Skip to comments.Federal travelers receive $36 of taxpayer money for dinner
Posted on 03/20/2012 9:28:40 AM PDT by JudgeNap
Is it really necessary that federal travelers have about a $30 meal when on travel (and a $6 tip)? American taxpayers would be unlikely to think so, and if they found out that federal travelers were having that expensive of a dinner paid for by the government there would be justifiable public outrage. Many in our nation are struggling to even provide basic meals for their families, why should federal travelers be afforded such luxury? Do not worry it gets worse...
(Excerpt) Read more at milwaukeestory.com ...
When I was poor in the USAF, I used to take along a can of soup (or similar) and keep the per diem. Yes, it is a perk.
Virtually all mass transportation is heavily subsidized. The people Mover in Detroit is rider funded at a rate of around 7%. From my reading, it appears that 25% rider funding is considered to be quite successful for many mass transit systems.
Now I wonder how many Americans are using it as opposed to how many are funding it.
When you are traveling for business, there is always a travel budget for lodging/board.
Generally there is a daily figure and the traveler uses that amount for the day.
Given how expensive it is to dine out $30 for an evening meal is not that high, yes and they should tip if the service warrants it.
Not that I want to get attacked. But I wouldn’t call a $30 dinner living it up. Even so, why do we have to pay for their dinner at all?
There are many cities where 30are bucks doesn’t go very far. As a traveling consultant, these are reasonably part of business travel. Im more worried about the buying televisions and jewelery with their credit cards.
I rarely hit that because I go to the local grocery store, buy supplies for meals that will last a week for less than $50. I also book at hotels that include a 'free' breakfast buffet. If I am traveling with colleagues, I will go out once or twice and use the per diem but for the most part, I'm cooking supper in my room. Or rather the kitchen in the room.
Some of my colleagues think I'm nuts. But I guess the idea of saving your employer some dough is too old-fashioned for them to grasp.
How is this different from food stamps?
Horse hockey. I am required to perform regular audits of Medicaid programs in 5 states, including tribal lands and reservations. I’m required to attend training in Baltimore or DC everytime this poll whore rolls out a new policy. Because I almost always travel alone I seldom take public transportation, so cabs come out of my per diem. They seldom approve rent cars any longer. That dwindles my per diem down even more. And on trips when I have to take my own vehicle I am only reimbursed .51 a mile. Same rate for the past 4 years. New policies have increased our oversight responsibilities, but poor financial policies have slashed our travel funds. So the king tells us to make bricks without straw. I tell the king to build a city without bricks. He’s such a moron.
Every company I’ve worked for had a per deim, based upon the city you were visiting. Some cities are simply more expensive than others, which makes sense.
However, there were 2 rules that applied to all meals - tips and alcohol are on YOU. The company refused to pay for alcohol, becuause of assumed liability. They refused to pay on tips; because that is a personal judgement call. It’s easy to give away someone else’s money.
So, in short; company got meals, transportation - but entertainment, alcohol and tips were on you. I think that was fair.
Exactly. I travel all the time for work. $36 for dinner is hardly outrageous, especially since I’m being asked to enjoy that $36 meal alone, instead of in the company of my family.
This article misses the mark.
As a former Road Warrior (200+ nights a year, for years), $30 bucks for dinner just isn’t that much, in some places.
I was out in San Diego a few weeks ago and the hotel was loaded with our overlords. The hotel was over $200 a night and a typical dinner was probably $35.
They were having the time of their lives! Bubbly and effervescent! Easy to be when you are spending other people’s money.
Made me ill. I was probably one of the few people in that hotel that was actually spending their own money.
now there are some things worth bitching about when it comes to government spending... but someone traveling on business, away from home, not in your own bed, keeping late hours, should not be forced to eat mcdonalds or taco damn bell for dinner... 30 bucks for a meal and a drink or two is not out of line...
That's an straw-man arguement. They are travelling for business. If they were home, they would have the convenience of going to their fridge and fixing their own meal. By virtue of being forced to travel, they are denied access to their kitchen and groceries. Because most hotels do not include a built-in kitchen; the traveller if forced to eat. He would not be in this situation, if not required by his business. A $30 dinner, depending on where you are eating, may be extravagent, or if at the airport, barely enough to cover more than fast food.
Thirty bucks for a dinner is more than I would pay but it’s hardly extravagant. And it’s hardly on the top of the list of abuses I would say. Misuse of government credit cards, loss/theft of equipment must surely be greater.
Let’s remember that the GSA per diem rate is the rate you can deduct for business travel expenses if you only want to keep the record of where you when and for how long, rather than keeping all the receipts. Cut is, and the Leviathan takes more money from those of us who do business travel without full reimbursement from our employers.
First, let me say I’m as or more cost conscious than most people. I’m a CPA and was a government auditor who traveled a lot, all over the country. $30.00 a day for meals isn’t excessive. Does anyone really expect someone to exist on burgers and fries for all three meals? If your hotel provides one of those free breakfasts (Yeah the one with the “mystery meat”) that’s deducted from the per Diem. When you factor the burden of being separated from your family for extended periods, the horror of having to work for Uncle Sugar, the threat of being at the mercy of Congressional whim, the taxpayers don’t make out so bad on travel!
Now if you want to discuss pay and benefits, that another matter and something needs to be done! That’s where we are all getting screwed!
I was stationed in DC in a Joint Billet when I was only a Captain (O-3). My duties had me traveling almost every other week.
I kept meticulous records and in the four years I lost money on EVERY TDY trip that involved CONUS destinations. The closest I ever got to breaking even was one TDY where I not only stayed in a real dive of a motel but ate at the nearby McDonald's twice per day and skipped lunches. I lost only $11 that week.
Since I had no choice in getting that duty, and I had a wife and child, the stipend I received to defray my food costs while away was to help me since I could not just go home to eat like a civilian. Or do you think I, and the men in my office should have paid for our plane tickets as well.
Agree - sometimes you have to chose between paying a bit more for a walking distance restaurant vs. the added expense of a cab to go someplace cheaper (and ultimately spending more).
Or do you think I, and the men in my office should have paid for our plane tickets as well.
Sometimes I feel like I’m dealing with a bunch of liberals. If I wanted to have someone get their panties in a wad over every little thing, I’d call a liberal acquaintance.
You never know what is going to set people off. I thought I’d get blasted for saying that I didn’t think a $30 dinner was that big a deal.
Chill out people. We only have about 8 more months before the election.
Oh.... and by the way. Why were there only MEN in your office? Were you all sexist???!!!! /s
There are McDonald's everywhere.
If the government did not have so many traveling or even on the payroll then it would not be a problem. Unfortunately government is way oversized and getting bigger. One way to make it less attractive is to cut the travel budgets both per diem and the amount of trips. If government workers do not like it they can find another job.
Quite a few years ago I was bemoaning the fact I had to go to Potomac City for three weeks and how much it would cost me to do so. My neighbor asked what was my per diem? I said it was $75 per day. He laughed at me and said are you kidding, that is better than I get to travel and I am a VP in my company. Then he asked the question? How much for lodging? I howled and told him that was part of the $75. He was floored. On that trip I figured by eating the provided breakfast, skipping lunch and then eating at Roy Rogers, I was out a mere $400 not counting my travel costs to visit my parents and live off them over the weekends. Of course I got to deduct that on my ITR, what a bargain!
Things have changed.
1979-my boss sent me to a conference at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco. State employee per-diem $40 a day, meals, lodging, everything.
Discount rooms at the Hyatt for the conference-$65.
Stayed by the airport in Oakland at motel 6, drove the bridge everyday.
At the first meeting they asked about a 100 of us who was not staying at the hotel. I was the only one to raise his hand. The MC said “You must be the state employee.”
Lunch was included in the conference fee, paid separately by the state, and I was supposed to deduct $4.50 from my per diem for receiving a free lunch.
$30 dinner is “luxury”? Nothing but extreme left-wing liberal class envy. I bet the author spends as much.
I don’t think it’s an unreasonable amount. When I worked in private law firms in nyc, we could order up to $25-40 for dinner when working late, and a comparable per diem when on the road.
$36 for dinner is fine.
I take it you do not, nor have you ever, traveled on business...try it sometime, then bitch about it
The real problem is government is doing things it should not. Then because they do things they should not do, then they spend money they should not spend.
Tell me why does a government worker need to go to training or a conference? Just have the training in house, same with a conference. Why does the government have to send people to another state or country?
In 1983, I spent a few months TDY in Baghdad. I could have stayed in the luxurious Al Rashid hotel where all the big shots stayed and was heavily damaged during “Shock and Awe.” I chose to stay at the “Flea” Baghdad Towers. It was a dive. I ate most of my meals standing up at schwarma stands on Saddoon Street, plus a lot of Ramen noodles that I had sent over. I pocketed a lot of cash on that trip. A few months after that, I was TDY in N’Djamena, Chad, where the per diem was $30 to cover “lodging” (toilet seat not included) and crepes for dinner. Didn’t pocket a lot of cash there.
And your point is.
Why pay for their dinner? Because we ordered them to go wherever they traveled... thus they are in a hotel and have no place to cook.
So they have to eat out. Don’t like it? Don’t have the agencies send ‘em.
In the 80’s, when I was a field rep - we were allowed $30/day without having to expense it with receipts, and only then when it was justified [taking a client to dinner].
HOWEVER, most of the time, I was fixing a problem that the client had - so HE took ME to dinner.
So, I would have a light breakfast, fast food it for lunch, and make up for it all with a really good dinner.
Most of the time, I would walk away with about $20/day in my pocket ...
My point is that not all federal travelers move around the world like royalty.
I never said they did. I still maintain that we have to many government workers.
I know of a government employee that has a VERY GOOD second income off of traveling to conferences and training.