Column Date 2005-12-12

Outsourcing Washington

I have just found out that, starting in November, our new Senator from Florida will be Vijay “Sonny” Gupta of Bangalore, India.

It’s all part of a little noticed amendment to the omnibus appropriations bill (HR 2673) that passed a few months ago.

Freshman Senator Gupta represents the first concrete step this administration has taken toward a prudent fiscal policy, and I think this effort deserves our full support.

If private enterprise can save millions of dollars having telephones answered, accounting done, and software written in India, Taiwan and other countries, why shouldn’t we taxpayers save this money, too?

After all, it costs $1.50 an hour to have a telephone answered in India, versus $10 an hour here. A software engineer there charges about $6 a hour, instead of $60 an hour here.

“Sonny” Gupta has signed a contract to become a Florida Senator for $16,500 a year. Since he’s a contract employee, we don’t have to pay his medical and retirement benefits, but we are responsible for his long distance phone calls and two flights a year to Tallahassee (economy class) to meet his constituents face-to-face. (Sonny’s extended family in Bangalore has promised to pitch in and help answer the phones, write mail, etc. It takes a whole village to raise a Senator.)

Our previous Senator’s salary was $154,700 a year, plus perhaps $250,000 for his office, $850,000 or so for his staff, and unlimited free postage. This represents a potential savings of over $1,200,000 -- and that’s just for one freshman Senator alone!

There are other advantages. For instance, it will be significantly harder to corrupt Senator Vijay. How many Washington lobbyists would actually make a trip to Bangalore, or even brave all the vaccinations and preventative medications suggested?

And Senator Vijay will be able to spend all his time legislating, which is what we pay him to do. He will not have to spend hours each day raising money for his next re-election campaign. Every six years, the government will simply issue a RFP (Request For Proposal) to interested Senatorial candidates, whose expenses would be limited to filling out and mailing a simple form.

The current administration has already begun to outsource some of the Pentagon’s operations, deeply concerned, they say, with the bottom line.

Well, nowhere is the bottom line more out of control than in Washington. So outsourcing our Senators and Representatives will be
a significant step to help us slash the budget deficit, as well as reduce our bloated bureaucracy.

As for our unemployed politicians, perhaps they can be retrained for some other line of work. The administration has proposed new plans for job training, and when Congress is faced with its own unemployment, perhaps one of these plans will actually be funded.

Personally, I look forward with great anticipation to the inauguration next year of our new President, Cho Lui Chang, of Taipei.

He not only has an impressive CV, but he’s a bargain.