I treated a friend to lunch today. The total for this expense was $33.62. The expense was reasonable for the meal we had and the service received.
IF this $33.62 expense were involved in a typical status quo health insurance plan it might look like this:
(1) I’d have prearranged with the restaurant that if I brought or sent all my colleagues to have lunch here that I’d get a % of the bill
(2) I’d inform the restaurant that most of the lunch tabs get ‘expensed’ and that no one really pays much attention to those expenses because lunch is expected and normal.
(2) (a) I’d remind the restaurant I’m the guy that approves the expense reports.
(3) I’d deny 10-20% of the expenses turned in, this would provide a cover that I am being diligent. Sure they are likely legit but some of them will just be absorbed by the diner because ‘it’s not worth the hassle’.
(4) The restaurant would begin to inflate their prices but no one would notice much, it’d just be a bit at a time.
(5) My cut would increase because see #1 above.
(6) I’d remind them about 2a.
(7) The expense budget would need to be expanded due to rising lunch expenses.
(8) The monies for that increased lunch budget needs to be sourced so we’ll dip from the salary/compensation fund. That’ll really stink for the employees who need a raise to cover rising costs of living especially when their lunch expense gets denied 10-20% of the time.
(9) Repeated years of the above processes so now we have to trim other workplace benefits.
(10) I remind employees that the restaurant is the only one ‘approved’ for lunches, others are ‘out of network’ and are very likely not to have their expenses approved.
(11) I continue to budget for and approve these lunches from this restaurant and these same lunches are now $150+. The restaurant now has valet parking and a grand piano in the lobby.
The restaurant realizes that it cannot survive without the patronage of these employees buying the $150 lunches because their internal infrastructure and costs are so top heavy. They literally have too many paid cooks in the kitchen. It’s that they need THESE people buying lunch, not the folks who want to pay $33 for a $33 lunch. Therefore they begin to lobby local leaders and governments for special tax exempt status claiming that they are ‘too important to fail’, they then gain that status and privilege.
Are you getting it yet? Does your broker get it? or are they in on it?