Monday, February 13, 2017

Protesters: The Soros-is-Paying Claim

In the wake of the 2016 election and 2017 inauguration, we have seen hundreds of protests. These have ranged in size from millions on January 21st with the Women's March on Washington to many smaller local events targeting specific issues. As these protests, rallies, and marches have continued, some have made spurious claims about who is involved in the protests. I plan to take a bit of time to analyze these claims. In this post, I address the claim that protesters are being paid by George Soros.

Raw labor cost

Today, let us take at face value the claim that protesters are, in fact, being paid to attend the rallies. As we did when calculating the cost of shipping in protesters, we'll start with the Moral March on Raleigh that took place on February 11 and use the conservative estimated attendance of 10,000.

How much would a protester get paid? A similar job might be an extra in a movie or TV show, so let's find out what they make. indicates that union member extras earn $110 per eight hour day plus overtime for any hours beyond that. This comes out to $13.75 per hour for normal time. Since there's probably not a Protesters Union[citation needed], let's drop the cost to just $10 per hour.

The Moral March on Raleigh was a four hour event, not counting commuting, preparation time, setup, and cleanup. It's time for more math again!
Okay, we can handle that, right? To a billionaire, $400,000 is pocket change. Of course, this is just one out of hundreds of protests, marches, and rallies, not to mention all of those town halls, calls to senators and representatives, postcards and letters, visits to congressional offices, and more.

Let's again take a low-ball, shot-in-the-dark estimate and say there have been twenty five similarly sized protests each weekend for the last four weekends since the inauguration. Let's also come up with a rough tally for all of the other actions based on some articles from reputable sources. From this Politico article just about the DeVos confirmation, we can tally up approximately 85,000 calls, emails, and letters targeted at just five senators out of 100.

Let's also assume each contact takes one minute on average including the time waiting for a staffer to pick up the phone. Also, since these actions can be taken from home maybe they only get $5 per hour. Finally, the Politico article was written on January 26th. A more recent CNN article indicates that as many as 1.5 million calls per day have been coming in to the Senate, which approximately matches our number above. Go us! There have been 24 days since the inauguration. Hey look, it's more math.
And let's add in the rough estimate of 100 protests at the previously calculated cost of $400,000 each.
Over $43 million, and we haven't factored in the cost of all those signs people are carrying, sound and stage equipment, port-a-potties, and more. Let's just pretend that's all free, because why not.

Show them the money

At this point, we some how have to get $43 million dollars distributed to people. Are we going to write them all checks? Unlikely. It takes me about half a minute to write a check, even if I leave the name blank for the person to fill in later. If I write two checks a minute to just the 10,000 people who attended this past weekend's event, we're talking 5,000 minutes or 83 hours or nearly three and a half days of continual writing. Can you say "hand cramp"?

Let's try raw cash instead. Cash is good, right? Wait - what bank is going to just let me make a $43 million cash withdrawal without getting suspicious and notifying authorities? And how do we disperse that? Even if we had, say, twenty people we trusted to stand in front of a mountain of cash it would take them quite a bit of time to give everyone their pay, and you know someone would get a picture of that to put on the internet.

Perhaps the only way is some form of electronic dispersal. We could use payroll software like ADP. Now we just need to enter at least 10,000 people into the system and... Think about how long it took you as an individual to get set up in your company's payroll system and then multiple that by ten thousand - for just a single march. Also, we're now the size of a massive corporation, and spending money in similar volumes, too. We probably need people full time in HR, financial, and legal (to either pay taxes or somehow hide all of these transactions). This is ballooning way out of proportion.

We've got 99 problems but a check ain't one

This all leads me to this inevitable conclusion:

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