Government Contracts Operations

Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House. One is from Chicago, another is from Tennessee, and the third is from Minnesota.

All three go with a White House official to examine the fence.

The Minnesota contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil.

“Well,” he says, “I figure the job will run about $900: $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me.”

The Tennessee contractor also does some measuring and figuring, and then says, “I can do this job for $700: $300 for materials, $300 for my crew and $100 profit for me.”

The Chicago contractor doesn’t measure or figure but leans over to the White House official and whispers, “$2,700.”

The official, incredulous, says, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?”

The Chicago contractor whispers back, “$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence.”

“Done!” replies the government official. And that, my friends, is how American government operates.