Fun with additional SNAFU context

Earlier today, Rue illustrated the horror of the Army’s $900,000,000 ‘accounting error’ by calculating what that much money could have bought in terms of various weapons systems, and by comparing it to the total defense expenditures of other whole countries.

I posted a link to Rue’s piece on Facebook, and my friend Kristin commented, “Kind of puts that whole “cut PBS funding because every little bit counts” red herring into perspective.” Which got me thinking: just for funsies, what if we take that number outside the completely-overblown-and-disproportionate-to-all-other-facets-of-reality context of the Defense budget? How much would $900,000,000 get us in other parts of our own federal budget? I took a peek through various other Departments’ budgets to see, sampling from a wide range of programs. (Estimates are based on the White House’s FY13 budget).

I’m totally not an accountant, so some of my calculations might be off, but from what I could figure here is a sampling of what other departments/agencies could fund with the amount of money Defense essentially loses in its couch cushions:

Agency/Program How Far $900,000,000 Would Go There
Head Start 6 weeks
NASA Exploration 3 months
Secret Service 6 months
USAID Operations 7 months
Fish & Wildlife Service 8 months
ATF 9 months
Federal Marshal Service 9 months
Dept. of Education Race to the Top Program 11 months
Federal Work Study Program 11 months
Small Business Administration 1 year
Millennium Challenge Corporation 1 year
Dept. of State Non-proliferation, Anti-terrorist, Demining Programs 17 months
Smithsonian Institution 17 months
VA Prosthetic Research 18 months
Bureau of Labor Statistics 18 months
OSHA 19 months
NASA Aeronautics 20 months
Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Housing for the Elderly 2 years
Peace Corps 29 months
Dept. of Justice Juvenile Justice & Child Safety Programs 3 years
Dept. of Labor Veterans Employment & Training Program 3.5 years
Corporation for Public Broadcasting (PBS) 4 years
Dept. of Commerce Economic Development Administration 4 years
National Endowment for the Arts 6 years
National Endowment for the Humanities 6 years
Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Housing for People with Disabilities 6 years
Dept. of Labor Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs 7 years
National Galleries of Art 7.5 years
Dept. of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights 23 years

Nah, but unusable Stryker parts are cool, too.

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7 Responses to Fun with additional SNAFU context

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  6. Ted says:

    The fact that we spend too much on defense should not excuse the fact that we also spend too much on everything else. It would be interesting to imagine what tax payers might do with their money were it not taken to pay for either unnecessary Stryker parts or many of these other things. One gets angry because a thief has stolen from them, not because the thief has spent their stolen money poorly.

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