WASHINGTON — If one believes the back-of-the-envelope estimates by Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump’s border wall is going to cost between $12 billion and $15 billion. That’s a lot of money, even though it’s just a minute fraction of a $4 trillion federal budget. Here are a few examples of what the government could do with $15 billion:
• Fund the Environmental Protection Agency for almost two years.
• Buy about 150 top-of-the-line F-35 fighter jets.
• Fund medical research at the National Institutes of Health for six months
• Pay for overseas military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for three months.
• Finance the IRS for eight months.
• Cover the government’s interest costs on the national debt for about three weeks.
• Provide food stamps to 45 million people for about two months.