What $15B can buy in Washington

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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.