The Governor's Office of Economic Development announced yesterday that eleven captains of South Dakota industry will accompany Governor Dennis Daugaard on his third trade mission to China. The Governor, friends, and flunkies will spend May 9–16 wining and dining potential export partners in beautiful downtown Beijing and Shanghai.
An eager reader asks how much such junkets cost. To guesstimate, let's look at former GOED chief Richard Benda's travel expense voucher, submitted March 12, 2010, which included expenses for an EB-5 recruitment tour of China from November 8 to November 23, 2009:
But wait, there's more:
So let's compare that to the cost for Governor Daugaard's upcoming trip. Airfare is airfare, so that cost should match Benda's, a total here of $1,221.20. Now Benda got a break on airfare on this November 2009 trip. For his December 2009 trip, one of the tickets he double-billed, you and I had to pay $3,740.60.
The other costs should be proportional to time in country. Benda's trip was sixteen days; Daugaard's junket will be eight. Divide Benda's meals, lodging, and miscellaneous by 2, and you get $1,812.54.
Assume 3% average inflation in China since 2009, add... Presto! $3,465. Per person.
The taxpayer's price will vary. We'll pay full price for Governor Daugaard and GOED boss Pat Costello (you are going, right, Pat? I mean, the Chinese expect our top officials). GOED said that business partners on the trip will be reimbursed up to 30% for one company rep, so we might spend $1,040 on each corporate honcho.
But for Pete's sake, if you want to make the sale, don't scrimp on entertainment for this one-week junket to China.
Young women who are mistresses in China are professionals, and some get a very handsome salary for what they do. According to reporter James Palmer, if high-rolling businessmen and government officials don't have a mistress, they don't get respect.Palmer lives in Beijing and has written about mistress culture in China. He says it's like the mafia culture portrayed in the movie Goodfellas: Saturday nights are for wives, but Friday nights are for mistresses.
"You have events for your wives, but you also have these events where you're expected to bring a woman," Palmer tells NPR's Arun Rath. "And if you don't bring a woman, you're seen as not being a real man" [staff, "Corruption Blurs the Lines of China's Mistress Culture," NPR, 2014.03.02].
Well, that's awkward.