Throughout his campaign for president, Donald Trump repeatedly emphasized his promise to build a big, beautiful, technologically advanced wall on the border between the United States and Mexico. Not only did he promise to build it, he promised that Mexico would pay for it . . . 100% . . . from day one.
Budget experts have been skeptical about the “Mexico will pay for it” part, and Mexico’s leaders made it abundantly clear that they had no intention of coughing up a single peso to pay for the wall. Still, as recently as a few days before being sworn in, Trump was emphatic that Mexico would pay for the project, although he was beginning to display a bit of softness concerning the particulars.
Well now we know the particulars.
Mexico will indeed pay for the wall. But only after America gives them the money to do so via a 20% tax on goods purchased from Mexico by American consumers. Congress has been considering some sort of border tax, and Trump is calling this idea an “import tax”–we usually call that a tariff–but the net result is the same; a tax on American consumers purchasing goods and services from our southern neighbor.
Trump’s cave on his wall promise took place in stages:
- Earlier this month, Trump asked Congress to pass legislation financing the project–the House and Senate are preparing legislation to do so–with a promise that Mexico will “reimburse” the money.
- Trump informed Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto that a planned meeting between to two leaders should be cancelled if Nieto continued to refuse to pay for the wall. Nieto refused.
- Trump subsequently cancelled the meeting. After blaming Nieto for the cancellation, Trump informed the media that he would now “go a different route” because Nieto gave him “no choice.”
- Following the diplomatic disaster, the administration announced the 20% tax solution to financing.
Illegal immigration and border security are serious U.S. concerns that went unaddressed under Obama, and efforts to fix the problem need to be acted on. But Trump’s campaign promise was nothing but hyperbole, meant to prey on the frustrations and fears of the American voter in order to win the election. It worked.
And now that the border wall piper needs to be paid, it’s the American consumer who will be writing the check.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative, your source for opinion that’s politically incorrect and always “right.” His articles can also be found on RedState.com.
His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.