By David Vandygriff
President Donald Trump will need to ask Congress for nearly $1 billion to fund the expulsion and replacement of active duty transgender service members, or squeeze what he claims is an already underfunded military to find the funds.
Businessman Donald Trump has a lousy track record when it comes to employment practices. The real estate magnate and golf course baron often uses the cheapest labor he can find, which includes skirting the law to hire foreign workers on U.S. visas who frequently don't get raises or benefits.
But the U.S. military is not a golf course, and the highly-trained and highly-skilled service members he wants to fire because they are transgender will need to be replaced.
And that will be expensive.
On Thursday President Trump told reporters, "I’m doing the military a great favor" by announcing his transgender ban.
A new report released this week, authored by current and retired professors from the U.S. Navy's Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, puts the cost of Trump's ill-conceived and likely unconstitutional ban at $960 million.
The does not include the legal costs the federal government will incur for fighting all the lawsuits it can expect. Already this week Trump and other senior members of the military have been sued by two LGBT civil rights law firms, GLAD and NCLR.
The Palm Center, which published the report notes it "shows that discharging and replacing the estimated 12,800 transgender service members who are already serving would cost over 100 times more than providing medically necessary health care to the military’s transgender troops."
“Fully implementing President Trump’s ban would cost $960 million in pursuit of savings of $8.4 million per year,” the report concludes. The $8.4 million figure is the upper-bound estimate calculated by the RAND Corporation for providing health care to transgender troops each year.
The report itself notes "implementing President Trump’s transgender service ban would cost $75,000 per person in order to accrue an annual savings of $656 per person. For the military as a whole, fully implementing President Trump’s ban would cost $960 million in pursuit of saving $8.4 million per year."
The Palm center also adds "the current report did not include administrative costs and lost time for personnel tasked with rounding up transgender personnel and overseeing their separation," and
And these numbers don't include the costs to society of adding 10,000 to 15,000 people to the unemployment rolls.
In short, President Trump doesn't know the first thing about this policy he tweeted one morning two weeks ago, barely hours after likely learning his former campaign chairman's home had just been searched by the FBI under a no-knock warrant.