Funding the Wall

On December 13, 2018, as we headed into a shutdown of the federal government apparently caused by Congress’s refusal to fund a border wall, President Trump issued the following Tweet:

I often stated, “One way or the other, Mexico is going to pay for the Wall.” This has never changed. Our new deal with Mexico (and Canada), the USMCA, is so much better than the old, very costly & anti-USA NAFTA deal, that just by the money we save, MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL!

Perhaps the President will pardon Spirited Reasoners for our inability to understand what appears to be a rather clear fallacy. For those Trump supporters who might not see the logical problem, I’ll restate it in simple terms:

If Mexico is paying for the wall, then why do we need money from Congress?

“Oh,” a Trump supporter might reply. “What Trump means is that the improved NAFTA deal has resulted in over $5 billion in savings to the U. S. treasury, so Mexico is, in fact, paying for the wall indirectly.”

Nice try. When Spirited Reasoners first heard candidate Trump’s pledge to get Mexico to pay for the wall, we, perhaps naively, assumed he meant that there would be an earmarked account into which Mexico would be paying those funds. That way, all Americans–especially the accountants among us– could watch the “wall construction fund” increase to the point where the dollar amount would be sufficient to cover the cost of the project.

What say? You mean a “wall construction fund” was never established–much less funded–by the Trump Administration?

Sounds like we taxpayers are being asked to foot the bill. Hence the need for Congressional approval.

As a possible workaround, the President has mentioned using his emergency powers as Commander in Chief to go forward with the wall, notwithstanding Congressional opposition. If that happens, you can expect lawsuits to be filed immediately. One argument in those lawsuits would run as follows:

“If this is really such an emergency, why has President Trump been treating it like a budget matter that requires Congressional approval? Why wasn’t this so-called emergency action completed in 2017, or 2018 at the latest?”

Maybe it’s not an emergency after all.

Oh. And one more thing. I would hazard a guess that approximately 100% of the Trump supporters who are so insistent on a wall are descendants of people who came to this country at a time when there was no physical barrier to prevent their arrival.