Back on February 14, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney found himself in the rather awkward position of having to explain, to Congress, on television, why it makes sense from a fiscal perspective to allow Donald Trump to spend money the U.S. doesn’t have on a Third World-style military parade.
Before we revisit the hilarious video of that episode, let’s take a minute to review why some people aren’t particularly fond of Mick. See, Mick has done a lot of reprehensible things in his day. For instance, earlier this year he tried to screw over 9/11 survivors and first responders. And even if you were inclined to give him a break for historical instances of reprehensible behavior, Mick’s tenure in the Trump administration has been defined by cringe-worthy soundbites and most recently, by the effort to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That effort has recently involved taking steps to rollback protections against predatory lending (see here, for instance, and also here, with the latter being a particularly egregious example).
The sweet irony for the rest of us is that Mick is a notorious deficit hawk who is now the “proud” owner of a truly “deplorable” fiscal situation that, by 2023, will put America on par with Italy in terms of debt sustainability.
As a reminder, Mick is the same guy who, back in 2010, famously proclaimed that “we really believe you can’t spend money you don’t have.” But that’s exactly what the Trump administration is doing. Trump is literally borrowing to fund tax cuts for the wealthy and he’s also signed spending bills that aren’t even remotely consistent with the GOP’s reputation for championing fiscal rectitude.
So it was with great pleasure that everyone watched as Mick tried to explain to Congress how it came to be that he supports spending $10-30 million on Trump’s idea to hold a military celebration fashioned after something you’d see in a banana republic. Here’s Mick, from February 14:
Got that? Let’s review:
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, those types of things. Obviously, an hour parade is different than a five-hour parade, in terms of the cost and the equipment.
Yes, “obviously”. What’s equally “obvious” is that this idea is just as dumb as the guy who came up with it, especially at a time when the deficit is exploding.
Well guess what? It turns out Trump’s parade is going to come in a wee bit over budget – and by that I mean it’s going to cost as much as 10 times the lowest initial estimate. According to a source with knowledge of the Defense Department’s plans, the total cost for this farce (which will play out in the nation’s capital on November 10), will be $92 million.
What does that cover?, you might fairly ask. Well, here’s a list:
- transportation of parade assets
- temporary duty for troops
- eight tanks
- other armored vehicles, including Bradleys, Strykers and M113s
- fighter jets
- transport aircraft
- historical military plane flyovers
The good news is, experts have now decided that rolling Abrams tanks through D.C. won’t damage the streets.
“Experts put to rest concerns about whether the Abrams tank, which weighs just shy of 70 tons, would ruin infrastructure in Washington”, CNBC notes, citing the official mentioned above and adding that “analysis found that, because of the vehicle’s distributed weight and track pads, the streets of the nation’s capital would not be compromised.”