Trump’s Border Wall is such a controversial issue that any discussion of it is generally filled with far more emotion than facts or reasoning and the Wall itself is a representation of something rather emotional and abstract. Those against its construction have rhetorically retreated from the position of the wall being evil to it being “unaffordable” or a “waste of money”. But do any of the people saying the wall is too expensive to make actually have any clue about the “value of the dollar” relative to government spending? Of course not, they are primarily motivated by feelings and emotions like all humans including those who are for the wall.
A good example of this madness is when CBS, a major news network asked Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina about whether it is worth the cost to build the Wall when a new middle school in Kentucky (among other things) needs to be built.
Although it was not stated directly on the program the good folks at CBS were probably referring to one of the army base schools that Trump is trying to filter out of the federal budget by transferring their jurisdiction over to local school districts. The host talked about taking funds from the wall from the defense budget which implies it would be for the children of soldiers.
Regarding whose responsibility it is to build schools Trump is on the side of the Constitution as it grants the power over education to the States not the military. In any case, even if the Wall was out of the question, Trump is not going to expand the military base school system that he wishes to transfer over to the States’ jurisdiction. This is just mainstream media obfuscation.
CBS tries to establish a false dichotomy that if Trump builds The Wall for theoretically 6 billion a year over 3 years that this will somehow hurt the military forcing the troops to suffer, when the Donald actually immediately increased the yearly “defense” budget by roughly 36 billion dollars per year to a total of $750 billion as he came into office. This was his first major disappointment after winning but then again going completely against the military industrial complex is bad for one’s health.
Even if Trump did suck the money from the military to build The Wall they would still come out +30 billion and if the military cannot find room in ¾ of a trillion dollar budget to build a school in Kentucky then the US Armed Forces are doomed as an organization.
Daily we are subjected to irrational breakdowns of spending like the “22 Amazing Things You Can Do for the Cost of a Few Miles of Border Wall” which makes this big fence sound oh so insanely expensive. But if you want to think in those irrational terms then let’s think of all the things that could be bought for the entire US federal budget of roughly $4.1 trillion! In fact you could buy hundreds of Border Walls for that price! If my rough estimates are correct the unfathomably impossible to build Wall with Mexico is 0.004% of the federal budget. What a bargain!
This border project is not the construction of a Dyson Sphere, if the political will is there the US can fund this project with ease with a few pen strokes and zero consequences.
Whenever politicians in powerful country say they “can’t afford something” they mean that they either don’t want to do it, or don’t wish to allocate the funds to do it. However, when something “needs” to be done it always will. The money will somehow be “found”.
In my native Cleveland our schools were (are) in tatters but each of our three major sports franchises got a new stadium during my lifetime. In Russia the idea of building a massive network of stadiums seemed silly until they won the World Cup bid. In Cleveland at some point someone thought it would be great to spend money to resurface rusting train bridges to make things look “nice” rather than say trying to get jobs back in the city. What is done and what is not done is all a matter of political will more so than any actual budget constraints.
The money is always “there”: it is just a matter or priority and for Trump this symbolic Great Wall is a major priority and feather in his cap. For those who want it there will magically appear to be a way to finance it and for those who don’t it seems impossible to do. “Political Will” is the ONLY ANSWER to the question “can we afford it?” when speaking about powerful nations.
So the question is why does Trump have such massive political will to build “The Wall”? He has violated many election promises already either partially or fully, why stick with this plan to the bitter end?
Whether the Bad Orange Man knows it or not the Wall represents an aspect of what the Russians refer to as “multipolarity”. It essentially physically isolates America and Canada (there was never, and never will be a Wall with the highly similar Canadians) as a civilization separate from Central and South America. It is not the vision of a totally globalized world of homogeneous values that the Western Left wants but a step towards a globalized world where a distinct North American culture will survive into the future.
The Wall in the context of Trump’s theoretical “Fortress America” plan also sends a massive signal south of the border – you shall have no other master before us. With the Washington push being felt heavily in Brazil and Venezuela (leaving older projects like Syria and Ukraine to go stagnant) and Trump’s fight to break dependence on the Chinese it looks as though there is a pivot to Latin America as the source of exploitation. This is good for America, Russia, and China but not so great for the people “south” of the border wall.
The Wild West is dead. The Jim Crow era and slavery are dead. The Monroe Doctrine is dead. Many forms of American identity as a nation have come and gone. The Wall signifies the end of the Ellis Island America. Solicitors are no longer welcome to knock on the door, if America needs you America will call you. For some this is tragic for others it is a cause for celebration but Trump’s big construction project is a major shift in America’s way of being. Its “Bytiye” as they say in Russian is shifting and will never go back when the border is secured, immigration is clamped down and Trump secures his second term.
- The government can finance any project in the billions if there is political will to do so.
- The Border Wall marks a major shift in American identity and confirms it as a separate civilization from Central and South America geopolitically.