…I’ll tell you what you value:
Trump’s draft budget calls for eliminating these programs (except for the Melania protection).
For one thing, the cost of Mrs. Trump being protected in NYC is unclear – initial estimates of $1 million/day date from November, and haven’t been updated by actual expense reports since; the cost in any case was (as of November) on the New York City taxpayers, pending reimbursement by the nation.
But more importantly, the comparisons in the graph and the headline “Choices in Public Spending” are apples and oranges. Trump could have his whole family in the White House, or be a bachelor with no dependents and a correspondingly smaller security cost to the nation, and still be determined to cut the NEA, CPB, and Legal Services. Any other of the hard-right Republican candidates who ran last year would be doing the same right now. Those proposed cuts are clearly not based on any argument about the nation not being able to “afford” them thanks to a higher than usual Secret Service bill in this administration. They’re based on conservatives hating liberal media, elite art-lovers, and pushy poor people, and on their winning an election that lets them get that hate on in both large and petty ways.
The large ways, of course, will be the revised tax code we should expect this year, not a few tiny federal grant programs.
To follow up, coincidentally Reuters reported today (Feb 22) that NYC has released its costs of about $300K per day for protecting Trump Tower when the president-elect was in residence between the election and his inauguration. The city also estimated an ongoing expense of about $150K per day when it is just Mrs. Trump and her son in the building, as it has been every day since the inauguration. Of course those are just NYC’s costs. Obviously the Secret Service is an additional cost in both cases, as are the larger costs such as restrictions on the air space over Manhattan, etc., but just as with NYC’s case, the level of federal protection for the First Lady alone is significantly lower than for the president. So the “Choices in Public Spending” graph, which focuses only on the cost of protecting Mrs. Trump when she lives apart from the president, should probably adjust that shocking $725 million spike, based on unverifiable estimates from November, to about $75 million to $100 million – which is a lot of money, to be sure, but is now a bit less than any one of the three programs so graphically endangered by her security costs on the original chart.
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