This morning, the head of the Democratic National Committee and member of Congress Debbie Wasserman-Schultz tweeted this picture.
I know what she’s trying to get across. The Republicans, who preach fiscal sanity, continue to waste our money on a partisan political crusade against Obamacare and they ought to give it up because it’s here to stay, everyone loves it, and if it goes away an entire magical island full of unicorns and talking puppies will explode and sink beneath the waves never to be seen again.
Okay. Fine. That’s the standard Democratic talking point about Obamacare. I’ll write more about that in a post later. For now, I want to focus on just one thing, the thing that grabbed my attention when I first saw this.
One day of Congress costs over 30 million dollars? Thirty million??
Folks, that number can not be right, can it? The Speaker of the House makes less than $250,000 a year. If every member of Congress made that much and worked the same year-round schedule you or I do, their daily salary would barely break a half million dollars. Operational costs can’t be that high either, even if you assume the Capitol is an old building and requires more daily routine maintenance than a new building. Peg that number at half-million a day, which would include the salaries of the maintenance staff. So that gets you to a million dollars.
Now, toss in a staff for each member of Congress of….what? Twenty? Fifty? Assume a way overblown salary of $100,000 a head for a staff of fifty per member of congress and that cranks you all the way up to, I believe $11 million. So, with salaries and maintenance you’re looking at $12 million, which includes a huge pad for miscellaneous costs. Where is the other $18 million? Are there that many ancillary offices that run every single day Congress is in session?
Before I answer that, let me hit you with the the truly mind-blowing number, extend that to a full session. Take the 2011 session, during which the House met for 175 days. The total freight, at $30 million a day, is five billion two hundred fifty million dollars — $5,250,000,000.
As it happens, that’s more than Congress’ proposed budget, by roughly a billion dollars. That, of course, assumes that Congress passes a budget this year. The Democrats have been a bit hesitant to do that the past few years. I don’t know where Ms. Wasserman-Schultz got her number, but it is clearly too large, and I’m not talking about its accuracy. Congress is out of control, has been out of control, and will continue to be out of control until we get some people in there whose first and strongest instinct is start tearing out huge chunks of the budget and returning them to us, where they belong.
Think about those numbers. Thirty million dollars a day, 5.25 billion dollars a year. That, folks, is insane. Imagine what even an average small business owner could have done with that much money. Imagine how many jobs and how much wealth that entrepreneur could have created. Some of that money might have gone to charity, where it could have fed a child or built a house or saved a woman from brutal abuse. Instead, it went to Washington where it fueled the machine that raises our taxes, restricts our freedom, ignores our wishes, insults our intelligence, and treats us as serfs.
I don’t really have a button to put on this post except to say that number, whether it is the $5.25 billion that Wasserman-Schultz says it is or the smaller $4 billion and change that will likely pass the House this year, is too flipping big. Congress should not cost us billions. We have to fix that.