Support the Center believes Democrats should dig in to resist what is Trump’s last minute stunt to extort a small piece of his proposed border wall, which has come at the expense of routine government services and the people who provide and consume them.
The US cannot run its appropriation process as a blackmail machine, whether that blackmail comes from Democrats or Republicans. That means Schumer’s shutdown in January (which lasted 3 days) was wrong, and the current shutdown, which Trump is causing, is wrong. The party that insists on a controversial measure and holds routine appropriations hostage, is the responsible party, and in the current situation, that is Trump.
Extortion at the expense of important services, such as the TSA, Homeland Security, National Parks, the IRS, cannot be allowed as a routine policy. The only way to prevent this distortion of the appropriations process, is to not allow the blackmail to succeed. Trump must be pushed back this time, or this tool will be used time and time again.
Extortion to prevent routine appropriations is wrong even when the cause is a good one. But in this case, Trump has chosen to sacrifice our public purpose for a stupid goal, a partial wall, not even a complete one. A rundown of the stupidity involved:
- The Senate, the House and Trump had a deal, a continuing resolution, which would have allowed debate on the isolated issue of “the wall” or border security as the Democrats prefer to frame the issue. Trump broke the deal, as he has done before, when conservative journalists, notably Ann Coulter, indicated he wouldn’t get her vote if he let the Government open. Since when is Ann Coulter allowed to blackmail a President? Well, a weak one like this one, concerned primarily with self-image, is evidently easily blackmailed.
- A $6 billion partial wall is a stupid expenditure, ill defined, and a waste of money.
- What would be built for $6 billion, and where? Trump has not defined this, and this is a glaring omission as the entire wall is estimated to cost $20 billion plus depending on the estimate, would take years to build, and may not even be feasible to build given land rights around the border. What and where would $6 billion build?
- And how does this fit with the rest of the wall? Is that the next demand?
- Even the entire wall, at $20 billion plus or more, depending on estimates, has many conceptual issues as a preventative structure. As a result, the President has wavered in how he describes it, because even he realizes that careful examination of what it would look like, how it would be constructed and where, are unsettled issues. If you are really concerned with physical border security, why not have experts define it, not a campaign slogan.
- This President doesn’t rely on experts to define the best methods to an end. We should not trust him with this Project even if we think it is a worthwhile idea.
- Fully 50% of the illegal entrants into the US, fly in and overstay their visas.
- The “wall” really is a substitute for an intelligent comprehensive debate on immigration. Support the Center believes in skills-based immigration such as Canada and Australia emphasize. This means letting in highly skilled people but also some less skilled, but hard working, workers either with a planned path to citizenship or as temporary workers with safeguards to prevent them from going illegal.It is possible Trump believes in skill based immigration as well, but as long as he keeps harping on degrading Mexicans as rapists to appeal to his base and our basest emotions, we cannot get to the real policy debate. Letting Trump have the wall will allow him and Democrats and Republicans avoid an intelligent, comprehensive debate about who we should allow to settle in America. It all can be done without lying, putting down non-white peoples, and unnecessarily dividing the country.
So, to conclude, rational citizens and politicians need to take a firm stand against disruption of routine appropriations that keep government going. And when the cause is a stupid one (as Trump proposes it – an unfinished, undefined $6 billion waste of taxpayer dollars to support a racist idea), Democrats need to dig in and completely deny Trump’s demands.