By Justin Gardner
Of the many startling actions taken by President Trump since his Jan. 20 inauguration, actually ordering The Wall surprised those who thought his more absurd ideas would be tempered after taking office. But Trump’s trademark grandiosity might not stand up to the reality of things such as the economy and international relations.
When team Trump floated a 20 percent tax on imported Mexican goods to pay for the wall, it was instantly panned by economists and sensible politicians from across the spectrum. That tax, by tariff or other means, would undoubtedly make its way to American wallets and bring the potential for trade wars.
When Trump demanded Mexico pay for the wall, he managed to sour relations with our southern neighbor in his first week of office, resulting in the cancellation of a planned first meeting with Mexican President Enrique Nieto. During the election campaign, Trump even suggested the insidious idea of taking control of Western Union and PayPal to siphon money from Mexicans sending it back home.
Besides the question of how to pay for a $15 billion, 1,000-mile wall along the entire US-Mexico border – and its implications for an Orwellian security state – a physical wall is simply not a realistic way of dealing with the problem of illegal immigration. People will adapt and U.S. agencies will remain corrupt.
As usual, Ron Paul provides penetrating wisdom on truly effective ways to deal with the situation, while providing a financial benefit and removing a giant injustice being perpetrated by the U.S. government.
End the war on drugs.
From the Ron Paul Institute:
“Likewise, the 40 year war on drugs has produced no benefit to the American people at a great cost. It is estimated that since President Nixon declared a war on drugs, the US has spent more than a trillion dollars to fight what is a losing battle. That is because just as with the welfare magnet, there is an enormous incentive to smuggle drugs into the United States.
We already know the effect that ending the war on drugs has on illegal smuggling: as more and more US states decriminalize marijuana for medical and recreational uses, marijuana smuggling from Mexico to the US has dropped by 50 percent from 2010.”
This view is backed by data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission. In fiscal year 2015, illegal immigrants were responsible for 75 percent of federal drug possession charges.
Amusingly, both Sean Hannity and PolitiFact confirmed this. Data show that the ‘illegal alien” category accounted for “1,640 of 2,181 total convictions (75 percent) in which the primary charge was simple drug possession.”
This statistic is being repeated in the Trump echo chamber, including Hannity on Fox News. While correct to point out the data, Hannity is only interested in being a political hack, not promoting real solutions to illegal immigration like ending the war on drugs.
Ron Paul points out some of the fallacies of a wall.
First, the wall will not work. Texas already started building a border fence about ten years ago. It divided people from their own property across the border, it deprived people of their land through the use of eminent domain, and in the end the problem of drug and human smuggling was not solved.
Second, the wall will be expensive. The wall is estimated to cost between 12 and 15 billion dollars. You can bet it will be more than that. President Trump has claimed that if the Mexican government doesn’t pay for it, he will impose a 20 percent duty on products imported from Mexico. Who will pay this tax? Ultimately, the American consumer, as the additional costs will be passed on. This will of course hurt the poorest Americans the most.”
Paul also points out the burden of free medical benefits, food assistance, and education given to illegal immigrants which amounts to about $100 billion a year. Granted, many of them are part of the workforce in sectors such as agriculture, but not paying taxes and sending money back to Mexico creates a significant imbalance.
There is also the financial burden of federal agencies dealing with illegal immigration, from Dept. of Homeland Security to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Instead of the financial drain of building a wall, federal government should end the drug war – which obviously does not reduce demand or supply – and allow the economy to thrive from a free market. Colorado is demonstrating how legalizing cannabis can bring a massive economic boost. The legal market also brings reputable providers to the table who deliver safe, quality products. And, contrary to drug war propagandists, teen cannabis use is actually declining.
The only benefit from the war on drugs is to the police state, the prison industry and the pharma industry. The DEA knows cannabis has medical benefits, but it’s their cash cow – as the former “chief propagandist” put it recently. Why else would DEA keep cannabis a Schedule 1 drug in the face of overwhelming evidence of its medicinal benefits?
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