Recently, President Donald Trump announced his intention of hosting a military parade, stating that he would soon work out the logistics. While it’s important to support the troops, and to celebrate their service, it could be argued that that money could be used for better causes.
As of right now, White House officials and congressmen alike are finding ways to balance the national budget and make it viable for the American people. With the threats of a government shutdown, including the shutdown that already happened this year — Jan. 20 – 22 — the issue of spending has become increasingly more prominent.
The United States has the third-largest military in the world, yet boasts the highest amount of funding: according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 16 percent of every American’s tax dollars are sent to promote the efforts of our military, be it at home or in another country, such as Afghanistan.
During times of government shutdown, the military consistently stays active for safety purposes, but their pay is threatened. This means that active duty members and their families are left in the dark. And if the money from taxpayers can not even ensure that those who serve our country will be taken care of, why spend an abundance of taxpayer dollars on a one-time event?
The outrageous costs and the lack of benefits
According to the International Business Times, a military parade would cost an estimated $13.8 million. This number was estimated by comparison of the last military parade held in 1991 to mark the end of the Gulf War.
This amount alone could be given directly to service members as a one-time bonus, or be invested into veterans programs that help those who are homeless, disabled, or otherwise having a hard time acclimating once they return from their service.
A military parade would have many different consequences, both good and bad. On the good end, military members would know they’re appreciated and valued by the President; after all such a display of affection can only bring about good morale for the people who are protecting our country in the best way they know how.
However, this parade could cost taxpayers an exuberant amount of money, and worse yet, that money would be used for a one-time event that would not have any lasting benefits or impact on individual members of the military.
In addition, many news organizations, such as the likes of the New York Times, have drawn the parallels between military parades and overly confident dictatorship regimes. Past military parades were showcased because of a monumental event, such as a war ending, but this proposed parade would seemingly be just for fun. Many congressmen are against the idea entirely.
The top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, representative Adam Smith, of Washington D.C., eloquently explained, “The military is not President Trump’s personal toy set. He cannot be allowed to continue focusing on parades and ego-inflating toys instead of real, basic military needs that can jeopardize lives if they are not met … A military parade like this—one that is unduly focused on a single person—is what authoritarian regimes do, not democracies.”
President Trump claimed that he got his inspiration from Bastille Day in France — a holiday which celebrates the storming of the Bastille in 1789, a moment that marked a national revolution in France, and emphasizes pride among the military and the people of France. However, what President Trump is describing would be a show of power. Instead of emphasizing our United States military members, Trump seemingly wants to boast the amount of power the military has, and come off as a threat to other countries.
The military is celebrated everyday by common folk – chances are, everyone knows someone who is currently, or at some point was, in the military. The government, however, is not as supportive of our military, nor our veterans.
The proposed funds should be delegated to ensure that those in the military are taken care of and well-fed. It should be used for little quality-of-life things, such as toiletries and care packages. It should go towards a national ad campaign, reminding folks to give a little extra when it comes to those who are serving.
While the idea of the military parade may derive from good feelings of hope and strength, there are far too many cons to outweigh the pros. Instead of showing off our power, we should be humbly ensuring that our troops are taking care of.