It’s hard for conservatives to argue against the fact that President Trump has done great things for the country. From freezing government hiring to reinstating the Mexico City Policy, Trump has fulfilled many of his campaign promises, including his signature promise to finally build a wall along the US-Mexican border. However, the question of how the wall will be funded remains.
Congress can easily afford it. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced yesterday that the wall would cost between $12-$15 billion, a relatively minuscule price. McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan didn’t discuss the specifics of how the wall would be funded but said that they expect Trump to submit a payment plan, and “the point is we’re going to finance the Secure Fence Act.” Meanwhile, Trump, while campaigning in the Republican primary and the general election, frequently stated that Mexico would pay for the wall. But Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has stated repeatedly that Mexico will not fund the wall.
Even though we could fund the construction ourselves, Trump wants to keep his promise that Mexico would still, somehow, pay for the wall to be built. An idea that Trump and his staff floated yesterday to achieve this would be to impose a 20% tariff, or tax, on Mexican imports. According to the Associated Press, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that “Trump had discussed the idea with congressional leaders and wants to include the measure in a comprehensive tax reform package.” Spicer also stated that these taxes would generate $10 billion a year that could easily fund the wall. However, as per NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander, Spicer told him that the tariff idea was just an example of a way to fund the wall, rather than an actual proposal. Spicer added, “the idea is to show that generating revenue for the wall is not as difficult as some might have suggested.”
The idea of taxing imports is an economically terrible idea. It sounds like a great way to gain leverage, but slapping a 20% tax on imports raises the price of imported goods, which only taxes American consumers. Mexico wouldn’t suffer at all. For example, Mexico is the second largest supplier of agricultural imports, such as fruits and vegetables, which would mean paying more for food.
This type of protectionism is nothing more than a sham and will end up costing Americans more money. It was tried by President Herbert Hoover in the 1920’s, and helped lead to the Great Depression.
In addition, imports also include capital flow. Investing in the United States is considered an import and can also be subject to a tariff if protectionism is embraced. Protectionism also gives American companies less incentive to produce quality products, since the competing products coming from overseas would become much more expensive due to the additional tax placed on it.
Tariffs do not benefit American workers. In fact, it hurts them. The way to help American business is to cut back paralyzing regulations, slashing taxes, and cutting government spending.
Making Mexico pay for the wall makes for a nice campaign idea, and it helps people understand the gravity of the problem of illegal immigration. But, in the end, it’s our border, and we can afford it. Let’s just build the wall ourselves and we will be much better off.Tags: Donald Trump Immigration