The barbershop of the U.S. Senate has run deficits of approximately $350,000 a year for each of the last 15 years. So Senate sergeant at arms Terry Gainer has decided to try out a new model, one that has looked rather unfashionable during the Obama era: privatization.

Gainer has tried to trim Senate Hair Care Services for the past few years. Now the political climate troubling everyone else on Capitol Hill is allowing him to move faster than he anticipated towards privatizing it completely.

“I’ve accelerated my goal to get there through leveraging sequestration,” Gainer explains. “The only real way we’re going to change this thing around without pricing ourselves out of the market is by reducing the number of fulltime employees.”

The sequestration’s required spending cuts provide convenient cover. Gainer is offering early retirement to all eligible employees, hoping to replace them with independent contractors. Four employees have already accepted the offer, and they plan to retire in the next 60 days. Gainer likens these “buyouts” to those that corporations often make. He has no timeline for complete privatization, but is determined to see it through.

Continue reading →