The so-called “fiscally responsible” Republicans are at it again. Donald Trump has ordered a Veteran’s Day parade in Washington, D.C., so that our hard-working troops can spend their days practicing drills and preparing to salute their deplorable commander as they march through the streets of D.C. How much is this show going to cost? Conservative estimates done by Trump’s own administration put it anywhere between $10 million to $30 million taxpayer dollars.
Budget director Mick Mulvaney said Wednesday that he has seen estimates that a potential military parade requested by President Donald Trump could cost between $10 million and $30 million.Mulvaney told a congressional hearing that a parade is not included in the administration’s budget proposal because it came up late in the planning process. But if the administration decides to go forward with a parade, the Office of Management and Budget would study the costs.
Yes, you read that right—it isn’t even in the budget for 2018, but Trump has ordered they move forward with it anyway. The most outrageous part is that the Trump administration proposed cutting food stamps to our troops in need. From Military.com:
President Donald Trump’s proposals to cut eligibility for food stamps in 2018 would hit hard on thousands of military families who receive the benefit, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
“It’s a very unfortunate situation,” Army Lt. Gen. Anthony R. Ierardi, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff Director for force structure, readiness and assessment, said of the difficulties of troops who have to resort to food stamps.
How many active duty troops and their families are in need of food stamps? Far, far too many:
The report found that about 23,000 active duty service members received food stamps in 2013, according to U.S. Census data. In addition, information from the Department of Defense Education Activity showed that in September 2015, 24 percent of 23,000 children in U.S. DoDEA schools were eligible for free meals, while 21 percent were eligible for reduced-price meals.
There is no official tracking of military families on food stamps, but they can track the number of transactions on military bases:
About 751,000 food stamp transactions, or almost $80 million in purchases, were completed at military commissaries in 2015, the latest year for which data is currently available.
Those figures do not include veterans. As of 2012, an estimated 7 percent of veterans were on food stamps:
The USDA estimates that in 2012, more than 1.5 million veterans used food stamps, or about 7 percent of all veterans.
As Newsweek noted, there are an estimated 40,056 homeless veterans who could use a hand up, not a parade:
There were 40,056 homeless veterans in the United States in 2017, according to a Department of Housing and Urban Development report published last December. The finding marked a 1.5 percent increase from the 39,471 homeless veterans in 2016—the first such increase in seven years.
Feeding America, a non-profit organization and the nation’s largest hunger-relief and food rescue group, found the average cost-per-meal in the U.S. was $2.94 in 2015, the latest data available. The organization culled data from several organizations and agencies, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and found the cost-per-meal ranged from a low of $2.04 in Maverick County, Texas to a high of $5.61 in Crook County, Oregon.
A $10 million military parade—Mulvaney’s lowest estimate, granted it included tanks—could provide $249.65 for all 40,056 homeless veterans. That could provide each of those veterans 44.5 meals priced at $5.61 per meal—the highest national cost estimate, according to Feeding America—enough for three meals a day for 14.8 days.
Adjusting the cost per meal to the national average of $2.94, homeless veterans could eat three meals a day for nearly a month, 28.3 days.
With so many active and retired military personnel in need, it is downright shameful and insulting to waste precious taxpayer dollars on an ego boost for Donald Trump. Our troops deserve better.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.