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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/26/16

Trump's Houdini Wall -- Adacadabra!

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Trump's Wall. Mexico will pay for it -- so help me. That's Donald Trump who has made building a wall between Mexico and the United States on our southern border a major cornerstone of his political campaign. In recent times he's hunkered and doubled down on this highly improbable and impractical venture by issuing an arrogant diktat to a foreign country that is America's third largest trading partner. With little attention to detail, Trump has drawn the ire and befuddled amusement of the Mexican government that privately sees the loud-mouthed Republican presidential candidate as unhinged, detached from reality, and uninformed.

Maybe all of this is true. I'm no head shrink. But I like to believe that I'm rooted in the boundaries of sane thought and not unmoored from the sea of reality nor given to a "mouth open words jump out" malady. Well, of course Donald will build a wall. After all, his wall must be the best wall ever built -- he knows how to build "things." People will love the "Trump Wonder Wall of the World." Yeah, and he's going to sell the Brooklyn Bridge to a bloke in Tulsa, Oklahoma named Omar. The man's a dealmaker and a wizard all wrapped up in one.

And dear ole Hillary? She does not have a clue! And she's not too well. Come again? Donald you are 70 years old, very, very fat with a bad hairdo. You're not the paradigm and picture of health yourself since the term "mild obesity" comes to mind every time I look at you. Trump has repeatedly said and insisted that he's going to build a "great, great wall" along the southern border and force Mexico to pay for it. He says that the wall will cost between $5 and $10 billion or more.

How will he pay for it?

First let me clear the air on who is NOT going to pay for it -- the United States taxpayer. Fact is that ANY United States president will have to get congressional approval for that kind of spending. So let's dispel the myth that a President Trump will simply decree or wave a magic wand and congress will fork over that sum of money. So, realizing that forcing and blackmailing Mexico to pay for his wall will be fraught with many complications what does Trump do? Create a lunatic policy that targets the most vulnerable Mexicans living in the United States.

For example, he'll confiscate money that poor Mexican migrants living in the United States send home until the Mexican government agrees to make a one-time payment of up to $10 billion (still not enough to build the wall)!. So Trump would punish innocent Mexicans and their children just to finance the building of his wall. But even with this plan the impact it would have on immigration and the sheer impracticality and impossibility of this project is mindboggling and reflects the utter ignorance of the Trump Campaign and its Harry Houdini economic policies.

Here are the facts. Mexico gets roughly $25 billion in annual remittances from its nationals living in the United States. That's about 2 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP)[1]. So that does not really dent the Mexican economy in any real way. So he darts off into another fantasy direction: raise tariffs and border-crossing fees. What he does not say is how he intends to implement this without the help of congress and what that would cost. Maybe he'll again lean on long dead Harry Houdini to do his magic thing. Of course, the fact that some of this will be illegal and will be challenged in United States courts -- I could see the ACLU just rearing to go after him -- figures in no way in Trump's coo-coo calculations.

Talk about detached from reality!

But I like President Obama's reaction to Trump's wall payment plan:

"The notion that we're doing to try to track every Western Union bit of money that's being sent to Mexico -- good luck with that. Then we've got the issue of the implications for the Mexican economy, which, in turn, if it's collapsing, actually sends more immigrants north because they can't find jobs back in Mexico." Smart guy! So taking a page from "my president" I've decided to explain why Trump's Mexican Wall is a figment of his narcissistic imagination and nothing else -- period.

It's easy to send money to Mexico or anywhere else in the world -- there's Paypal, ATMs and other means that do not rely on Western Union.

Okay. Trump thinks that Mexicans will line up and just throw gobs of US currency over his wall. Or they will all be using Western Union money transfers. Earth to Donald -- not going to happen. Ever heard of PayPal, Google Wallet, and Samsung's whatever? or just give a relative to carry it back? Or get someone to go to a bank in the US and do a wire transfer? Heck man, sending money to someone in a foreign country can be done from the comfort of my living room, with my trusty MacBook, an Internet connection, and a debit or credit card. Where have you been guy, sloshing the stuff in Trump Towers? So that remittance thing is a no go.

Pissing off the Mexican government will hurt US/Mexican relations and launch a trade war that will piss off U.S. businesses community and cause more trouble for a President Trump.

Donald Trump believes that Mexico will just sit idly by and genuflect to "His Bovineness." He'll be doing all the demanding and Mexico will do all the listening, and all the paying -- or else. But here's thing: Trump's quixotic plan to make Mexico pay for the wall by raising tariffs on Mexican goods is pretty stupid for a person who touts his business successes. In his towering arrogance he thinks that Mexico needs the U.S. market so badly that raising tariffs will instantly force the Mexican government to bend to his will.

Here's why that is so daft. Tariffs between states are not a one-way, I'm-the-boss activity. It cuts both ways. Here's the kind of money that we're talking about and the fact that Mexico is the United States third largest trading partner. For example, in 2015 the United States exported approximately $238 billion worth of goods and services -- mainly products -- to Mexico and imported (meaning "bought from," Donald) about $295 billion. So what's the point I'm making here?

Well, if an angered Mexico decided to join Trump's tit-for-tat tariff game by increasing its tariffs by just 10% that would come up to about $25 billion -- a windfall to Mexico and around the same amount that Mexicans in the United States remit to their country. Thing is that Mexico will get the remittances that Trump wants to stop BECAUSE of his idiotic plan not to mention an uncalled for trade spat that hurts everyone. And by the way, Mexico does not pay for the wall.

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MICHAEL DERK ROBERTS Small Business Consultant, Editor, and Social Media & Communications Expert, New York Over the past 20 years I've been a top SMALL BUSINESS CONSULTANT and POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST in Brooklyn, New York, running (more...)

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