$1.1 Million to Read the Constitution in the House?
Via VF Daily we are told: Republicans to Spend $1.1 Million Reciting Constitution on House Floor.
Quoting Peter Keating the numbers go something like this:
The amount I get is nearly $1.1 million. $1,071,872.87, to be exact, though of course this is more back-of-the-envelope than exact.
When one chamber of Congress is in session but not working, we the people still have to pay for members’ salaries and expenses, and for their police protection, and for keeping their lights and phones and coffee machines on.
This is silliness that is frequently trotted out to show how a specific action by a politician is a waste of money. The problem here is that most, if not all, of the expenses in question would be incurred whether the House was having its recitation of the Constitution or not. The above makes it sound like US Representatives get paid by the hour or that they are like NFL players who only get their game checks on days they hit the field. It isn’t like they turn off the lights and the heat in the Capitol when Representatives are not on the floor (or that the phone company gives a discount when callas aren’t made). Yes, there will be fluxuations in utilities cost based on precisely what the Congress is doing on a given (after all, more people in the building means more flushes, amongst other things), but the issue here is what the overall average costs are, not what a given day may or may not cost.
Further, given that they just got sworn in yesterday, it wasn’t as if they were all going to shutter the place and go home today. Even if they weren’t planning on being on the floor day save for the Constitution reading stunt (and yes, it is a stunt) they would still be in DC consuming various resources.
So, enough with this kind of cost “analysis” which partisans of various stripes like to engage in regarding any number of governmental activities.