September 24, 2010

Stephen Colbert Steals $342.45 from America!

In case you haven't heard, Stephen Colbert appeared to the immigration subcommittee today and testified, in character, that farm work is
"[...]really, really hard."


Which I have to agree with. As far as I'm concerned, farms have animals: everything else is a glorified garden, and I'm not fond of gardening. But I also understand that it is a necessary job, and boy am I glad that someone else is doing it! Much like, I imagine, the vast majority of other people who have actually thought about where their food came from.

Colbert's appearance raised some hackles, with some members of the committee complaining that his appearance was a stunt, and did nothing but waste time. In fact, Senator Jason Chaffetz from Utah said
"What's sad about it is in the 21 months I've been on the immigration subcommittee, we have only met ten times. We have never, never looked at a substantive bill to deal with the immigration issue."


What Senator Chaffetz neglected to mention is that without Colbert's appearance at the meeting, no one would have known how many times the subcommittee had met. It's unlikely that Senator Chaffetz's appearance on "Washington Unplugged" would have even happened, or that it would have gotten nationwide advertising. His own profile would be that much smaller, and when you're a senator from Utah, let's face it, you need all the help you can get. The two things Utah is known for are Mormons and the highest on-line porn consumption in America: where can you go from there but up?

The advertising that the subject of immigration has gotten from the stunt appearance of Stephen Colbert's television pundit character did cost the American people, though. There is a cost for everything, even if the committee was already meeting and Colbert paid his own travel costs. But even so, the senators had to wait as he entered the room, listen to him talk, and then wait some more as he left the room.

Now then, given that a senator earns approximately $175,000 per year and there are 16 members of the committee (minus Sen. Chaffetz, who decided to miss the entire meeting because of the ten minutes given to Colbert's testimony, and consequently taking the day off). US senators "work" (it's a bit tough to define working days, and there is frequent communication between members outside official working days) anywhere from 130 to 190 days a year - let's call it 160 - and laughingly consider those days to be 8 hours each.

So, 160 x 8 = 1280 hours of work per year, giving an hourly rate of around $137/hour per senator, or $22.83 for ten minutes. Multiply that by the fifteen senators in attendance, and the American People were charged $342.45 for Stephen Colbert's appearance before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law Membership.

I suggest sending a bill and seeing if that will do it. If he doesn't pay, threaten him with small claims court. Just be sure to reduce it by the free advertising Sen. Chaffetz received first.

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posted by Thursday at 12:08 pm

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