Thursday, October 14, 2010

How much are taxpayers billed for "overhead"?

The government has decided that health insurers should spend no less than eighty-five cents of every premium dollar for actual medical treatment. The government has concluded that 15 percent is more than adequate to cover all overhead costs. In fact, we have heard Pres. Obama trumpet this provision on numerous occasions. We also know that Pres. Obama has never run so much as a lemonade stand which makes one wonder what his qualifications are to judge proper overhead costs. In any case, the following begs an interesting question:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and members of her family and staff took 85 tax-paid trips on military aircraft between March 2, 2009, and June 7, 2010, according to new documents uncovered by Judicial Watch.

Pelosi's daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons were on the June 20, 2009, flight from Andrews AFB to San Francisco where Pelosi resides, according to the documents. On July 2, 2010, Pelosi took a grandson on a flight from Andrews to Travis AFB, north of San Francisco.

Judicial Watch obtained the documents as a result of a January 25, 2009, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Previous documents received by the non-profit watchdog group revealed that Pelosi's travel "cost the United States Air Force $2,100,744.59 over a two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol," according to Judicial Watch.
What percentage of our tax dollars are spent providing necessary services versus the amount spent on administrative overhead? The government is “non-profit” so I wouldn’t think that administrative costs should exceed ten percent (I’ve never run a business, but what the hey-right?). If Speaker Pelosi is the example, I suspect that administrative costs far exceed fifteen percent. Were we to impose the same rules on our government that they wish to force on a private industry were would government “trim the fat”? Would they cut the number of staff positions and adjust pay and benefits to be more in line with the private sector? Not a bad idea. Would Speaker Pelosi take fewer flights at taxpayer’s expense and learn to drink cut-rate liquor? Not a snowball’s chance in Hell.

It amazes me that our government would presume to tell a private industry how to price its product and how much it must dedicate to product delivery versus overhead. However as taxpayer’s we have every right to demand more bang for our buck. It seems only “fair” that government play by the rules it sets.

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