In this case, having the lab in Kansas probably hurts (or at least has the potential for hurting) the members of whatever House district this thing is supposed to be located in more than NOT having it would.
Yeah, having approx. 300 full-time research jobs at $100,000+/year is *really* going to hurt the district.
... but they are so accustomed to the gravy train that
I think you've got something backwards here. My brother is a chiro, and he does accept lower prices for cash. Why? Because he doesn't have to deal with the [censored] insurance company. Dealing with cash is painless, but dealing with insurance takes almost all of his staff's time.
upgrading a ground car to flight costs US$40,000
You're off by a few orders of magnitude - $39,999,999. (or maybe the last 9 was a 5). I remember first watching and hearing the 39,999 and thinking "wow, inflation" followed a split second later by "but I really guess that's not SO bad", and then he gave the extra '999' and I about choked.
It is much harder to find a job than to keep one.