A parade celebrating the military’s achievements has been approved by President Trump at a hefty $30 million price point. The parade, which will take place sometime in the coming year, has been hotly contested by various politicians for being superfluous and an unnecessary use of funding. Other military supporters believe it’s an important opportunity to “support the troops” and remind citizens of the many ways our military supports us, both on home and foreign soil.
• Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) has been one of the loudest voices speaking out about the parade’s cost. “I want to ask you about this military parade the president is proposing, you know, the parade that is very similar to those held in authoritarian countries, like in North Korea,” she questioned. “How much is that parade going to cost and where is that money coming from?”
• Lee’s sentiments echo sentiments from other Democratic leaders across the country, but they suggest military parades are new to the United States. That simply isn’t true. The most recent major event was in 1991, when the United States celebrated the Gulf War victory. You might even say we’re due for one!
• The Gulf War celebratory parade itself cost millions of dollars and was televised across the world. At the time, it cost approximately $12 million; in today’s inflated funds, that’s about $22 million (that crazy inflation is another topic for another post).
• Despite the arguments on the cost, it is possible the parade could end up costing much less. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who is the current Director of the Office of Management and Budget, cautions patience on the issue. “We’ve not accounted for it in this year’s budget simply because it’s come up at the last minute,” he said. “So we’ll continue to work with you folks if we decide to push forward with that initiative.”
• Others have indicated that the final amount will depend on the length and size of the parade, giving a broader range estimate of $10 million to $30 million dollars.
• It wasn’t immediately clear what Trump’s thoughts were on scaling back the event, but Mulvaney was happy to comment. “I’ve seen various different cost estimates from between I think $10 million and $30 million depending on the size of the parade, the scope of it, the length of it,” he reported.
• President Trump and others in his inner circle have said the parade will mimic Bastille Day, a celebration of French culture held in France. It wasn’t clear whether Trump intended to celebrate the military’s prowess, American culture, or a combination of the two in the intended military parade.