Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Modest Proposal: Of Prices and Price Tags

Per Shikha Dalmia at Reason:

Just a single-layer fence -- not a wall -- on the 1,300 miles of the open Southern border will cost upwards of $6 billion -- assuming, as per a CBO study, pedestrian fencing costs of $6.5 million per mile and vehicle fencing costs of $1.7 million per mile. A single Border Patrol agent costs about $171,400 annually. So tripling that force would add up to a whopping $7 billion or so more a year, according to the CBO. Annual maintenance costs would be hundreds of millions of dollars. In short, the total hit if cost projections don't balloon -- a big if, assuming that Trump won't use illegal Mexican workers and will use only American steel -- would be somewhere close to $15 billion upfront, give or take, of even a modest version of Trump's plan.

There's something to be said for the "price tag policy" adopted by Israeli settlers squatters in Palestine. The purpose of that policy is to  "exact a price from local Palestinians or from the Israeli security forces for any action taken against their settlement enterprise." This mostly takes the form of vandalism and property destruction.

Donald Trump allegedly has a net worth of $4.5 billion. Opponents of the border wall (who, don't forget, are being forced to pay for it) should consider that wealth forfeit.  That is, we should find ways to exact penalties, as close as possible to a dollar for dollar ratio with the cost of building and maintaining the wall, in the form of the destruction of Trump's fortune.

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