New estimates for the cost of Donald Trump’s controversial military parade are out, and they’re raising some eyebrows. The parade, which is scheduled for November 10 in Washington, D.C., could cost as much as $92 million, a defense official told CNBC.
That’s a steep jump from earlier estimates that said the parade – modeled after France’s Bastille Day parade – would cost somewhere between $10 million and $30 million. The new figure includes $50 million in Pentagon spending as well as $42 million in spending from other government agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, CNBC reported.
Critics have been quick to point out other ways the government could be spending nearly $100 million. Many suggest that money could be better used to help veterans.
Screw a military parade to just feed Trump’s ego. It’s a waste of money. Spend the $92 million on our veterans instead.https://t.co/2MCUjll116
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) August 16, 2018
Newsweek estimates that for $92 million, the government could feed every homeless veteran three meals a day for nine months. There are just over 40,000 homeless vets in the U.S.
Of course, when we’re talking about government spending, $92 million is a relative drop in the bucket. The federal government currently spends billions every year on everything from border security to Pell Grants to efforts to reduce the opioid epidemic. Still, $92 million isn’t exactly chump change either. Here’s how the estimated cost of Trump’s military parade stacks up against some other government programs.
Summer Food Program
- $482 million
The federal government spends about $482 million a year to provide free meals and snacks to kids when school isn’t in session. The National School Lunch Program, which gives free or low-cost lunches to low-income kids, costs the government $13.6 billion every year.
National Cemetery Administration
- $306 million
The National Cemetery Administration maintains more than 130 national cemeteries and coordinates burial benefits for eligible veterans. It’s a part a part of the Veterans Administration and received $306 million in 2018.
National Endowment for the Arts
- $152.85 million
The NEA has long been a target for fiscal conservatives who want to scrap government spending on the arts. In 2018, the government allocated a little less than $153 million for NEA activities. (The National Endowment for the Humanities got the same amount.) Compare that to the $92 million that could be spent on a single military parade.
F-35 fighter jet
- $94.3 million each
There’s no word yet on exactly which planes might be soaring overhead during the planned military parade, but if it’s an F-35, that single jet will have cost as much as the parade itself. The unit cost of this military plane, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, is $94.3 million, according to CNBC. The costly fighter has been plagued by problems, and the president has described the price tag on the jets as “out of control.”
The Cooperative Endangered Species Fund
- $53.6 million
In 2018, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received about $53 million for the Cooperative Endangered Species Fund. It uses this pot of money to dole out grants to states and territories to pay for endangered species conservation projects on non-federal land. It’s a target of Trump’s proposed 2019 budget cuts.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- $19 million
The Smokies are America’s most-visited national park (and one of the few that doesn’t charge an entrance fee.) With a budget of about $19 million annually, Trump’s planned military parade could fund the park for nearly five years.
Chemical Safety Board
- $11 million
This small government agency is responsible for investigating industrial accidents – like the Deepwater Horizon incident — and finding ways to prevent them in the future. President Trump has proposed eliminating the agency in his 2019 budget.
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