Promises, Promises

promisesIt’s been estimated that the cost to completely deport an immigrant living illegally in the U.S. is about $40,000 per person. There are the costs to fund the enforcement teams who are needed to smoke out the infiltrators and run them through the due process of the courts. Some may say “due process” is for pussies, but it’s hard to imagine that people would be denied a chance to prove they are legally in the States. As such, many people rounded up will be entitled to taxpayer-funded legal counsel, adding to the cost. And of course, once someone has been adjudicated an illegal, there are the costs of transportation back to wherever the person came from (if that can be ascertained, and the country of origination agrees to accept.) Presumably if the deported person leaves behind children who are citizens, those children would become wards of the state.

Trump boasted on the campaign trail that he would kick out all 11+ million illegals, but as is his habit he modified the goal down to just the 2-3 million who are supposedly criminals. (It’s interesting to note that many of the illegal immigrants who have committed crimes are sitting in American prisons, and cannot be deported before their sentences are completed.)

Deporting 2-3 million people at $40,000 a head would cost conservatively $80-$120 billion to execute. And that’s why Trump won’t get it done.

Building a brick and mortar wall 1,989 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean along lightly populated areas over rough terrain and through private property is a heavy lift. In order to prevent breaches over and under it, the wall must be high as well as deep. It must be patrolled by an army of border guards equipped with high-tech devices, including those that can detect tiny drones from flying over the wall with ropes or contraband. Inspections at the few openings in the wall must be vigilant (and lengthy) to achieve the stated goal of keeping out the Mexican rapists and drug smugglers. Ironically, the logistics of transporting the materials and concrete to build the wall would favor Mexican companies who would reap a windfall over their American competitors from its construction.

And as it’s impossible to build the wall right atop the U.S.-Mexican border, it must necessarily traverse land well inside U.S. territory, essentially cutting off hundreds of square miles of public and private lands from access (at least from the American side.) And although I doubt any proponent of the wall cares, it would cut across animals’ migratory paths and become a place where garbage piles up against after every heavy.

And for all this trouble, the cost to build the “beautiful” wall is estimated to be $25 billion – which really means $50-75 billion in government-ese. And that’s why Trump won’t get it done.

All throughout the campaign, Trump derided the Affordable Care Act as a disaster, and, parroting an oft-stated Republican fantasy, said he would repeal and replace the law. Replace it with what? “Something great!” After several dozen votes in Congress to repeal the ACA where the timid opposition was able to express outrage without actually having to consider the consequences – given Obama’s insurmountable veto – Trump has the ability to shitcan the law. Reps own Congress, so no excuses for failing to repeal and replace.

Since becoming president-erect, Trump has backed off talk of “disaster.” He actually likes some stuff after all, specifically allowing children up to 26 years old to stay on their parents’ policies, and banning insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Of course, he’s also opposed to the mandate for many people to buy insurance or pay a penalty. The problem is that it’s financially impossible to preserve the pre-existing condition ban without the mandate/penalty feature.

Trump’s vision would crater the insurance industry; Congress’s vision would cause several million people to lose coverage – most, I assume, sick people in poorer, rural areas who thought Trump would solve their problems, not fuck them up.

These are the stark choices of truly repealing ACA. And that’s why Trump won’t get it done.

Trump is considering a roster of ossified career politicians and Washington insider cronies for key admin and cabinet positions. Most assuredly in line for influential positions include Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton (former ambassador to the UN), Jeff Sessions (long time Senator), Jamie Dimon (JP Morgan chief), Sarah Palin, Bob Corker (Senator from Tennessee), Sam Brownback (failed Governor of Kansas), and (maybe) Chris Christie. This cast of characters has hovered inside and around the fringes of Republican politics for centuries.

And let’s not forget Trump’s rank nepotism of putting his children on the transition team and using them as “informal” advisors – while they also run the Trump businesses. That’s a looming malodorous miasma.

Trump said he’d “drain the swamp” but his team is the swamp. And that’s why Trump won’t get it done.

Okay, so Trump won’t accomplish much of what he promised. What will America get, then? I predict we’ll see a return to the old tried-n-true agenda when Republicans own the whole show: tax cuts for wealthy people, ballooning deficits, cuts in regulations meant to protect the lower classes, cozy deals for big business (certainly no abrogated trade treaties), poorly conceived costly military adventures, ridicule of climate change, attempted gutting of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, installing more voting restrictions, continued gerrymandering, and interfering with gay peoples’ lives.

Y’know, stuff that large swathes of Trump’s supporters really couldn’t care less about. They foolishly thought they’d get their old jobs back in the coal mines and steel mills, but as Marco Rubio once said, Trump is “a con artist.” And although he voted for the “con artist,” Little Marco had it right.

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