Pity the Poor Congressman Who Eats $200,000 Dinners

red lobsterOh my. The travails of the rich-who-are-not-really-rich-once-you-do-the-math. They are so misunderstood! But at least they're eating well.

Take, for example, Louisiana Congressman John Fleming. He owns a string of Subway restaurants and a few other businesses that bring him more than $6 million in annual income. But he says once he re-invests back into his businesses, it's really more like just $600,000 (hardly anything!) and then once he feeds his family, it's down to $400,000.

Wait, did you catch that? He spends $200,000 a year to feed his family? Wow, sign me up as an adopted daughter! How many Red Lobster dinners will that buy? Let's take a look!


First of all, I'd like to point out that Fleming's four children are all adults now. We'll be optimistic and assume they are self-supporting, and what Congressman Fleming means by "feed my family" actually means "feed my wife and me."

So what do you get with a $200,000-a-year food tab? It means you can spend more than$500 on food a day! Yeah, I could do that. Here are a few options for the good congressman:

  • Red Lobster? Please, you could take 35 of your Congress buddies out for the Endless Shrimp every single night.
  • Dinner for two at Mario Batali's restaurant Babbo is around $200. Heck, both of you could eat there for lunch and dinner every day and still have enough left over for about five Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes each for breakfast.
  • Or you could hire a personal chef to cook for two for every meal -- with all organic food -- and you'd probably have enough to throw a dinner party every weekend.
  • Love cooking? Fine, how about spending $100,000 to renovate your kitchen (yes, please!) and spending the rest on groceries, which amounts to about $1,920 a week. Clearly you are ordering a lot of fish from Gwyneth Paltrow's fishmonger. 
  • Best idea of all: Spend $300 a week on groceries (which is still luxurious for a family of two) and give the rest to a local food pantry or a world hunger organization. Maybe "feed my family" meant "feed the human race" and poor John Fleming really was misunderstood after all! 

Okay, fine, supposedly what Fleming was referring to when he said "feed my family" included all living expenses, like housing and transportation. But It's still pretty generous compared with the average family who lives on a quarter that amount, no? Besides, isn't it fun to imagine how well you'd eat on $500 a day? Somebody please do a reality show on that!

What would you do with a $200,000 annual food budget?


Image via Red Lobster

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