Each Lebanese Law Costs 1 Million Dollars to Make

Some back-of-the-envelope maths about how much it cost to produce each Lebanese law in 2011.

The graphic above has been making the rounds on the Lebanese social media. It’s an interesting scorecard of what Lebanese MPs have achieved in 2011. The bottom line is revealing: 128 MPs wrote 19 laws in the entire year, resulting in the horrible efficiency of 0.15 law/MP/year .

I figured I’ll take this another step and decided to dig up how much each law costs the Lebanese tax payers in 2011. First, a word of warning: This is a very imprecise exercise, so please economics and statistics experts don’t expect super exact figures to come out of it. We’re just aiming for the ball-park.

Down to business

I will assume that the cost of making laws in one year is the amount the Lebanese government pays in salaries for current and previous MPs. You can debate whether or not it’s fair to include the salaries of previous MPs but since the MP’s only role is to make laws, any money that is given to an MP, current or former, is in exchange for his or her contribution in making laws, contemporary or old.

Since I didn’t really feel like digging through hideous official websites and documents for actual figures, I looked elsewhere and found this 2009 Now Lebanon report about the topic. Below is the key paragraph:

the 245 living men and women who have served in parliament since 1974, and the families of the 97 former MPs who have died, receiving money from the government every month totaling some 24 billion LL ($16 million) a year per year

So we have a number: $16 million per year in 2009 money, which using a deposit interest rate of 7.5% (Thanks Wolfram Alfa) would be worth almost $18.5 million in 2011 money. Let’s throw in another 500,000 in “other expenses”, which can include things like organizing elections, keeping MPs safe , feeding them during long parliamentary sessions and cleaning their seats and cars.

So we now have a conveniently round figure of $19,000,000, which when divided by the 19 laws produced in 2011 yields the even more conveniently round figure of 1 million US Dollars. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the cost of producing each and every Lebanese law in 2011.

Update: If you can read Arabic, find more damning figures here

Update 2: Mr. Ibrahim Muhanna (father of our pal Elias) makes estimates that are close to the ones here.

→ Respond to this post On Twitter
  • naja

    Excellent. This means that with every law they DON’T make, they save the state a million bucks. At least we have that as a consolation.

  • Moussa Bashir

    LOL! “..cleaning their seats and cars.”