The Costs of January 6th- No, the Fiscal Costs

Today there has been plenty of primary election coverage, especially concerning who will the Republicans nominate and how soon will that lead to disaster. Every single pundit mentioned that by November the General Election will more or less boil down to:

Election Denialism vs. Run Away Inflation
(Which might be true but some candidates have lots of baggage that may supersede the bigger picture issues?)

But I am very tired of hearing that inflation is solely the fault of Democrats!! Putting aside the huge help that Russia/Ukraine provided toward global inflation, I am wondering what the total cost of January Sixth might add up to, and if that might also contribute to inflation.

It might pale compared to the stimulus checks but there must be significant costs to multiple Departments of the Federal Government and to several states. I will list a few that occurred to me, but I am sure I am missing some (perhaps obvious ones?).

  • First, there was a great deal of repair and replace at the Capitol. Doors, windows, and other fixtures needed replacement.
  • Then there was furniture and other contents. Some of that stuff might have been quite valuable.
  • There was fencing and heightened security not just at the Capitol but at all Federal buildings.
  • Several members of Congress required personal security and continue to have personal bodyguards, even some staff members of Congress members need extra security.
  • The Inauguration must have been more expensive than originally planned.
  • The FBI and the Department of Justice have spent several fortunes on investigating and prosecuting insurrectionists.
  • In addition they are needing to recruit and train agents and other staff as a result of Trump.
  • Meals had to be provided to every one arrested in connection with the insurrection.
  • Even court costs and subpoenas and all the auxiliary people required for that perhaps??

Then there were less direct costs associated with trying to steal the election:

  • Like all the sorting machines (some very new as I recall) D’Joy threw out of the USPS to delay mail-in ballots.
  • The endless counts, recounts, audits, hand recounts, and investigations performed by every level of government several times over with no change in results.
  • The costs of the many court cases in many states and at the Federal level which all amounted to jack squat, they had to cost something.
  • Investigators on planes interviewing witnesses or suspects.
  • Computers purchased specifically to store and retrieve evidence.

I might be grasping at straws on some of those, but money was spent for everything listed above and it would not have been spent except for Trump and his henchmen trying to steal the election. There is no reason those costs should have to come out of existing budgets; every paperclip the Select Committee uses is an unnecessary cost created by a coup attempt.

I would like to find a significant amount of expenditure of Government funds that came as a result of Trump’s many coup attempts. That way when Republicans talk about inflation, Democrats can say something like: "Yes, inflation is bad right now but we are working to bring it under control after all the money we had to spend restoring the Capitol Building and cleaning feces off of priceless historical objects. I hope you will join us in working to put an end to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine which caused a great deal of the inflation - - and avoid any coup attempts which cost the government X amount of dollars that was obviously NOT in the budget.

Can some here help estimate those added costs, and state if those costs would be significant enough to contribute to our current inflation? (Now that I think about it, trump sent out the first series of stimulus checks. That amount needs to go on the other side of the ledger too.) The republicans keep saying that government spending is what brought on inflation – how much of that can be attributed to the right?

The current inflation started well before the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 2/24/22.

US inflation rates:

2020 1.4%
2021 7.0%
Current 9.1%

• United States inflation rate, by month 2022 | Statista

That’s a huge increase, before Russia/Ukraine.

So, given the thread topic, your contention is that the current run of inflation was caused by January 6th?

I’ll buy it! :grin:

No, I am contending that some things done primarily by Republicans may have contributed (even if it is not a full 50%) to the inflation we are suffering through right now.

Even if they are only responsible for 25% of the problem, they still have some responsibility. So much the better if it is an embarrassing and shameful event.

Then when they decry: “Them Democrats are wrecking the nation!! Their spending caused inflation, and they have an open borders policy!!” It can be pointed out: “Inflation is not ENTIRELY the result of Democratic spending, the XX amount of dollars the government had to spend to restore the Capitol after the Trump riot contributed to the spending causing inflation. Furthermore, not stripping babies away from families is NOT the same as open borders.”

The point would be to slow down their false talking points with facts. (If the facts happen to bear this out.) Then every time they speak their accusations of “Democratic Inflation!!”, they catch a little backhand slap to their own face. They will have to develop a different talking point if there is shared responsibility. It would change their argument to: “The Democrats, with some help from us, ran up some big spending that caused inflation.”

That is why I am specifically asking for help coming up with a dollar figure for how much the Insurrection cost tax payers. Even if it is not a large enough dollar figure to have caused much (or any) inflation – it would be handy to have a figure (a defensible figure based upon genuine costs) to bring up whenever they start progressive shaming. For example:
“Maybe we would have more money for school vouchers if we hadn’t spent $XX,XXX,XXX repairing the Capitol building after your people invaded it.” Or:
“We might have more to spend on Arctic Drilling if we hadn’t HAD to spent $XX,XXX,XXX on repairing the Capitol Building and adding security to the DC area.”

If the cost of January Sixth are large enough to have contributed to inflation – then say so. But even if they are not, when a Republican candidate brings up “run away inflation” in a debate – hit back with the cost of insurrection: “Beside the national shame of January Sixth, the costs of that shameful REPUBLICAN event cost taxpayers [some large amount of money].”

The idea is to change the perception that Democratic leaders are pushing pallets full of hundred dollar bills out of airplanes over New York and California and causing outrageous inflation while good Republican leaders are eating sack lunches to save the tax payers money.

Perhaps another way the information could be weaponized against Republicans would be to say: "The first thing democrats HAD to spend money on once they took control over Congress and the Presidency-- was repairing all the Republican caused expenses of repairing the Capitol Building, and installing fencing for months, and added security costs for Congress Members . . . " Having a dollar figure would be handy to have. Even if it is comparatively small, it will sound big to a family living on $82,800 a year.

Please cite an example of this ever, ever having happened.

Dear Penthouse Forum,
I never thought I would be writing you, but one time I spoke to a Republican and they listened to reason!

So what would it hurt to have the facts (or a very reasonable and defensible estimate) even if they never listen to it. Wouldn’t you like to know how much those people cost tax payers? And isn’t it possible that some less shameless Republicans might actually hear the message that they have some responsibility and shy away from a message that also targets them?

Frankly, I am surprised some of the overachieving math nerds around here have not already taken this up and come up with an estimate. (Which would be challenged and revised as more information is uncovered.) This used to be the greatest assemblage of researchers and wonky math processors ever assembled and all under the banner of fighting ignorance. Isn’t anyone willing to take a crack at arriving at a number?

… … . nm

Yeah but the OP just said the huge help that Russia / Ukraine provided. Are there any economists that doubt that the conflict wasn’t largely responsible for the price spikes on oil, natural gas and wheat, and the huge significance of those commodities becoming so much more expensive?

In terms of inflation, there are many causes and it was something of a perfect storm of pandemic-induced supply shortages, covid relief money and the Ukraine conflict.

Jan 6th…well, it’s very obviously just a fraction of a percent of a rounding error in this context.
But, I’ll play.

I guess it’s complicated, as the attacks would have indeed increased inflation (suddenly there was greater demand for window repairers, court clerks etc, without any increase to supply) but on the other hand, it would have increased the size of the economy (because there was extra work being done, and, let’s face it, any disruption to Congress / Senate’s schedule would not be any tangible loss).

Well I have to admit this has been a disappointing response. Several years ago I recall that someone asked Cecil Adams what the result of him killing some negligible amount of house flies would be for the future of the species. (The number seventeen sticks in my head, but I have not read the thing for years.) The response was that “Under ideal mating circumstances, which always prevail in the Straight Dope Science Labs” (a very clever turn of phrase which stuck with me) the number of flies those few fallen house flies would have produced would fill up a cubic parsec of space. There were many details given like the average lifespan and birthrate, and maybe- not sure but maybe Cecil credited the person who submitted the question with saving humanity.

The fact that this one proud message board that was able to extrapolate such an insignificant question into a galactic event always made me proud to be associated with it.

And now, I ask a fairly straightforward question about placing a dollar figure on the tragedy that was the January Sixth Insurrection, and no one even suggests a figure?!?!?! Yes, without some very creative bookkeeping it is not likely to rise to the level of being . . . let’s say ‘the primary cause’ of inflation. But I bet it is a pretty significant sum of money and way more than good patriotic Republicans would like to have thrown in their face every time they bring up any fiscal matter (specifically the “Democratic runaway inflation”).

Now some of the repairs might have been accomplished with run of the mill tradesmen, but I assume restoring or replacing a 246 year old desk that both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had carved their names (maybe just initials) into, and that Davy Crockett or some other historical character once wrote a letter upon – well that might take an awfully pricey historical craftsman to build. Materials would have to be quarter-sawn, old growth, kiln dried lumber and marble from the same quarry as the original. And those would just be the construction costs.

I was really hoping that a few of the resident math whizzes could come up with a sizable enough sum for me to toss back at my Republican colleagues whenever they bring up fiscal matters. I still get e-mails from them on occasion that complain that retired Congress Members and Executive Branch members get pensions. Five Hundred-Dollar screw drivers are also mentioned, but not all that often any more. I was really thinking those better suited than I am could arrive at a dollar figure that would sound big and shameful to them. Frankly, most of them wouldn’t know if the sum could cause inflation or not – but all of them would shut up if given some figure that reflected badly on their side.

I am still hoping some brilliant mind with a mild case of insomnia will take a crack at it and present something. (My experience is that any number given will instantly lead to it being questioned and that the number may evolve over time as more ideas and details are added to the calculations.) I do hate to wish for the discomfort of my fellow posters, but in this case – “Come on Insomnia! Papa needs a set of figures!”
Also, I wouldn’t mind reading the story about the flies if anyone can find it (I lost my collection of Cecil Adams books in a series of unfortunate events).

Maybe they’re still cypherin’…

I beg to differ sir!
It is not uncommon for a headline to announce that one party is being forced to pay for the other sides lawyer fees - and for that sum to be unbelievably astronomical. The way I see it, every moment any committee member spent deposing a witness, or drafting questions to ask a witness, or appearing for the hearings themselves – as well as as any time spent by staff members of select committee members, and consultants, investigators, IT or media facilitators, etcetera are legitimate costs of the insurrection and should be billed at a very high rate down to the quarter of an hour (which I believe is standard for attorney’s fees??)

Any witness would also have costs (travel perhaps, security, attorney’s fees, etc) and if they are a governmental employee ---- if the government paid for any portion of that, THAT portion would be a cost also. The costs of erecting security fencing, patrolling and monitoring the fencing, removing the fencing are all legitimate costs because they were never done before – unique to the riot. Not sure if the fencing always existed and just came out of storage or not, but any newly acquired security hardware would be a hard cost also.

Presumably, any military units put on alert during this time frame, those quartered in the Capitol, rations consumed, fuel expended have a cost and those costs are generally billed at retail rates and that is just for starters. (I once worked for a construction management firm and the reimbursable costs ran into huge numbers – far more than manpower and nominal profit, and it accumulated fast!) Those are just a few things that occurred to me while sitting here, I am sure a competent accountant could estimate a pretty sizable number on top of my musings (and actually have an idea what the rates might be for some of this stuff).

My theory is that if any activity or expense occurred as a result of the events of January 6th - or its aftermath, like all the DOJ attorneys and their investigators prosecuting the 800+ defendants are legitimate Insurrection costs and should be billed at the highest dollar figure that can be defended.

I hope so!!

It occurred to me after a little bit that incarceration costs are also part of the governments tab for this. Everyone who is sentenced to serve in a federal facility creates a daily cost (presumably daily cost of operating the facility divided by number of prisoners) whatever that figure is times 30.4 days times the number of months to be served so (cost x 30.4 x #of months for each). Ankle monitors, probation costs, parole officers if needed – all of that is a direct cost of the insurrection also.

This is far from an insignificant expense and we really should have an idea what it might add to in total.

Here ya’ go. About $1.5 million in repairs, plus $521 million for the national guard, and another $406 million for Capitol police and improved security.

Thank you!!
I will look at this in detail when I have more time, and if I am reading your numbers correctly-- that is almost a Hundred-Million Dollars just for the Capitol repairs and security.

If we figure in the “lawyer’s fees” of prosecuting all the defendants, plus the cost of the January 6th Committee (best money Congress ever spent!), plus the cost of incarcerating the convicted - that might be a significant sum as well.

I was very misguided to think it might have been a large enough number to take the blame for any inflation, but it is a very large cost for people who claim to be the ones who are reasonable with spending. Again, thank you for the information. I look forward to reading it all soon.

Sorry, one last thing. What is the source of this information? It does not seem to have any additional information or name who compiled the contents.

It is found embedded in the article cited below:

Thank you!
Wow, I was hoping for a deeper dive in the article, it is almost just a blurb to introduce the graphic. The graphic does give a number of sources however.

So about a billion dollars. Not counting a shit load of stuff.

I’m surprised that the repairs to the Capitol is not much, much higher than 1.7 million. But that may be included in the upgraded security. Windows doors etc.

I expected a much higher number for Capitol repair also.

If you do enough googling, you can find higher estimates of the repair costs.