Cost of Trump's military parade over budget by almost 700%; Update: Parade postponed

A true patriot would have run it 7,000 percent over budget, just to show how much he loves America.

On the other hand, given how the Pentagon operates, anything less than 15,000 percent over is sort of a moral victory. Kudos to POTUS for beating expectations.

The parade, slated for Nov. 10, is estimated to cost $92 million, the official said. The figure includes $50 million from the Pentagon and $42 million from interagency partners such as the Department of Homeland Security. An initial estimate last month pegged the prospective cost for the parade at $12 million

The $92 million cost estimate includes security, transportation of parade assets, aircraft, as well as temporary duty, or TDY, for troops. The official also noted that while the size and scope of the military parade can still shift, the plans currently include approximately eight tanks, as well as other armored vehicles, including Bradleys, Strykers and M113s…

The parade is also expected to include helicopter, fighter jet, transport aircraft as well as historical military plane flyovers. Troops in period uniforms representing the past, present and future forces will march in the parade, as well.

The early high-end estimate of how much it might cost, per OMB chief Mick Mulvaney, was $30 million. Many a critic is pointing back today to Trump’s rationale for canceling joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises a few months ago after his summit with Kim Jong Un. “We save a fortune” by not holding those exercises, Trump tweeted at the time. The projected cost was … $14 million.

You can play the “What better uses could this money be put to?” game with parade funding all day long if you like. Here’s one from Philip Bump at WaPo, though, that might be politically relevant sooner rather than later:

[The $92 million estimate is] now more than three times the cost of the Mueller probe through the end of August.

In fact, if we assume that the same average daily cost continues forward past the end of August, the amount being spent on the military parade could fund the Mueller probe until Dec. 26, 2021. The probe ending at that point would certainly be a nice Christmas present for Trump, if nothing else.

Trump has complained before about the then-$17 million price tag on the Russiagate probe, notes Bump. It’s a cinch that he’ll cite the investigation’s allegedly exorbitant costs more often as a reason to wrap it up as time goes on. The cost of the parade will be thrown back at him every time he does, especially now that it’s so far over budget.

This has also become an easy opportunity for Democrats to pretend that they care about budgets:

No one in Congress has an incentive to rein it in. If Republicans try, they’ll be attacked for crossing Trump. If Democrats try, they’ll be demagogued as anti-military. Axelrod’s crocodile tears about spending can be safely ignored given his role in the great Hopenchange spending orgy but it’d be nice to see “fiscal conservatives” in the GOP make a half-hearted gesture to offset the spending on the parade with cuts elsewhere. A hundred mil is a piddling sum by federal standards, but I promise that the bean-counters in the Freedom Caucus will be watching closely if President Bernie decides he wants the same amount to spend on a parade of American workers or public-school teachers or whatever. The least we can do is not let it add to the deficit or have the funding be taken out of money appropriated to the Pentagon for more worthy endeavors — particularly since the parade is meant to be as much an expression of Trump’s own nationalist-militarist “strength” as it is a tribute to the troops. It’s a sort of campaign event.

Update: Yeesh. Can’t be a coincidence that the event’s being postponed on the very day a seven-fold budget overrun was announced.

Was this statement of opposition by the American Legion the final straw?

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