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[flagged] Shutdown Will Be Worse for Economy Than First Thought, White House Says (npr.org)
78 points by craftyguy 30 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 158 comments

It’s not about the wall being immoral. It’s about it being monumentally stupid and a waste of money. There are much better solutions.

Granted, the other way of thinking about it is that spending 5 billion on the wall is a lot less expensive than continuing the shutdown.

Negotiating with hostage takers never makes sense.

Honestly, in a real hostage takers situation, you negotiate and negotiate so much they lose the will to hold.

Here is an interesting book about it, https://www.amazon.com/Never-Split-Difference-Negotiating-De...

So your nugget of wisdom is actually bad advice in real world, wrong analogy when arguing about separation of powers and checks and balances.

Serious comment: I assume this advice holds when the hostage taker has no means of escape but perhaps is less applicable when their location is not known? In the latter case, negotiation is probably still a good option but for different reasons.

Capitulating would be a bad precedent.

I initially read that as “bad president”

Unfortunately that is the stance both sides are taking right now.

worked out for Obama in 2013.

Which is also the stated reason why Trump isn't negotiating with Democrats. Both Democrats and Republicans have the ability to end the shutdown, so both sides can accuse the other of hostage taking.

Of course, the real problem I see is that the whole budget needs to be renewed by Congress and the Executive, rather than just approving changes in the budget. Makes more sense to me that we vote on the delta. But I guess a lot about US politics doesn't make sense.

The difference is that Democrats and the GOP were on the verge of passing the CR until Trump changed his mind and refused to sign. In this case it is very clear that the GOP shoulders the blame for the shutdown.

Shouldn't Pelosi be considered the hostage taker by essentially denying funding for the single biggest promise to the electorate made during the 2016 election? It seems more like subversion by Pelosi.

The promise as I recall was that Mexico was paying. In any case the constitution is clear that spending originates from the House not the White House. Several continuing resolutions have passed and the President should sign one.

Why didn't they build it earlier when Republicans was in full control?

The US Senate needs 60 votes to pass this kind of legislation/funding, and Republicans didn't have 60 votes in the Senate because moderate Democrats were prevented from voting for it by minority leader Chuck Schumer.

The Senate doesn't 'need' 60 votes. Republicans have always had the nuclear option to fund the wall if they were really that desperate for a win. Not only that but I believe they could've used recounciliation in order to force funding, which they instead used for a tax cut on the wealthy and kneecapping the ACA.

This is purely a political play by Republicans and there is absolutely no other way to view it. They're hurting federal employees for the sake of funding a fraction of the wall, and their intent was to try and blame democrats. Again.

> moderate Democrats were prevented from voting for it by minority leader Chuck Schumer.

The US doesn't have the kind of political system where the Senate minorty leader can prevent members from voting for or against things.

The majority leader, sure, by just not bringing them to a vote, so no one will vote either way. The minority leader, well, he can ask members not to, just like anyone else inside or outside the Senate.

Your Senate works weirdly, why a 60% majority is needed for budget allocation? Do you have a link that explain that well (if possible non-partisan link)?

It's not correct. Only 50% is needed. But 60% is needed to break a filibuster (which used to be when a Senator literally just keeps talking until the bill is dead, but now is just procedural). The assumption is that in our current environment, there will always be a filibuster on a budget bill, so you need 60 votes to make sure you can break the filibuster.

Oh, this is why filibusters aren't done all the time. This is weird to allow that for a budget vote though, since budget is more about the executive part of the government than legislative.

Thank you.

60% of the vote is needed to end the debate on a subject.

If 41 Senators continue to debate, the vote will never hit the floor. The technique in modern times is to have 41 Senators endlessly debate ideas they don't like. This is called a Filibuster.

No, because the funding wasn't demanded until the 11th hour. Congress was on the verge of passing a clean CR with bipartisan support until Trump caved to conservative media pressure and suddenly refused to sign. He also took the blame for the shutdown on live TV.

Trump wasn't able to negotiate for the funding in the two years that his party has control, and now he's taken the government hostage for it.

"The electorate" did not choose Donald Trump or his promises.

The electorate chose the other candidate by a count of over 3 million.

The Electoral College and the electorate are two very different things.

The Electoral College is the electorate for the Presidency.

There is then no mandate that Speaker Pelosi take into account the demands of this synthetic "electorate."

She is doing her job as a representative by opposing the popularly opposed demands of the president.

IIRC money has already been offered to boosting border security and have been turned down explicitly in desire to a wall. This is an uncomfortable situation that my first impression is to see it as a hostage situation, but I try to avoid such extreme descriptions.

I'm struggling to find other, more neutral depictions of the situation, though.

And Republicans look at the same situation, and see Democrats standing in the way of one of 2016's biggest campaign promises.

Opposition to the wall is commendable, but I think we're* playing a hand that is substantially disadvantageous. Republicans generally think less government is better, so they're a lot better equipped to endure a shutdown than Democrats.

\* assuming you're also a Democrat.

And Republicans look at the same situation, and see Democrats standing in the way of one of 2016's biggest campaign promises.

Didn't the shut down happen before the democrats had any power? I'm very confused. (Not in a sarcastic, caustic way. I'm actually genuinely confused why it is the democrats fault if the shut down occured before they had any power to stop anything.)

(EDIT: I guess my policies align with more democrat??? views but I'm very much a voter on policies not party.)

It did start before they had power. It's completely a political play by the GOP. The Senate literally passed the same budget bill last session that has now come back to their desk, but they refuse to vote on it.

Yes, the Democrats could in theory stop this by allocating money for the wall, but much like giving your lunch money to the bully while he's beating you, it's not really a good idea.

That asterisk is more just to clairify that using "we" makes my comment imply that you're a Democrat. Which may or may not be the case, hence the asterisk acknowledging that.

Unlike the Democrats under Obama, the Republicans never had a cloture majority in the Senate.

The campaign promise was that Mexico would pay for it. Asking for the US to fund a wall is blocking one of the biggest campaign promises.

The boost was a weak compromise that doesn't reflect the desires of the right. Build a wall and it will still be up when a new president comes in. If Trump settled for the boost, he'd be making a very weak compromise.

Just because the dems offered something doesn't mean it was a good counter offer.

What are the desires of the right? Why do they desire a wall? Is it possible to make a compromise between the wall and the reasons why the wall is desired?

I think they want a permanent and reliable way to minimize illegal immigration. I doubt there's much room for compromise, as there's been nothing proposed which would have the efficacy of a wall without a lot of downsides.

Has there been a wall the size proposed that had efficacy as declared? I’m genuinely asking and not mocking. I’m uneducated about the effectiveness of walls.

Sure, the great wall was a much more logistically complex feat that had great success. It wasn't perfect by any means (nothing is) but it's rate of failure was very very low and it's successes were very valuable for China. Adding modern amenities (supplemental drone surveillance, satellite, electric monitoring, etc) and it's pretty clear the wall will be effective, the question is simply how effective.

There are other walls you can look up. I think the easiest proof that walls work is to ask - if they didn't why do people and countries continue to build them?

Actually I looked it up on r/AskHistorians where the veracity of the Great Wall was queried multiple times and ... in nuance, no, it wasn’t actually effective against nomadic invasion, which would be the sort of thing America is presumably threatened by. I know this is a very casual source, so if you have any other, harder sources for your claims please present them.

What's the evidence they presented to support the idea that it didn't stop nomadic invasions? The Mongolian were made of smallish tribes that rode around on horse. I can't imagine that being a force that easily circumvented the great wall.

I know the end of the wall wasn't a very secure area, but that's because obviously there's a lack of wall.

> What's the evidence they presented to support the idea that it didn't stop nomadic invasions?

Seems to me the most obvious evidence is the Yuan Dynasty.

Sure. Look to the Berlin Wall or the recently built Israel/PA wall.

Unfortunately, given that the cartels have tunneling down to a science, I wouldn't really call the wall "reliable".

Where's your source for that, keeping in mind overall volume and effecacy?

And don't most undocumented immigrants first enter legally and then just don't leave? I know several Irish immigrants who've done that (though I bet nobody would call them 'illegal", which is what leads me to suspect there's something else behind all this).

But, seriously, if you want to curb the problem, hit the people who hire them harder. Make it hurt. We can start with Nunes's family farm and Trump's properties. But, be prepared for the backlash when prices start increasing on everything...

Many, not most. Most visa overstays are from outside Latin America.

Even if that's true currently (and the statistics are fairly out of date, but it's pretty close to half and half either way), 2018 marked the seventh year in a row that overstays eclipsed illegal border crossings. It's also worth acknowledging that border crossings have been decreasing regularly.

I believe it's more a matter of perception of the Democrats refusing to compromise than it is about a wall. Sure, there are some Republicans that hold the wall as an important single issue, but the vast majority of single-issue voters that I know don't set their allegiances based on that particular one.

From where I sit, this is a matter of the Democrats preferring to put the brakes on everything rather than give on this one, individual issue. Further, I don't think that the majority of Democrat legislators are opposed to "the wall" at base - they're opposed to Trump and his policies in general.

It's a game of chicken, as others have said. Whichever side gives in cannot expect to get their way on anything for the next two years at the very least.

The lack of a wall attracts attempts to smuggle and makes it easier for gangs to sell migrants on their snuggling services.

A game of chicken, but with a wall.

We could have also spent 1.7 billion on other forms of security instead!

Senate Democrats asked for a report justifying the $5b after they had already passed a bill allocating $1.6b. What they got was an outdated report for the $1.6b.

There's no way $5b will be the end of it. We're talking about a wall along a 2000 mile long imaginary line. A wall dividing a literal continent.

I think the more important thing is to keep a single branch from using a shutdown as a tool to get their way. Government via hostage taking is not democratic.

Exactly. If the president vetoes everything unless he gets his way, then you might as well get rid of the other branches of government entirely and have him write/pass all the bills himself.

Otherwise known as a dictatorship.

Congress can override a Presidential veto.

And I'd love to see the Republicans in Congress do that in this instance. But I'm not holding my breath...

I actually think Government via hostage taking is fine. The Government won't be hurt in the end, it is a non-corporeal entity. The people who work for the government won't be fine.

What I think needs to happen is that the hostage takers have to be brought to justice or made to pay for utilizing such tactics. I think the hardest part is that the people have to remember this transgression at a personal level.

Does that apply to the shutdowns under Obama and Clinton?

Not just one branch, but one part of the branch: The Senate. The ball is literally in their court. McConnell already passed the bill. He voted for it. That he's not voting on it again is shameful.

Both branches of the government are holding the country hostage.

Only one person veto'd the continuing resolution this time around.

We know who to blame. If both sides walked away from the CR, then maybe you'd have a point. But only ONE side (of the three sides: House, Senate, and President) have walked away from the CR.

Shutdown also started when the House was controlled by Republicans. The shutdown was 10-days old before Pelosi took the gavel and Democrats entered the house. Former speaker Ryan didn't feel like fixing the issue on his way out, so he left it to the Democrats. McConnell, while he's gone into hiding recently, managed to pass a bill in late December which could have prevented the shutdown (so McConnell barely gets a passing grade. A C-, he did something to stop the shutdown at least. But McConnell should show some leadership and rally the Senate to stop the shutdown today, just as he did back in December)

I place the blame mostly on the President (for destroying the CR agreement McConnell passed), and somewhat on Mr. Ryan for walking away from the problem on the last 10 days of his Speakership.

I'm not sure about that logic. It's just a consequence of the order of operations. If the process went Sentate->President->House for approval, the House would be the only one to not approve a bill that included wall funding.

Good reason for that: Congress controls the purse. The House already passed legislation that all Senators in December passed, so most of the Senators still there voted in favor of the bill. Congress doesn't need the President's approval, either. They can override his veto. The Senate has the votes for that already based on votes for the same legislation already.

The Senate could take it up for a vote again, and pass the bill they already passed, but they won't, purely for political games.

They aren't the same bill (115th vs 116th).

There are five groups in play.

The 115th Senate, the 116th Senate, the 115th House, the 116th House, and finally the President (who didn't change).

The 115th Senate passed a CR. The 115th House failed to pass the CR. The 116th House passed a CR, that the 116th Senate is failing to pass.


In any case, the 115th Senate passed a CR with OVERWHELMING support: 71-Aye, 21 Nay, 8 not voting. That's both filibuster-proof AND veto-proof (if the bill were to come back). A huge portion of the country wants the CR to happen (ie: Keep government open while the debate happens).


Its hard to blame the 115th House (they didn't want to embarrass the President), or the 116th Senate (McConnell also doesn't want to embarrass the President). But it is clear that Trump's actions on the last week of December rallied the Republicans to support the wall more vigorously.

But those 71 Senators who voted "Aye" for the late 2018 December CR : where are they now? They heard the President, and have decided to change their minds on the issue.


Ask yourself: why is the Dec 2018 CR dead? Who killed it? How can a bill with 71 Aye votes in the Senate eventually die?

Republicans passed a CR while they had the house but it was filibustered by Democrats in the Senate. So TWO sides have walked away actually.

> Republicans passed a CR while they had the house but it was filibustered by Democrats in the Senate


The senate passed a CR on December 19th / 20th, which would have prevented the shutdown (at least until Feb 8). Period. The House failed to pass this CR.

The measure passed with 71 Ayes. That's filibuster proof (and Veto-proof to boot), with numerous Democrats and Republicans agreeing together. Your history is straight up wrong.

Nope. Check it out dawg. House passed it. Dem Senators scuttled it:


That's not a clean CR and you know it wasn't. IE: The House capitulated to Trump's demands for a wall. $5 Billion on the wall, which is why it passed the House.

The Senate bill I talked about before (with 71-votes for aye) was CLEAN, it was apolitical. It was simply keeping funding at the same levels as last year while the debate continued.

How so? The populace elected a Democrat majority to the House. They don't want the Wall. They are under zero obligation to fund it, and it is not hostage-taking to do so.

Mind going into a little more detail?

The house has passed a CR, last years senate has passed a CR. Mitch McConnell refuses to allow a vote on a CR until the president says he won't veto it.

To me this issue seems like a pretty straightforward case of one branch holding the country hostage.

I mean, if you count Mitch McConnell twice refusing to entertain spending bills that previously passed in the Senate, then yes, both branches are holding the government hostage.

And given that Mitch McConnell only has that ability by consent of the Senate. They could elect someone else in his place if they wanted to (Democrats might very well vote for a different Republican in such a case instead of voting party lines. it would only take a few Republicans siding with Democrats to replace Mitch).

This is exactly how the US federal government is designed to operate.

The reason that it's such a harmful thing right now is because the federal government employs far more people than it was designed to employ.

That would be more plausible if one side had not already claimed "credit" for the shut down.


I didn't know there were only two branches of the government

There are three branches. There are only two that are involved in passing budgets.

The National Border Patrol Council, a labor union with over 18,000 members and represents the US Border Patrol, fully endorses congress funding the border wall [1]. It's the solution that the people who are actually there, on the ground, are asking for.

And in terms of money, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 spent $831 billion since it was passed. The border patrol is asking for a pittance of that amount.

[1] https://bpunion.org/featured/why-congress-should-fund-trumps...

Previously it was against the wall. What happened?


Both you and that article are misleading and completely ignore the very next sentence where it calls them "essential". They were ultimately saying the real problem is immigration law.

Why do you think it will be a waste of money? What are the better solutions?

Walls are typically effective, hence their ubiquity. I have yet to see a counter proposal that would guarantee the long term security in implementation (read: something the next president can't just come in and yank out) that a wall provides.

I'm not a fan of the wall, but it seems to me to be more effective than what most people give it credit.

I've heard that most illegals arrested at the borders (airports too) or when detected are supposed to wait until judgment (hence cages last year i guess?), but the justice Dpt is so underfunded that it take a really long time to pass judgment, and people end up staying.

It was in a meetup around 2015, a French man who overstayed his visa to launch his company in Florida (something about autofilling paperwork for tutition and taxes). He got arrested 6 month before the launch date, still launched the product in time, then paid a lawyer to get away since his first visa was tied to an abusive company.

Why not giving those 5 Billion to accelerate those judgments, see what happens? I might be more effective.

And if you think a wall is effective, you should see how gibraltar handle border security, and ask them why they don't just build a wall. It may be less true now than when i visited northern morocco in my teens, but i have the feeling than people in charge of border security there might be puzzled by the idea.

Aren't most "illegal immigrants" crossing the border legally (such as entering as a tourist) and then just never leaving?

I don't have hard data, but I'm pretty sure that the answer is no. The majority are crossing in an unauthorized manner, rather than crossing in an authorized manner and then overstaying the terms of their entry.

> Walls are typically effective, hence their ubiquity.

What is this? The middle ages?

Drug Dealers are buying drones for $1000 to smuggle cocaine into our country by air. 1-kilo of Cocaine makes $20,000 once it crosses the boarder, they can certainly afford $1000 drones.

A concrete wall does literally nothing in the modern era. Spend it on radar, more men, and judges (judges to process all of those asylum seekers).

The European Union has a wall in Africa that seven layers thick, Israel has border walls, Berlin was divided by a wall up until the 1989. Walls are not relegated to the middle ages.

> Berlin was divided by a wall up until the 1989

Ah yes. And the Republican President of the time was well known for saying, "Mr. Gorbachev... BUILD UP THIS WALL!!"

You haven't picked exactly the best examples. In the USA, over 60% of our illegal immigrants are due to overstayed visas. The Wall does nothing for them. Another point: the #1 illegal immigrant in the USA is Canadians: a Mexian wall is on the wrong part of the country if you're most concerned about undocumented people.

The thing we need, and something I'd support, is proper enforcement of our laws. Like employers who hire undocumented workers should be better punished.

the #1 illegal immigrant in the USA is Canadians

I don't think this is true. Or maybe I'm misinterpreting you? The quick searches I just did suggest that about half the illegal immigrants living in America are from Mexico. Here's an example: http://www.pewhispanic.org/2018/11/27/u-s-unauthorized-immig... It says that there are about 11 million "unauthorized" immigrants living in the US: 5.5 million from Mexico, 2.5 million from Central and South America, and only 500,000 (combined but not distinguished) from Europe and Canada.

  the #1 illegal immigrant in the USA is Canadians
This is a flat lie.

>> is proper enforcement of our laws

11 million illegal/undocumented in the USA, what does enforcement even mean at this point?

If you punish the employers then the immigrants have to rely on the welfare system.

> If you punish the employers then the immigrants have to rely on the welfare system.

What? An undocumented immigrant by definition is missing their passport (or other papers). How exactly are they going to collect food-stamps, medicaid, or social security without documentation?

You CAN'T collect food stamps ("SNAP" program) without a social security number. IIRC, green-card holders can apply, but you have to have all your documents in order.

Its about the employers yo. They're a big piece of the puzzle. Undocumented people are generally allergic to going into government offices (they're worried about getting deported). In any case, the welfare system is generally closed to them.

At best: some undocumented migrants rely upon their children (who may have been born in the USA, and are therefore citizens) to get food stamps. But I wouldn't necessarily call the welfare system (SNAP, Social Security, or Medicaid) open to undocumented people.

As I said earlier: if you are serious about the problem, then you need to go after the employers.

Great points. One of the easiest solutions - Everify (https://www.e-verify.gov/) is voluntary. How is a system that is supposed to check eligibility voluntary? That's because employers and the Chamber of Commerce fought to keep it that way.

Also, it is true, contrary to a common myth, you cannot get food stamps if you are an undocumented immigrant. See this article for more on this - https://foodstampsnow.com/can-permanent-residents-and-non-ci....

It's very hard to use fraudulent SSN to get food stamps because all the welfare programs share information check their data against other state and government database. It's not worth the risk and most undocumented immigrants know this. It's one sure way to have ICE at your door.

Fraud (e.g. with a stolen SSN) is another option that's used in at least some cases. Probably nowhere near the majority of illegal immigrants are using fraudulent credentials, though.

It's quite common, to evade E-Verify. Mollie Tibbetts' killer used identity theft in this way, for one example.

It's not a wall, and it's not seven layer everywhere. A wall is shooting yourself in the foot, seven layer is just the entry point. If you never went to gibraltar, please, please don't propagate false claims. Multiple videos exist that explain how the EU border there work, you can easely check if someone lied to you, so please do.

I watched the vox video what's wrong with it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY_Yiu2U2Ts

This is actually a fairly accurate video (and it seems that it is worst than when i was there 15 years ago somehow, the ditch and the morrocan side fences are new). I don't like that some opinion were leaking through the depiction of facts (even if i have the same opinion) though, but i understand this is hard.

You can see this not a wall (because you can't see through walls obviously), and that this is not effective without border security agent. Do you know that even with a see-through fence and cncrete floor, people were still able to dig themselves in? They though about creating an artificial underground river alongside a the time (it is probably replaced by the ditch now).

They hired a team of engineer in the late 90s (or early 20s at least) to create a secure door system that won't force people from morocco who work there to wait unknown amount of time. If maquiladoras are still a thing, you might have to do the same.

I don't think a wall is a good idea, but maybe US should try it. Please be accurate though, if you want to have an efficient border "wall", it should never be a wall, but a fence, and you should actually have border agent monitoring the fence at all time.

Also thank you for the video, i'll binge watch this tonight.


> The bigger issues are illegal immigration and human trafficking.

The US has a negative net rate of illegal immigrants entering (or becoming illegal) and has for years, and, in any case the main avenue of illegal immigration is overstaying non-immigrant visas.

I don't see much evidence a wall is well-directed at the problem of human trafficking in the US, either, especially as most human trafficking in the US is sex trafficking of US citizens.

So you're upset that this solution doesn't go far enough? Well give it time. Build a wall first to treat the easy 40% of illegal immigration, then take care of overstays. Deal with border human trafficking, and then also deal with it internally.

Considering how much the dems are resisting an initial wall (or how much the right resisted the ACA) it should be obvious by now that you've gotta solve problems incrementally. The government was designed to be its own cock block. It's doing that well atm. So don't expect anything that comes out to be a 100% solution unless it's attempted for many years, incrementally building.

> So you're upset that this solution doesn't go far enough?

No, I'm upset that it's, viewed charitably, an expensive ineffective approach to dealing with a small, in many cases easily rerouted portion of any of the problems cited to justify it, with adverse impacts on property owners, communities, wildlife, and the environment along the border far out of proportion to its benefits even if it was free.

> Build a wall first to treat the easy 40% of illegal immigration,

If I wanted to deal with the easiest bit of illegal immigration, I'd do it for free, simply by retaining the aggregate limits on immigrant visa categories but removing the per-country cap do they qualified immigrants are treated equally irrespective of country of origin.

The incremental next step in reducing illegal immigration would actually generate revenue...

All you're doing is claiming the wall won't work as well as your solution. There's zero reason to believe what you're saying would be effective. Walls have worked for thousands of years...

> All you're doing is claiming the wall won't work as well as your solution

No, I'm claiming it won't work as well, costs more in direct public expenditures (free is hard to beat), and has greater adverse side effects than my method.

> There's zero reason to believe what you're saying would be effective.

There's zero reason to believe that removing the allocation rule that creates decade+ waits for legal immigration from a neighboring country with lots of people wanting to and legally qualified to immigrate would reduce illegal immigration? No, there's a lot more than zero reason to think that.

> Walls have worked for thousands of years...

The walls that have ever worked for even vaguely similar use cases weren't simple physical barriers but manned fortresses, usually where the “wall” was topped with an elevated fighting platform and roadway, often with two actual walls with the roadway/platform in between them, and the wall also featured periodic tower forts as components.

And even most of them didn't work all that well and were epic resource drains to build, maintain, and man.

> The bigger issues are illegal immigration and human trafficking

Illegal Immigration: 60%+ are visa overstays and the country with the most illegals in the USA is CANADA. The wall is on the wrong portion of the country if you actually cared about that.

Human Trafficking is done by professional Coyotes who know how to hide humans in vans... and have well-made forgery equipment to make fake-passports and fake-ids. Coyotes may have US Citizenship (!!) which is why they're valuable to the gangs on the boarder. In effect, you stop a Coyote by intelligence, not by a wall.

Coyotes pass through the wall's entrance, just like everyone else. They're just hiding people in their vans, with "good enough" fake documents that Border Patrol doesn't notice. A wall doesn't stop them at all. We can't close the boarder: there are legitimate reasons for US Citizens to cross into Mexico and back. Its just difficult to tell who are Coyotes and who aren't.


Its a very difficult problem, and I assure you that a wall doesn't help at all. You need MEN, people to inspect more cars that cross the boarder. You also need agents who specialize in tracking down Coyote rings (undercover operations), etc. etc.

A Coyote is being paid roughly $2000 to get one person into the country. $2000 can easily pay for a 10-foot ladder to get over the wall (but they won't: they'll just hide in plain sight with fake documents / fake passports. Its way easier)


If you wanna talk border security with me, then talk border security. Explain to me how $5 Billion on a wall stops a Coyote. Please.

Lemme tell you what doesn't help: with-holding the paycheck of all border patrol agents. That opens them up to "alternative" means of pay, if you get my drift. The Great Wall of China didn't stop the Mongols. The Mongols bribed their way through the gate. Withholding the pay of all border patrol agents sets us up for a similar situation.


By "The Mongols", I'm talking Genghis Khan.

Who not only bribed his way around the Wall (Specifically: the Jin portion of the Great Wall), he also used the wall as a paved highway to more effectively traverse China. It was quite ineffective vs Genghis Khan.

A wall is only effective if you station men there. The fence is holding the southern border in any case, they just need more men to handle the various issues that are coming up.

In any case, the wall doesn't stop drone deliveries of Cocaine, or submarine-based drug deals either. Modern technology means that $1000 or $2000 budgets can really get you around a stationary wall these days.

First of all, the problem as such does not exist: illegal border crossings are at there lowest in decades, and what remains is a stream of young, eager people as easily integrated into the economy as previous generations of (Irish/Italian/Jewish/etc) immigrants.

And even if, serious conservatives point at far better uses for the money, such as shoring up the system of immigration judges.

What price do you place on the lives of the victims?


Ah, but the question is, are you willing to stand up for that fact, at the total cost of the economy, as well as the individuals directly affected? There is a person with a literal veto who believes that the wall is a good thing, and who seems resistant to persuasion. How long are you willing to risk damaging the economy before you give in to that person?

At this point, it's not really about just how bad or good an idea it is. (And, of course, I agree with you that it's a monumentally bad idea.) It's about perception: how much suffering you can stand (and stand to watch), and how much you're willing to risk being perceived as causing that suffering by failing to knuckle under.

Also take into account the fact that this unpersuadable veto-holder seems to genuinely enjoy watching that suffering, and that his supporters appear to agree with him on that.

In terms of the facts, the choices seem fairly obvious. But our choices are often made primarily not on the facts at hand, but the fact that people disagree despite that.

Also, the $5B number that Trump is hung up on seems to be completely arbitrary. Every estimate — including by the White House — suggests that any border wall even close to serving its stated purpose would cost at least $20 billion, probably way more.

The plan is to build in increments, starting with the areas that see the most traffic.

Spend that money on increasing border patrol personnel, give them pay raises, ask American companies to make cheap drones and give them tax breaks, install motion based security systems. That $5B is going to get a 100 mile worth long wall which is not going to solve the "BIGGER" problem. Trump is a builder and he thinks like one. Sometimes concrete is not the solution.

It’s also gonna make it way harder for the gov to attract talent for a while.

Eh. Most government positions are really "big talent" kind of ordeal. Most are a stable way to make decent money with great benefits and retirement. The ones that are valuable will still get their talent I'm sure.

I, for one, am very glad to not be a government worker. Imagine getting a free month-long unpaid vacation, or worse, a month of work without pay!

Even worse, there's no known end date. You can't go traveling, visit your family or anything else you'd do on vacation because the shutdown _could_ end tomorrow and then you'd have to go back.

Does anyone have thoughts on the theory that after 30 days of shutdown, it's easier to remove otherwise protected employees? The source I saw doesn't seem particularly trustworthy (https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/01/omb_issues_guid...) but the argument seems plausible enough. The idea is that a fast-tracked "Reduction in Force" reorganization plan intended to permanently downsize the government could be backdated to the beginning of the shutdown, thus giving Trump considerable leverage over Congress. Is there anything to this argument?

The way I've been thinking about it is that shutdown a couple years ago was really a game of chicken where neither side thought it was actually going to happen.

This time around it's more of a siege tactic where the idea is to hunker down until one side feels enough pain that they will yield. It's really a case of which side's base can tolerate the pain longer without either flipping sides or losing faith in the leadership.

Plus it's Trump's power tactic at letting the Dems know he's the boss even now that they have the House. He has zero problem playing the bad guy to get what he wants and come out on top.

It's just as much Pelosi and Schumer playing politics. They don't want to give him any money, despite this being a fairly small request, because they know that if he can't deliver on his central campaign promise it will tear his base away from him and secure his 2020 defeat.

"We defeated him on the wall, we'll defeat him in 2020!" Yes, I have had the same thought for the last week or two. I'm no fan of Trump but I'm also no fan of Pelosi. These are ultra wealthy people playing games with each other at the expense of Americans.

Like I said, it's seige tactics on both sides. Which base is willing to starve for longer basically.

I have to agree. Trumps political career will consist of 4-8 years. He doesn't have any reason to care about anything but doing what he promised.

And like you say - it's really not a big ask. It's around .1% of the US spending last year.

Edit: Sigh. Downvoted for stating pretty obvious truths. 5 billion to the US govt is very little. Trump isn't a lifetime politician, he's just in it for a term or two. If anyone has a valid criticism of those two statements please write it down.

Correction: his base will blame Pelosi and Schumer for standing in the way of border security and vote in droves for Trump Term 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Election Boogaloo. I can't believe you missed that.

Well shucks.

>because they know that if he can't deliver on his central campaign promise it will tear his base away from him and secure his 2020 defeat.

This is not true.

Trump could capitulate on the wall and he wouldn't lose a single voter in his "MAGA" base. He's basically a personality cult.

Sure the conservative talking heads will rant and rave for a while, but by 2020 it will all be forgotten. All of his supporters will find internal justifications to support him again even if it's a simple as "never supporting a 'libtard'". (They would rally around Gorsuch/Kavanaugh, low taxes, et al...) Trump will blame democrats (ofc) and his base will see it that way. "He didn't surrender it's the 'DEEP STATE' that got him!"

Pelosi/Schumer base is not so cultish - They won't forgive nor forget. They have everything to lose.

> Trump could capitulate on the wall and he wouldn't lose a single voter in his "MAGA" base. He's basically a personality cult.

I disagree.

Trump is already on dangerous ground with his directing the recent bump stock ruling. Publicly failing on something as big as this in the public eye would be catastrophic to his campaign.

If the wall is immoral and ineffective, should the United States destruct the existing portions of the wall already built at the US-Mexican border?

I mean, I'd say yes, but you don't have to think so to not want to spend billions on more of it.

Watched this video from CBS News recently and it looks like portions of the wall in place are sticks with wire: https://youtu.be/5o4d6Wp3u2Q

What about the wall at the border by San Diego? That's a much better fortified structure, and if immoral and against the principles of the United States, wouldn't this portion be worth getting rid of?

The wall is symbolic. It is completely useless for the proclaimed purpose.

If walls are effective, why isn't the plan to build one around all of the US?

The reason is simple: walls aren't effective everywhere. The walls and fences that are up now? They weren't just randomly placed. They were put where they were to do the most good. Some have been more effective than others, but all together, the problem is no longer along the souther border.

As for the plan for the wall being immoral: it's not right to waste money on things that 1) don't have a real plan, and 2) we have solid evidence suggesting it won't be effective doing what we want it to do.

If you want to stop people from entering the US illegally and living here, you would do well to cut off their supply of jobs. This means going after organizations like the ones Trump runs that hire these people.

Not only will that be less expensive, it will be more effective, and have more of an immediate impact.

>If you want to stop people from entering the US illegally and living here, you would do well to cut off their supply of jobs.

However, if illegal aliens do not have jobs, then they will need to be on welfare, which would definitely mean more than there are already currently.

If the existing unsecured border was truly secure, then there would not be 22 million illegal aliens living in the United States, so obviously something has to change since the status quo is unsustainable.

Illegal immigration from Canada is not a major problem, especially since it's so hard to get into Canada, both from an asylum/immigration standpoint, but also geographically (surrounded by water).

What sort of "welfare" do you think unauthorized migrants have access to? Just curious.

"Citing an unnamed official."

This headline is misleading. It suggests that Trump administration officials are publicly reporting this, when the question of who is saying this cannot be confirmed.

Ugh what a mess. It's not just that we are lighting money on fire, it's also that the reason for all of it is so pointless. Those poor furloughed workers are having very real damage inflicted upon them. Damage that will take years to recover from if they ever do. It's cruel, its pointless, its stupid. At this point the shutdown has cost more than a wall ever would.

Then of course there's the more disturbing thought that if I were a Russian asset looking to sow chaos and economic instability in the country, a shutdown (and a trade war, and alienating our allies abroad) would do a pretty good job...

You might be saying the shutdown cost more than the money currently requested amount for the wall but I can't agree that it costs more than a wall ever would.

That is in fact what I meant. Apologies for the confusing wording.

>Damage that will take years to recover from if they ever do.

Can you please elaborate? From my limited knowledge, furloughed workers haven't got a paycheck (yet) for a one month. Is this kind of damage they will be recovering from for years?

Well something like 50% of the country (I don't have the actual stats in front of me but I recall its more than half) lives paycheck to paycheck and has no savings. I remember what that was like before I got lucky enough to find a career in software development. Back then $100 was at TON of money (honestly I still think of it that way but I digress) and missing a paycheck would have been a disaster. One time my car broke down in the desert for instance and I had to leave it there for months so I could save up enough money to get it towed and repaired. It was an unexpected expense of a few hundred dollars but I remember breaking down in tears about it because I knew how much of a blow to my bottom line it was. I nearly lost my job because I had no way to get there, I had to pay parking fines for my stranded vehicle, I had to borrow money with no real way of paying it back. It was an unmitigated disaster that took me a long time to recover from. My point being, a lot of people live their days on a financial tight rope and an unexpected expense like missing a paycheck starts a cycle of debt that gets harder and harder to recover from. These furloughed workers deserve better.

In the 2013 Shutdown, a number of government experiments (ie: Flu Experiments) were destroyed due to neglect from the shutdown. Which ended up having the worst Flu Vaccination success rate in the last 10 years or something (like a stupid low 30%).

Etc. etc. Government projects are stopped during shutdowns. It literally takes years to recover from a shutdown (another year or two before Flu Vaccination experiments were back up and running at full potential)

OK, I get that some projects will have to restart from scratch, but this is not like furloughed workers have "some real damage inflicted upon them".

It's just work, and their lives are more or less unaffected (with the exception of a single - so far - paycheck being delayed).

A lot of people live paycheck to paycheck. To them, a single lost paycheck can mean not paying rent on time or not eating.

Acting like this is not causing real damage is highly disingenuous.

Our lab has been collecting an ecological time series every January for 35 years. Continuity is critical for monitoring change and the health of the population (under hunting, so there's an economic incentive). Now we have a permanent, unfillable gap. There are many such examples.

I think your hugely underestimating the impact of a single paycheck. Some huge percentage of American's live paycheck to paycheck (78% according to career builder http://press.careerbuilder.com/2017-08-24-Living-Paycheck-to...).

Missing that paycheck means potentially missing rent (which could get you evicted), having to decide between keeping the lights on or buying food. The more paychecks people miss the worse this is going to get for some people.

Putin sure got his money's worth.

How are the shutdown’s effects on the economy being measured? Where did they come up with 0.1% loss every 2 weeks?

> The original estimate that the partial shutdown would subtract 0.1 percentage point from growth every two weeks has now been doubled to a 0.1 percentage point subtraction every week, according to an official who asked not to be named.

> The administration had initially counted just the impact from the 800,000 federal workers not receiving their paychecks. But they now believe the impact doubles, due to greater losses from private contractors also out of work and other government spending and functions that won't occur.


I presume extrapolation from a million of people not receiving paychecks. I assume it's not too different from how you normally estimate GDP.

I was curious too, and I found this paper discussing the effects of a 2.5 week shutdown in 2013: https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a589972.pdf

(8 pages, I haven't read it all yet, but does seem to have some insights).

Good question. As will all previous shutdowns, I have not noticed any impact whatsoever.

The impact at this point is mostly on government workers and the poor. I assume you're lucky enough not to be in one of those groups.

Most of the effects aren't immediate. The government does a lot of long term work, things that wouldn't otherwise be profitable. For example, with the shutdown, they've stopped inspecting our food supply. This will affect no one immediately. But in a few weeks, when we have our first e.coli outbreak, assuming we even hear about it (because that's something the CDC, another government org, tracks) then you can talk to those people about how it affected them, assuming they haven't died.

The government is currently missing their training and drills for hurricane preparedness. So in June-October, when a hurricane devastates some part of the US and everyone is screaming, "why aren't they helping people!?", the answer will be, "because they didn't get their training in January".

And right now NOAA isn't doing their climate research. So in 10 years, when there is a hole in the data that we need to fill out climate models, they won't be there. And no one will even remember why.

But no one thinks long term like that.

Using yourself as a measure of these things is a horrible idea. Most impact is long term and not immediate to our personal lives. These shenanigans are deteriorating people's faith in the government and the country. This will have incredible consequences. Society runs smoothly when people feel their government is taking care of things. When people have reason to doubt their government, it naturally instills a sense of panic and self-preservation which I would expect hurts the economy in many subtle ways.

I noticed the shutdown of last year. In particular, my advisor(I was a doctorate student at the time) was informed he won a significant award by the NSF with guaranteed funding and was unable to recieve it until two months or so after the shutdown. (As a side note we were also disrupted by the immigration ban, and were unable to bring on excellent scholars to pursue research at our facility.)

I'm no longer in research, but of my companions who are, this is definitely being felt.

Yep. NIH granting cycle is totally derailed & it's job interview season in academia.

There has been no guarantee of back pay for furloughed workers.

This is also the first shutdown where military servicemen have not been paid.

This federal employee has to choose whether or not to use her small amount of remaining insulin: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/federal-worker-forced-r...

Her blood sugar rose to a high level last week, but she said she felt forced to ignore it. Instead, she went to bed.

“When it gets that high you can go into diabetic ketoacidosis, you can go into a coma,” she said. “I can’t afford to go to the ER. I can’t afford anything. I just went to bed and hoped I’d wake up.”

I'm curious about what indicators in your personal life you'd use to judge the difference between a country-level 2.7 and 2.8% GDP growth rate for the year.

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