December 19, 2018

Border Wall Update

“President Donald Trump appeared Tuesday to back off his demand for $5 billion to build a border wall, signaling for the first time that he might be open to a deal that would avoid a partial government shutdown.” According to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, “the president would consider other options and the administration was looking at ways to find the money elsewhere.”
AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left thinks the wall is an unnecessary government expenditure, and that a shutdown would be a losing issue for Republicans.

“It is hard to justify spending another $5 billion on Trump's vision, at a time when the budget deficit is soaring and other critical needs make a more compelling case for tax dollars. Despite a boomlet of refugees from Central America, illegal immigration is down significantly from its peak more than a decade ago. The other problem is that, of all of the ways to spend more money on immigration enforcement, wall building will arguably yield the smallest bang for the buck.”
USA Today

“Frustrated that neither Mexico nor Congress will pay for his border wall, President Donald Trump has directed his Cabinet to scrounge through the executive branch couch cushions to see what they can come up with… It’s unclear how much money that could produce, and whether Trump could legally order it transferred between agencies without permission from Congress.”
Huffington Post

Regarding Sanders’ statement that the administration is “not asking American taxpayers” to fund the wall, many point out that “any existing funding that other agencies have in their coffers is taxpayer money… trying to claim the money isn’t coming from the American public is either misinformed or misleading.”
Washington Post

“Before Mr. Trump took office, Republicans were more trusted than Democrats on immigration, but nowit’s Democrats who are more trusted… in the [2018] Election Eve poll, 57 percent of white voters in swing districts said Mr. Trump’s words and deeds made them angry. The net gain that Republicans thought they could count on from whites disappeared, with 50 percent now agreeing that Mr. Trump and the Republicans were using toxic rhetoric to divide Americans…

“The new showdown over the $5 billion border wall is likely to further alienate Mr. Trump from a majority of Americans.”
New York Times

Some note that “the White Housecould… have quietly, rationally made concessions earlier in this ‘negotiating’ round to get some funding for the wall in the Department of Homeland Security’s $50-billion budget, congressional aides say. Instead, Trump staged a showy fight with incoming speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer that only galvanized opposition in Congress.”
Quartz

Regarding the Cadillac tax, “high-premium employer-based plans raise the cost of health care for everyone by encouraging the overconsumption of expensive services. This means that even Medicare and Medicaid face higher prices. Quite aside from its benefits for the health-care market, the Cadillac tax would also have the effect of expanding the tax base and making the tax code more efficient. It would raise revenues by about $15 billion a year… Rather than killing or delaying the Cadillac tax, Democrats should be trying to make it operational. The tax would raise revenue, lower costs, increase the efficiency of the tax code and give the Obamacare individual market its best chance at success.”
Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

From the Right

The right supports the border wall, but is divided about the efficacy of a shutdown.

From the Right

The right supports the border wall, but is divided about the efficacy of a shutdown.

According to the president of the National Border Patrol Council, “construction of a border wall [is] ahumanitarian measure to dissuade migrants from undertaking dangerous journeys to enter the United States… 80 percent of illegal immigrant women and girls are raped during their travel… a border wall would discourage human smuggling and trafficking operations run by Mexican criminal cartels.”
Breitbart

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) writes, “In 2000, the Department of Homeland Security built a wall in the Tucson, Arizona, sector. Over 15 years, border apprehensions from CBP dropped by 90 percent. In 2005, DHS built a wall in Yuma, Arizona. There, border apprehensions dropped 95 percent over nine years, according to CBP data…

"It will take more than just a physical barrier to solve the problem of illegal immigration once and for all. Butcoupled with more border patrol agents and enhanced technology, we can send the message that we are serious about securing our border.”
USA Today

“Nancy Pelosi calls the wall ‘immoral,’ even though walls already exist at various points along the border. Democrats, including Hillary Clinton when she was in the Senate, supported walls and backed expansion as part of a large immigration package… The only time Democrats seem concerned about excessive government expenditure is when national security is implicated.”
Daily Wire

“Support for President Trump’s border wall hit a record high… [It] just 33 percent in Quinnipiac’s polling in early 2017, as Mr. Trump took the reins of government after a long campaign of promising a border barrier. It reached 40 percent in April, as an earlier migrant caravan stormed the U.S., then dipped over the summer. But with new caravans sitting on the border again testing the U.S. boundary, support for the wall rose to 43 percent in the latest survey.”
Washington Times

Regarding Sanders’ announcement, some posit that “a shutdown over funding for the Wall never made much sense… so it’s not surprising the White House has begun to walk it back.”
National Review

Others, however, ask, “short of [a shutdown], what exactly will change in the next two years? A Democratic House will not approve wall funding, or any other of Trump’s priorities... If Trump wants the wall, it’s shutdown or bust.”
Conservative Review

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“The fans who avidly followed the men’s tournament certainly weren’t doing anything wrong. And it’s hard to argue that each of them had a moral obligation to be exactly as interested in women’s soccer. Even if we could stop them from watching the men more than the women, should we?…

“It’s tempting to answer that the fan choices aren’t innocent, they’re sexist. But since we can’t peek into their hearts, to say that definitively, we’d have to assume that men’s greater speed, strength and endurance definitely make nodifference to the sport’s quality. Fair enough, but then why do fans prefer to watch Megan Rapinoe play instead of the sedentary elderly who could presumably use some exercise? Alternatively, maybe pay should be equalized precisely because biology is unfair. But that seems to be an argument for curbing the pay of all top-level athletes, who have to hit the genetic lottery just to get on the field. It might be easier to focus on the distributions across society at large, rather than every individual industry, especially when fundamental biology is in play.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

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