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July 21 2017

What Public Employees Could Learn from Vanguard Founder Jack Bogle

by Charlotte Hays

One  of the things that makes me angry is when taxpayers are forced to pick up the tab for expensive perks our public servants (I use that word loosely) feel to be their birth right. I wish our public employees could be more like Jack Bogle, the now retired founder of the Vanguard Group.

Vanguard funds, unlike government bureaucracies, are known for their low overhead. There's a reason for this. It reflects the style of Bogle, who was interviewed by financial columnist Paul Merriman. Merriman wrote:  

I laughed out loud when [Bogle] told me that of all the times he has flown, he bought a first class ticket only once — he did so because he could upgrade his seat for $50. He described with delight how much he loved that experience, but even with his deep pockets he never repeated it, because he simply couldn't justify the extra expense.

To my mind, this is the sort of person you want looking after your money.

To my mind, this is the kind of person we want to hire to work in our federal government (state and local government, too). I don't know what the rules on flying first class are for government employees. I bet they are complicated. But I am not just talking about airline tickets.

I'm talking about lavish lifestyles on the taxpayer's nickel. I'm talking about the pricey conferences that government bureaucrats love (hey, they don't have to pay so why not?) and which, according to my colleague Patrice Onwuka, are making a comeback.

These conferences in luxury hotels with all sorts of expensive food and entertainment have been going on a long time. The overhead is not insignificant.

IIndependent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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