Wall tweets! Wall news stories. Wall interviews. Who, oh who, will pay for that damn wall? Those who want the wall argue about how to pay for it. Those who don't want the wall argue that no one will pay for it.
But the answer is easy. Make the wall pay for itself.
President Trump has estimated the wall could cost $10 billion. A report from Bernstein Research says the wall will cost as much $25 billion. Fine, let's take the larger number. We are talking about a government project after all.
Where does one find $25 billion? To the average person that's some chunk of change. Especially when Mexico no tienen el dinero.
Take the money from the government feed trough, of course. But wait, I thought we wanted Mexico to pay for the wall? Why care if Mexico pays for the wall, as long as we don't? And we can even save some money in the process.
Make the wall pay for itself.
Anyone with half a brain in government should be able to come up with $25 billion. In the government scheme of things that's pocket change.
How much money does illegal immigration cost the U.S. each year? Those numbers are hard to find. FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform estimated the cost of illegal immigration in 2013 at $113 billion. $84 billion from state and local governments, $29 billion from the federal government. Tax receipts from those illegal immigrants were approximated at $13 billion. That's a net illegal immigration cost of $100 billion a year.
We've got some numbers to play with. Say the cost of the wall doubles to $50 billion. And let's even assume the costs of illegal immigration are over estimated. Cut that in half to $50 billion. $50 billion, or enough to build the wall. And that's just from one year of savings.
Now all we need to do is cut off the all assistance and benefits to those illegal immigrants. Nothing. Zip. Nada. If you're not here legally, you get no benefits. The $50 billion to 100 billion per year in savings would pay for the wall in no time. There would even be money left over. And with benefits cut off, there is no financial reason for those who received those benefits to stay. Or to come here in the first place. Some of them would probably leave. There would be less need for a wall if we take away the freebees as an incentive to come over, around or under the wall.
Cut off the benefits. Let the wall pay for itself.
Michael Banon is contributor to the Liberty Features Syndicate.