Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Wall Meets the Halloween Scale

I've mentioned before that we Americans spend $6 billion a year on Halloween, and that the total cost of the 2012 presidential election was right around the same amount.

That absurdity recurs in my mind when I hear dollar amounts thrown around without context. I've been meaning to make a bar chart to illustrate this, and today is the day.

You see, today I read a commentary from a certified professional construction estimator, giving his number for Trump's wall. Trump has mentioned numbers like $8 billion or $12 billion, maybe as high as $18 billion. Makes you wonder how he runs his businesses.

Jerry Mollenhauer begs to differ. He puts the number at just about $76 billion in what the industry calls hard costs, which do not include:

  • Land acquisition
  • Dewatering (if you dig a big trench for the footings, it will fill with water that needs to be removed)
  • Access roads along the wall for building, maintaining, or monitoring
  • Transportation costs to bring building materials to the 1,500-mile-long job site
  • Design or supervision
He says with those items included, the cost would easily double to $150 billion.

With all that as backdrop, I present my first Halloween bar chart. I plan to update it over time as new absurdities of spending arise, so I've left room for more bars.

Oh, and don't forget — we spend $13 billion a year on Valentine's Day.

References for all those pumpkins:

Halloween spending
Wall Street bonuses and minimum-wage workers
Cruise spending
Clean drinking water (2000 WHO statement, adjusted for inflation to 2015)
U.S. presidential election spending, 2012

No comments: