Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at a military base.
One is from Chicago, another is from Kentucky, and the third is from New Orleans. All three go with a government official to examine the fence.
The New Orleans 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 $9,000. That’s $4,000 for materials, $4,000 for my crew and $1,000 profit for me.”
The Kentucky contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, “I can do this job for $7,000. That’s $3,000 for materials, $3,000 for my crew
and $1,000 profit for me.”
The Chicago contractor doesn’t measure or figure, but leans over to the White House official and whispers, “$27,000.”
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, “$10,000 for me, $10,000 for you, and we hire the guy from Kentucky to fix the fence.”
“Done!” replies the government official.
And that, my friends, is how the awarding of government contracts works.