For the past eight years, being a Republican in Washington essentially meant signing and supporting any piece of spending (and tax decrease) that crossed your desk. I suspect the average waistline in the area increased by a centimeter or two just as the average lobbyist's monthly expense account for Morton's junkets increased by a digit. But thanks to an overwhelming Democratic mandate to "vote the suckers out" change is finally happening from within the Republican establishment. And it's the type of change that captures the imagination and enthusiasm of Spend Management enthusiasts like me. A couple of weeks ago, I was tipped off to this story on CNN (hat-tip: Michael Lamoureux) about how a freshman representative in the House from Utah is taking Spend Management to heart. The article notes that "Newly elected Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, opted out of renting an apartment in Washington, instead deciding on a cot in his office every night ... His office in the Longworth House Building comes with a half-bathroom, a closet that fits a cot, and what he calls his "breakfast nook" where he stores Fig Newtons, granola bars and mixed nuts."
While we can all hope for "Change", it's this type of change that is mostly like to have a significant impact not only on how we view Washington, but how we approach our own spending. Just like many families this year, we're tightening the belt around the house. While we're not yet sleeping on cots, we are putting off projects, discretionary spending and other outlays in the spirit of economy, rather than the economy. I commend Representative Chaffetz for setting an example that crosses party lines. Though I doubt that many CEOs will every share rooms with their colleagues when traveling, this story reminded me how it was not so long ago when many of the biggest names in business would force their managers and executives to share rooms whenever possible when they hit the road. This type of behavior is far more effective at cutting costs than renegotiating the price of hotel rooms every quarter. After all, sometimes spend philosophy matters as much as Spend Management execution.