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In my last post, we began discussing the disparity between the media’s portrayal of Trump’s accomplishments, thus far in his presidency, and reality. When Trump says, “All we do is win, win, win,” just what accomplishments is he referring to? His legislative agenda may be “struggling to gain traction,” but the fact that he has not managed to pass major legislation on healthcare, building the wall, or tax reform does not mean he has failed, nor does it mean these are his only means of getting things done in Washington.
Today, let’s tackle the wall. At the Wednesday rally in Cedar Rapids, Trump promised that he will get congressional funding allocated for the construction of the wall, even though it was not approved for the current spending bill. He is even thinking about adding solar panels to it. “Pretty good imagination, right? It’s my ideas,” he said.
Though it is true that he did not get the 1.4 billion dollars he wanted to build his monument to protectionism, he did get even more than he asked for to increase border security by the repairing and maintenance of existing infrastructure and for acquiring new technology. To be fair, both parties played a role in approving these funds, which is a good sign. Anytime common ground can be found between Dems and Republicans in the gridlock of Washington, we can be encouraged. Let’s be honest, Trump is not an ideologue. In fact, he is barely a Republican, as John Boehner once said. As a closer, he will work with anyone who is ready to negotiate, so I think we can expect to see more bipartisan cooperation in the future.
In order for Trump to obtain funding for the wall, he is going to have to sell the idea. This is why he describes it as “a big, beautiful wall.” To get support from the other side of the aisle, he is going to have to make the idea of such an undertaking more palatable by sweetening the deal, hence the solar panels. Green energy, anyone? Yes, I think that idea might be quite appealing to the more liberal members of Congress, who would be more likely jump at an opportunity to subsidize an alternate form of energy in their quest to save the planet from the effects of climate change and pass the costs on to the consumer.
Of course, Democrats are not the only obstacle. Some members of the Republican Party have grave misgivings about its feasibility. Take Senator McCain, for example. He has been quoted as saying, “I don’t know anybody that thinks that’s possible.” Well, no one said it would be easy. We are talking about covering 2,200 miles of diverse territory. A better option, he says, might be to monitor fencing with drones. He has a point. There are other ways, probably less expensive, to secure the border using technology. I am not opposed to the idea of technology over concrete, but no greater statement can be made than by building a physical barrier, something that would shout to the world that we are serious about securing our borders. And, there may be some rather unexpected benefits to having something so tangible.
As for aesthetics, don’t believe for a moment that Trump’s wall will be a monumentally expensive eyesore, a blight on the horizon. We certainly don’t want some great, lumbering behemoth reminiscent of the Berlin wall. Neither do we want anything that conjures up images of police state mentality and surveillance. It probably won’t be gaudy, either. Solar panels, maybe. Chandeliers? Out of the question. But it will be useful, and it must be profitable. “Think of it,” Trump told the audience in Iowa. “The higher it goes, the more valuable it is.”
Actually, building a wall that serves more than one purpose is a great idea. It could be a boon to the economy, both nationally and locally. Even building it will create jobs. Make it pay for itself and then some, I say. Hang art on it, show movies on our side, rent space to advertisers, sell bricks as a fund raiser. Have your name engraved on it, perhaps even a plaque. Would you sponsor a brick? Sure you would. The point is to monetize it. It has even been suggested that part of it can be utilized for burial plots. Why not? American ingenuity; that’s what I’m talking about.
The actual construction of Trump’s wall may be down the road a ways, but what is important is this: Illegal immigration is down 67% since he was sworn into office, and that translates into drastically lower costs and tax savings. Even before a single shovel has been stuck in the ground or the foundation laid, the wall is already working for us.
In the next post, we will take a look at tax reform and how cutting taxes is not the only way of stimulating the economy or getting cash into your pocket.