According to the website, The Raw Story, yesterday’s reading of The U.S. Constitution cost taxpayers $1.1 million.
“In a year,” writer Eric Dolan whines, “when Republicans have promised to reduce wasteful spending, it is estimated that reciting the Constitution will cost $1,071,872.87 if it takes three hours to read the document.
Preaching to the choir, ESPN writer Peter Keating explained to Vanity Fair magazine, “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.
“To get this estimate, I took the total FY 2011 costs for House salaries and expenses and House office buildings, then added half the costs of joint House-Senate expenses, the CBO, the Capitol Police and the Capitol power plant,” he continued. “Then I divided that sum by 205, the number of days the House was in session last year, then divided again by 24 (the number of hours in a day) and multiplied by 3 (the estimated length in hours of members reading the Constitution).”
Dolan continued with his choir preaching, quoting Kevin Gutzman, a “conservative-libertarian” history professor at Western Connecticut State University, who told the Salt Lake Tribune in an interview, “They (the Republicans) humor people who are not expert or not fully cognizant, And then once they’ve humored them and those people go away, it’s right back to business as usual, except for the [time] it takes to read the Constitution out loud.”
Danbury, Ct., sure is a long way from Salt Lake City. How much did it cost them for that long-distance phone call? Who footed the bill for that call? The readers and advertisers of the Salt Lake City Tribune, or the taxpayers and parents who underwrite Western Connecticut State University?
Congress, once its in session, its security, its maintenance, its staff and so forth, are paid no matter what they do once the Congress is in session. There are far worse things they could do and have done in the halls of Congress than read the document that serves as the blueprint for all the laws – good and bad – that Congress passes.
By Keating’s calculations, Congress costs us roughly $360,000 every hour it’s in session, no matter what it does. The estimate for Obamacare is $2.5 trillion. Let’s say it took Congress 24 hours to pass Obamacare (with all the debating, obviously it took a lot longer than that). At $366,000 an hour, Obamacare’s overhead cost alone is $8.7 million.
Had Congress read the Constitution aloud prior to Obama’s election, we would have saved $7.6 million immediately. Instead, that theoretical $8.7 million turned into an investment on a $2.5 trillion debt.
But we Americans owe Mr. Keating a debt of gratitude for alerting us to how much of our money Congress wastes every time it gets together to spend the taxpayers’ money.
The check is in the mail. The U.S. Constitution is worth every penny – and more – it took to read it out loud.