Shakin’ my head. Via National Review:

At a House hearing earlier this week, she worried that her staff is being “priced out” of a good meal due to price increases at the House cafeteria, and worried that a potential 8-percent budget cut for congressional offices would further lower “the quality of life” on Capitol Hill.

In one sense, I do understand what she’s saying, and it’s not a bad point: In the private sector, just as potential employees compete with one another to be the best possible candidate they can be, employers also compete with one another in terms of benefits, workplace environments, etcetera, to attract the best possible employees.

But this is the federal government, not the private sector, and while I am very much in favor of introducing certain free-market-minded reforms into the bureaucracy’s operations, the federal government has the all-too-convenient ability to essentially keep writing themselves checks to fund whatever it is they deem they need to be competitive — which probably explains why the government has a consistent tendency to compensate their employees with benefits much more lavish than those in the private sector. I’d rather the focus be on how to trim the federal government down to an affordable size, rather than making sure that aides can afford high-quality in-house lunches. Somehow, Sen. Rand Paul (and others) managed to return a major chunk of his annual office budget back to the Treasury a few weeks ago — I’m sure we can find some room for streamlining Congressional budgets somewhere.