With his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare foundering in a divided Congress, so-called President Donald Trump’s so-called agenda is set to hit yet another road block. Democrats on Thursday introduced legislation to prohibit the use of federal funds for construction of a border wall, CBS reports.
While Republicans hold a majority, those elected on fiscally conservative platforms may have reason to defect on this issue for one key reason: a border wall is objectively a huge waste of taxpayer money. Take it away, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI):
“I am not in favor of the wall, but if there is a wall, then I do not want the United States of America to pay for the wall,” Rep. Moore told CBS. “My bill gives amazing opportunities, I think, to people like [GOP Rep.] Jim Jordan to opt out of building the wall.”
Ms. Moore’s delicately crafted “No Taxpayer Funding for the Wall Act,” is a torpedo aimed directly at the fissure between pro-Trump, tax-and-spend-on-anything-Trump-wants Republicans, and the spinally intact fiscal conservatives who, quite frankly, don’t want to spend money on anything but their own retirement.
It helps Democrats that Mr. Trump grossly underestimated (if not lied) about the cost of building such a yuuuuuge border wall. He said it would cost $8 billion. The Department of Homeland Security published an internal report estimating the cost at $21 billion. Talk about a miscalculation.
That $21 billion would be accomplishing mostly nothing, from an economic standpoint, since net illegal immigration has been at or near zero for about four years now. Meanwhile, it would divert valuable taxpayer money that could do plenty of other things:
- Build 12,351 lane miles of interstate, enough to build an entirely new freeway from coast to coast, according to low-end cost estimates from the Washington Department of Transportation.
- Build 512 brand-new high schools, per high-end estimates in this New Hampshire newspaper.
- Build a segment of high speed rail that would allow trains to travel between Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia at 220 mph. That’s one-fifth of the total estimated cost to bring all segments of Amtrak’s Northeast up to that speed, per the Federal Railroad Administration.
So far, over 36 Democrats have signed on to back the No Taxpayer Funding for the Wall Act. Democrats are also waiting on an explanation from Homeland Security as to how the Trump Administration plans to pay for the wall.
With a little bit of political fortitude and luck, those plans won’t spending include your money. Call your congressmen, particularly the Republican ones (if you’re unfortunate enough to have one).