Here are two factoids to digest before reading on.
- CNBC: It’s a contentious issue, considering the border wall would cost billions of dollars.
- President Obama is in the process of building a large wall around his Washington, D.C. home.
The word is that Former President Obama got the Mexican Government to pay for his wall. And really! The house itself looks like something out of a Bram Stoker novel.
The best estimates are that “Trump’s wall” will cost approximately $15 billion.
- It’s 0.4 percent of projected federal spending for 2017.
- It’s 2.7 percent of the projected deficit this year.
- It’s 0.1 percent of the total federal debt.
It really should not be too difficult to come up with the funds if needed, especially considering it will be a multiple-year project.
[Source: 10 Dubious Government Expenditures That Are More Costly Than Trump’s Border Wall, American Liberty Report]
Here are a few very expensive programs that could potentially make a contribution from their respective budgets:
- The War on Poverty
The war on poverty isn’t cheap. “The War on Poverty” is actually a catchphrase for a host of government programs initiated by Democratic President Lyndon Johnson when he famously declared this conflict.
However, 50 years after the war was initiated and some $22 trillion later, the poverty rate in America is virtually unchanged. Mayhaps they could find a billion or two to contribute to something that truly will REDUCE THE POVERTY RATE. Unlawful immigrant households in the U.S. impose a net fiscal burden of around $54.5 billion per year.
- The F-35 Jet Program
It’s over budget, long-delayed, far from the secret it was supposed to be (reports are that China already has the jet’s plans), and beset with a raft of problems from its complex software.
The program, which should be the poster child for how not to run a military requisition project, is already budgeted at $379 billion, but by the time all F-35s are built that are scheduled to be completed, the total might well come in at more than $1 trillion.
- Running the Government
Every year, the federal government spends about $3.8 trillion. If you break that figure down, it comes to $10.4 billion per day, $432 million per hour and $7.2 million per minute. At that cost, the border wall would be the equivalent of just one and a half days of operating the government.
- Improper Payments for Medicaid and Medicare
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimated in 2014 that there were approximately $17.5 billion worth of improper Medicaid payments made and $59.9 billion in improper Medicare payments, totaling $76.4 billion. When combined with other government benefit programs, the total came out to $124.7 billion worth of improper payments. Trump could build 8 walls right there.
- Maintaining Unused and Vacant Property
Maintaining vacant buildings and unused property cost the government $25 billion in 2009 according to the Heritage Foundation. Currently, there’s a total of 1.186 billion square feet of excess space in the administration’s possession, with federal buildings that are worth billions of dollars just sitting around empty. The maintenance alone for all this space is between three and four billion dollars per year.
- The Earned Income Tax Credit
Improper payments to the Earned Income Tax Credit benefits program for taxpayers totaled $15.6 billion in fiscal 2015, according to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General Tax Administration.
- The U.S. Postal Service
In 2012, the USPS’s loss was $15.9 billion and the cumulative total of losses since 2012 is $36 billion.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) spends $2 billion for the agency’s Earth sciences division, responsible for much climate change research.
- Farm Subsidies
According to the Cato Institute, the Department of Agriculture provides at least $25 billion in subsidies to farmers in the U.S. The largest producers of cotton, rice, soybeans, corn and wheat receive the lion’s share of the largess. Many of these commodity producers are hardly in need of financial assistance, such as Walmart heirs Rob, Jim and Alice Walton. Other recipients include CNN founder Ted Turner and rock musicians Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi.
And let us not forget that the wall will be more than effective. It will be symbolic.