On his return from meeting with the Mexican President, Donald Trump last night doubled down on his tough immigration stance and his assertion that Mexico will pay for “The Wall.”
The TV media spent its time last night discussing who was lying about the meeting between Mr. Trump and President Enrique Peña Nieto with regard to a “discussion” on payment for the wall. Mr. Trump said it wasn’t discussed, the President said he told Mr. Trump Mexico would not pay for a wall. Mr. Trump was referring to a discussion and President was likely referring to a statement he himself made.
The thing that turns my stomach the most is the media “bulldust.” It is getting thicker and thicker and it has become a total waste of time to watch these orchestrated political soap operas. I don’t know about our readers but for me, this is becoming rather boring. Bring on the elections …. Please!
But back to the subject at hand; it doesn’t take a genius to understand that if America wants Mexico to pay for the wall there are several different ways the US could enforce the payment. Let’s be clear, the wall is not just to stop illegal entry into the US but also to stop the large quantity of a variety of dangerous drugs which enter the US every week.
Firstly, the wall needs to be 2,000 miles long which will probably cost about $6-10billion. Secondly, it needs to be tall enough to stop people climbing over. Thirdly, it needs to be a high-tech wall that can detect tunnel building beneath it. Can this be done? Yes. Will it be expensive? Yes. And now, the $10billion question – will Mexico pay for it?
Let’s look at some options for getting payment from Mexico:
- A likely solution, if Mexico refuses to pay in cash, is simply to adjust NAFTA regulations to include a tariff that Mexico would have to pay – call it what you like, for the sake of argument “Wall Money” – every time Mexico exports to the US. Mexico is currently our 3rd largest trading partner with $531billion in two-way trade. Right now, they export more to the US than we export to Mexico.
- The US goods trade deficit with Mexico was $58billion in 2015. All we have to do is adjust the deficit downwards by, say $10billion, and give this amount out of the US Treasury to US companies to manufacture the goods we are currently buying from Mexico here in the US.
- A tax should be levied on US companies that relocate their manufacturing plants to Mexico and incentive should be provided to companies that stay in the US.
Meanwhile, once the wall has been constructed and illegal crossings largely curtailed, the cost of border enforcement and the inhumane detainment of border crossers would be reduced to a minimum.
Far from Donald Trump’s concept being farfetched, it is actually not just possible but plausible. Irrespective of whether Mexico comes up with the cash or not, they will pay. Just out of interest, Mexico has their own problems and doesn’t have the capacity to pay. For example, the oil company Pemex, one of the Mexican government’s main sources of revenue, is losing money and is one of the world’s most indebted oil companies. You can’t get blood out of a stone!
So, all this hype is much ado about nothing. America holds all the cards. All we have to do is play what is already a winning hand.
However, we should be careful not to destabilize our neighbor and we should treat hard-working Mexicans, doing jobs we don’t want to do in the US, with respect. I have personally witnessed what happens when permits under the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act are reduced or eliminated. On a local golf course near Washington DC, where I played frequently, I noticed a lot of foreign workers grooming the grounds. When I inquired as to whether they were there legally or not it turned out that all the necessary permits had been obtained under this Act. It takes years to train people to groom and maintain golf courses. For a fraction of what it would cost to hire Americans – who didn’t want to do these jobs anyway – the golf club employed and trained these people for several years. Members of the club got to know these workers on a personal basis. They were always cheerful, polite, hard-working and honest. Unfortunately, after several years, the government in its infinite blind wisdom, curtailed the program and all of these workers were suddenly out of a job. We, the club members, all felt a sadness at the heavy-handed treatment of these fellow human beings and their families. We caused them hardship in return for their trust and hard work.
Whatever we do about the immigration problem, law-abiding foreign workers from any country should be treated as human beings on an equal footing with their American counterparts, not as some lower form of life. We have been through a war about this before to fight for these rights called WWII – let’s not turn our backs on history. Because we are more fortunate here in the US, it does not mean we are better species of human being.