pigs got reelected last year.

The electorate is comprised of imbeciles and ignoramuses.

tom daschle concerned on March 17, 2013 at 8:04 PM

The politicians need to realize that they are the employees of the people, they think it’s the other way around.

mixplix on March 17, 2013 at 8:15 PM

So, 3,500 per year per Senator? Seriously?
No wonder John Edwards paid so much for his runway haircuts. It just comes with the territory.

LoganSix on March 17, 2013 at 8:28 PM

This is the icing on the cake, I demand a full audit of both houses of congress and the white house budgets. If the senate haircut budget runs a $350,000 annual deficit just how bad are the rest of them.

I intentionally did not capitalize their office titles, they no longer merit the respect that the offices once held.

I will write both of my senators and house members to demand this, I suggest you all do the same. I can’t wait to get their replies.

D-fusit on March 17, 2013 at 8:52 PM

This just makes me sick. Great post, Erika. I had to read this twice just to really make sure this wasn’t the Onion. Ugh.

Jackalope on March 17, 2013 at 8:54 PM

Nononomonsieur,

One must put the hair dresser onto thee ObamaCAre.

When one Looks good, one Feels good.

I really want to pay my hairdresser on my insurance, with a $20 copay.

These people (salons) are the epitome of small business, they are regulated to death, no one cares about their huge water bills, electric bills, safety regulations, business taxes and the cost of supplies that goes up and up. I have now found myself with a very addictive habit, and my entire Psyche is not able to do without my monthly appointments. I need my salon more than teenagers need birth control. More than prisoners need the self esteem of a full sex change operation (Massachusetts, anyway.) I self actualize as a much younger woman?

We were thinking that the people with the sex change are getting a lot of cosmetic work done on our health insurance…why not us too? No woman should go bankrupt because she can’t afford all her salon needs, and at a certain age…well some cosmetic work for those who want it.

Women want hair “medicine.” If they promise me this, I will vote democrat.

Fleuries on March 17, 2013 at 9:03 PM

but last year alone the salon needed a $300,000 bailout from the Senate coffers to cover their jacked-up costs.

…do they use Botox there instead of aftershave?…I think John Kerry’s face can account for about a quarter of a million of that deficit!

KOOLAID2 on March 17, 2013 at 9:17 PM

You can’t really expect senators to rub elbows with us common serfs now, can you?

rbj on March 17, 2013 at 6:42 PM

Perhaps not…but I can bloody well expect them to pay for their own damned haircuts like the rest of the men in America.

Solaratov on March 17, 2013 at 10:21 PM

God damn all the US royalties.

See this too.

Schadenfreude on March 18, 2013 at 1:24 AM

is it really so very outrageous that the Senate should have to do the same?

Yes it is. Imagine a Senator having to pay market price for their haircuts. This is a slippery slope. The next thing the peons will be demanding is that the Senate actually passes a budget! We can’t have that can we?

Keep in mind this is the institution that has a tennis court of the roof of one of the Senate office buildings because John Breaux liked to play tennis (guess who got to pay for that one).

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2013 at 7:50 AM

basta*ds!

ultracon on March 18, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Okay, okay, I apologize….. well, sorta.

viking01 on March 17, 2013 at 7:45 PM

No worries, paper bags don’t have feelings.

S. D. on March 18, 2013 at 10:11 AM

I’m a bit confused. Are the Senators paying for their haircuts, but not paying enough? What do they pay? $5, $10, $20? $20 is an outrageous price for a haircut. They make it sound as if the Senators don’t pay anything, but it isn’t clear. If that’s the case, then it isn’t a bailout, it’s a free government service. That’s just what we pay to have our Senators look good when hogging the camera. :p

If it’s free to the Senators, then make ‘em pay! If they are paying something above $15 for a haircut (and, apparently that isn’t enough) then maybe you need to look at who’s skimming the till, because that seems to pay the bills for all the Supercuts and such in my neighborhood. If they’re paying something less than $15 per hack, then maybe you need to up the price. Of course, if you privatized it all those things would rapidly become self-evident or it would go under.

Yes, let’s see ALL the perks these folks get! I can see a legislators-and-staff-only barbershop for convenience, but they dang well ought to be keeping the place open with their own money, not ours. Same thing with cafeterias and any other services that you and I would have to fund out of our own paychecks.

GWB on March 18, 2013 at 10:37 AM

Are the Senators paying for their haircuts

From what I’ve read, the hair cuts are free, and they get their shoes shined free too!

I understand they are great tippers too! Really generous with their discretionary funds or so I hear.

hawkeye54 on March 18, 2013 at 10:59 AM

they dang well ought to be keeping the place open with their own money, not ours.

Well, the problem is that they’ve come to understand our money IS theirs to do as they darn well please.

hawkeye54 on March 18, 2013 at 11:00 AM

I guarantee that the new privatized barbershop will have to take IOUs and checks, guarantee it!!

E9RET on March 18, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Just give them all Mohawks. Simple.

WhatSlushfund on March 17, 2013 at 7:12 PM

Buzzcuts. Especially the women. :P

PatriotGal2257 on March 18, 2013 at 1:19 PM

Crimes against the People. The Senate hair care is for the convenience of the Members . OK with that! They pay for the service out of their own pocket. Ok with that! They are most all multi Millionaires. They can afford the hair care costs. Ok wit that! They have been subsidizing their personal hair care with public tax payer money. That is a crime. That is malfeasance of office. That is a punishable offense. Ask Former member of Congress Dan Rostenkowski and his stamp plan. All members that voted to subsidize the “Barber Shop” for their use with tax payer money should be made to pay and go to jail. File this one with check kiting,

This is not a joke it is a symptom.

jpcpt03 on March 18, 2013 at 8:11 PM