America has been involved in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for two decades now. As a result, we have a wave of wounded veterans who need our help, which President* Trump apparently doesn’t want to help. Even though I still despise George W. Bush who was responsible for getting us into this long and misguided War on Terror, he’s done more to help veterans than Trump has.
Now Trump is demanding we build a wall with Mexico, a wall that he has promised they will pay for. This border barrier is almost logistically impossible, it’s impractical, and it will cost billions of dollars that will be wasted in order to pander to his anti-immigrant base.
Republicans constantly complained about wasteful spending while President Obama was in office. They voted against providing healthcare to all Americans, and they also voted against bills designed to help veterans complaining that they would cost too much. One of those voting against veterans’ bills was the Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions.
The money that is being wasted on this wall could be spent on programs for veterans, but it is more important for Trump and his Republican backers in Congress to erect a wall that will do little good.
Here are the numbers, via CNBC:
On Thursday, Senate leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, said Congress will follow through on Trump’s border wall order, and McConnell estimated it will cost $15 billion at most — he cited a range of $12 billion to $15 billion.
The U.S. border with Mexico is roughly 2,000 miles long and underlines four states, from California to Texas, more than half of it along the Colorado River and Rio Grande. It is a massive stretch of land — the Berlin Wall spanned just 96 miles comparatively, and it cost about $25 million to build in 1961, or around $200 million with inflation.
Building a wall to keep out illegal immigrants is not a novel plan. About 670 miles of fencing on the U.S.–Mexico border was completed in accordance with the Bush administration’s Secure Fence Act of 2006. That alone cost about $2.4 billion, for roughly one-third of the entire border and, according to migration experts, some of the easier and less costly areas to fence. (Source)
One of Trump’s first actions as president* was to freeze federal hiring which only hurts veterans and the VA system which is already struggling to take care of our men and women who have served. He also wants to expand the size of our military, but there has been little talk about doing anything for our veterans.
We don’t need a wall on the Mexican border, and we can’t hurt American farmers who export their crops to Mexico by slapping a tax on imports to pay for this disaster. A trade war with our southern neighbor and the rest of the world would be disastrous to our economy.
Let’s spend these billions of dollars not on a wall, but by rebuilding our infrastructure and putting veterans to work instead. We owe it to them, and to Americans as well.