24 Aug 2017

Trump Still Says Mexico Will Pay for Wall, but Threatens Gov Shutdown if Congress Doesn’t Pay for It?

Trump’s Wall to Growth

We all remember candidate Trump’s repeated claim that he would build a huge wall between the United States and Mexico. Most see that nonsense for what it is – throwing empty promises at a base to try and get their votes, but Trump went even further and claimed he’d get Mexico to pay for it.

He’s backtracked on that promise since then, equivocating in a number of ways to say that maybe Mexico won’t pay for it at first, but will later (among other strange equivocations). Here’s a tweet where he said exactly that:

Trump tweet equivocating on Mexico not paying for the wall
For sake of speed – because that’s believable.

Up until recently, all this hot air has amounted to just garbage the media chews on, but President Trump recently took it to the next level in comments threatening to shut down the federal government (presumably through veto, or pressuring his party to somehow impede passing a debt ceiling increase) if they don’t give him a pile of money to pay for the wall… that Mexico was supposed to pay for.

Adding insult to injury, he even went after a member of his own party – Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, who is skeptical of the benefit of said wall. This, after making a similar threat earlier this year on the budget and failing to back it up with action after backlash from his own party and across the political landscape – the vast majority of us seeing the dangerous, completely pointless and easily avoidable effect a government has on the economy.

 

Silver Wall Linings – Enables Ability to Filibuster & Would Harm Trump’s Approval

One silver lining of Trump’s absurd stance on this is if he manages to get new wall spending into anything making its way through the US Senate, it means Democrats would be able to filibuster it.

Another silver lining is how much this nonsense is bound to hurt Trump’s already historically low approval ratings. Polls show 60% or more as being against the wall, to begin with, and added with the fact that polls – like a Politico poll from earlier this year showing only 17% could stomach a shutdown “if it helps them achieve their policy goals” – consistently show overwhelming opposition among voters to shutdowns, this could knock Trump a few more points down.

Ideally, he’ll take a hit for just the threat, and we won’t actually see it happen. Voters’ memories are notoriously short, but shutdowns in years past have been politically costly and economically harmful for no good reason. This also highlights the increasingly public feud between President Trump and the leadership of his own party in Congress; Speaker Ryan, but especially Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

 

Trump is His Own Worst Enemy & an Enemy to Our Economy

Ultimately, it’s just bizarre that we’re even talking about President Trump threatening a government shutdown over something he promised wouldn’t cost taxpayers a dime. He’s repeatedly embarrassed himself over this issue, and instead of backing down or stepping back to rethink his stance, he just lies about the funding and presses forward on an unpopular policy point.

His outlandish behavior isn’t just a threat to his approval numbers, but a direct threat to the economy as well. If he manages to follow through with funding the wall through import tariffs on Mexican goods (which would violate NAFTA), all that would accomplish is a rise in prices to those goods to consumers, a hit to profit margins to businesses selling them and Mexico responding with tariffs of their own.

It’s a lose-lose-lose situation. Nobody wins. All so Trump can keep throwing red meat to his ever-shrinking base of support.

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