Why Building a Wall Will Never Fix the Economy

One of my Facebook friends, who like me has had no use for the orange-dusted mushroom cloud, recently told me she was considering voting for him. Although she still thinks republican policies are bad for the economy, and she agrees the Trumpster Dumpster is a despicable jerk, she thinks that “something needs to be done about the horrible trade deals and our illegal immigration problem, and he’s the only one who’s talking about it.”

Yes, he’s talking about it. He wants to build a wall. Now let’s just think about this for five minutes. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Trump is telling the truth (which I doubt) and he somehow manages to actually build the wall. As far as I can tell, neither Mexico nor Congress has any plans to pony up the cash, but that’s okay. Trump is a billionaire, remember? Why can’t he just pay for the wall himself?

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So, we’ll assume for the moment that he actually does build the wall. Where does it stop? Wherever it is, that’s where people will go around it and sneak in if they want to. Oh, it’s not going to stop? It’s going to extend across the entire southern border of the U.S? With no breaks at all? Well, that’ll be lovely for all those coastal towns with beaches that rely on tourism. Sure, you can go to the beach, sit in the stand, and stare out over the ocean at that big, beautiful wall.

But that’s okay, we’ve stopped illegal immigration, right? Well, no, you could still go around that wall and come in on the eastern or western coast. Well, guess we’ll just have to wall off those, too. (Hey, we’ve got Mr. Moneybags paying for it, remember?) More tourist traps will go out of business, but that’s okay, the economy will be awesome now that we’ve stopped illegal immigration.

Except it won’t. Illegal immigration is just a symptom of the real problem—big businesses screwing anyone and everyone over to save a buck. Even if Cheeto Hitler managed to round up every single illegal immigrant and deport them, then keep them out, that would not fix our economy. Big businesses would just move their plants to other countries with cheaper labor.

Oh, but he’s going to solve that problem by putting a 25% tariff on goods imported from Mexico (where, ironically, a lot of our jobs have gone anyway). Fine, they’ll go to China. Slap a tariff on them too? Sure, why not. And also every other country with cheap labor due to a lack of pesky labor laws and human rights concerns. Then American companies will HAVE to bring our jobs back here, right?

Well, maybe, but we won’t be exporting much, because every country we slap with a tariff is going to do the same thing right back to us. So we’ll just be making really expensive products for domestic use.

And it still won’t solve the jobs problem. I lost my job in February. It wasn’t to an illegal immigrant. It was to an American citizen, a college intern who was willing to do my job for ten bucks an hour. How do we deport that problem?

We can’t. But we can stop giving massive tax breaks to big corporations, so they can “create jobs.” (Something politicians on both sides of the aisle have been guilty of on many occasions.) Sure, they create a few jobs—mostly low-paying, part-time ones with no benefits that no one can survive on. Meanwhile, the CEOs and executives line their pockets with the extra hundreds of millions they saved in taxes for creating a couple hundred jobs that cost the company six figures.

Not giving out huge charitable donations to big companies won’t fix the economy either, but it will at least save the taxpayers some money. And if Congress stopped wasting money on stupid shit, maybe they could use some of that dough for job creation.

 

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