In case you missed it, the White House already gave a glimpse of its first budget proposal and it’s exactly what you would expect from Trump’s “America First” approach to government.
The budget proposal calls for a 10% — $54 billion — increase in military spending. The money would come from cuts to other departments like the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department, and other programs like foreign aid.
In the eyes of the new administration, the proposal is a reflection of President Trump’s promises to the American people.
“We are taking his words and turning them into policies and dollars,” said Trump’s budget director Mick Mulvaney on Monday. “(Trump) prioritized rebuilding the military, including restoring our nuclear capabilities, protecting the nation and securing the border,” he added.
$54 billion sure sound like a lot of money, and it turns out it is. For example, the whole foreign aid budget last year was just over $29 billion. Not to mention that the United States military expenditures is roughly the size of the next seven largest military budgets around the world, combined.
So, instead of expanding the military, we made a list of things the government could do with that money.
Here are 5 other things the U.S. could do with the $54 billion:
1.- Make college tuition free for 7 out of 10 students
According to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president, the cost of free college for all is $75 billion. The $54 billion would cover 72% of that amount.
Bernie proposed imposing a tax on Wall Street speculators that would make public colleges and universities tuition free, would stop the federal government from making a profit on student loans and would also cut interest rates for undergraduate loans from 4.2% to 2.3%.
2.- Give a $430 tax cut to every household in America
The math is simple. The $54 billion would buy a $430 tax cut for every household in the United States since there are 125.8 million households in the country.
3.- Universal preschool for 3 and 4-year-olds
That according to Jane Waldfogel, a Columbia University professor, that estimated that paying for universal preschool for 3 and 4-year-olds would cost between $46 billion and $56 billion a year in an interview for The New York Times. Adjusted for inflation, the cost today would be between $51 billion and $62 billion.
4.- Host the Summer Olympic Games and the Soccer World Cup… 2 times!
With exactly $54 billion the United States could host the Summer Olympic Games and the Fifa World Cup two times.
The 2016 Rio Olympics ended up costing $12 billion, and the last FIFA World Cup, also in Brazil, came with a $15 billion price tag for the South American country.
5.- How about spending the $54 billion in diplomacy?
The State Department’s total budget for last year was not even $54 billion. The department’s programs include development, democracy, education, disease prevention and climate change.
Even the current Defense Secretary, James Mattis, said in 2013 that “if you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition… The more we put into the State Department’s diplomacy, the less we have to put into the military budget.”
About the author: Mauricio Holguin is a Mexican journalism student currently at The Washington Center in D.C. He's been a staff writer for Shout! since January 2017.
Feature image: Mc Nathan Beard/Zuma Press/Newscom