February 21, 2024

The Nerve Archive

Where Government Gets Exposed

Lunch, Courtesy of the Taxpayer


If you pay taxes, you’re buying a lot of lunches for a lot of public officials

Here at The Nerve, we don’t often have lunch on the company credit card. In fact, and without expressing any ingratitude to the higher-ups, we’re not even sure if there is a company credit card.

Anyhow, on the subject of company credit cards – the “company” being you, the taxpayer – we enjoyed the recollections of a couple of our readers recently.

Y’all please don’t use my name, but I work at a fairly big state agency in Columbia, and I will tell you that my boss (the head of the agency) has lunch on the taxpayer dime every single day. Usually the boss has lunch with some other person, or a group of people, and calls them “consultants” or says they discussed “messaging” or “efficiency” or some word like that. Such bull. I always want to say, “Just admit it, it was a lunch for you and your friends, courtesy of the state.” Of course I never do.

And this:

If any of your staff ever has lunch at a certain Lizards Thicket in town, you’ll see a certain local politician almost every day. I happen to know he bills the taxpayer every time, and every time he claims on the reimbursement that he was “meeting with constituents.” Been going on for years. Not a huge price, but it’s added up I’m sure. And just the principle of the thing.

And while we’re on the topic of subsidized lunches, we can’t help linking to one of our favorite stories – the one about Midlands lawmakers who live within walking distance of the State House but who nonetheless claim all of their per diem expenses.


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The Nerve