The wall will get built — just in installments
President Trump will just have to build his wall on the installment plan.
Congress reached a tentative budget deal that will allocate just $1.375 billion for 58 miles of barriers between the US and Mexico.
The president wanted $5.7 billion for 200 miles of wall.
But Trump really doesn’t need the entire $5.7 billion this year. In fact, I doubt he’d be able to spend the whole $1.3 billion in this fiscal year, which ends in September.
Congress’ deal may, or may not, avert another troublesome government shutdown. That will depend on whether Trump signs the budget which, I think, he should.
Trump could also declare an emergency and find the money elsewhere. But that might create problems within his own party.
So, why bother picking fights?
There will undoubtedly be another budget battle next year. And that’s when Trump could demand a second installment for his wall.
And by fiscal 2020, which starts Oct. 1 of this year, Trump might be in a better position to negotiate. In fact, I think he will be.
By then, the investigation by [pecial counsel Robert Mueller will likely — I hope — be over. And from the looks of it, Mueller’s report (if there is one and it’s made public) won’t be the blockbuster that the Democrats had hoped.
On top of that, the Trump administration will be getting a new Attorney General in the next few days. And once William Barr is named to that post, it is likely that prosecution against members of US agencies, including the FBI, will proceed over dirty tricks played during the last presidential election.
In fact, if these probes implicate election-time wrongdoing among people within the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, Trump will have great leverage to get almost anything he wants.
Getting the remaining $4.4 billion for the wall won’t be a problem if things evolve in that way.
Put the amount of money needed for the wall in perspective. That $5.7 billion is the cost of one-quarter of one nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. That’s not a trifle, of course, but it is money that’s not going to break the bank — because the bank, as far as the US deficit is concerned — is already broken.
Wall Street is thrilled that another shutdown has apparently been averted. The first one, which lasted 35 days in December and January, hurt the economy badly.
And the business that wasn’t completed in the first quarter of 2019 might never be regained.
It is clear that Trump isn’t delighted with the pact reached in Congress. “I can’t say I’m happy. I can’t say I’m thrilled. It’s not doing the trick,” the president said, adding that he didn’t think there would be another shutdown.
Is Trump just giving up or does he have something devious up his sleeve? Maybe he understands, like I just explained, that the other $4.4 billion can wait a year.
Also remember this, Trump is a builder. And every builder knows that the full cost of any project isn’t always sewn up at the start.
Sometimes, it takes time to line up the money needed. So maybe Trump understands the concept of the installment plan.
The Treasury Department reported that our government’s indebtedness has risen to $22 trillion.
That’s a $1 trillion increase in just the last 11 months. As I’ve said, the Trump tax cut was not a good idea unless it made the economy zoom. And it hasn’t zoomed. Here’s what I suggest.
Take your children aside and apologize to them in advance for the fact that they will have a miserable life because of all that debt. At least they’ll know you feel sorry and will say nice things at your funeral.
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