So President Trump is going before the American people on television this evening to address the ongoing stalemate over his insistence on building a wall on the Mexican border (or maybe stronger, steel fencing?) and the government shutdown that is beginning to affect a wide array of government services and commerce.
What we need here and I doubt we will get are some serious facts and figures about the need for this costly barrier — he wants at least $5 billion. Hey it’s a government project. If it goes through it will surly cost way more.
Using legitimate information is not one of Trump’s strong suits. He just makes thing up on the fly.
My personal opinion is that it would likely be a waste of money. We have more trouble protecting ourselves from the danger within — mass shootings, robberies, murders, just plain violence — than we face from the slipping over the border of those looking for work and the inevitable lawbreakers and even terrorists within their ranks. And much of the illegal entry I read is by way of airports, and many non-citizens just overstay visas.
(Nearly the whole U.S./Mexico border is currently fenced, with some breaks where there are natural barriers.)
But if there is a true emergency and if the wall as is proposed is a good idea then the president ought to be able to make his case with facts and figures (documented) to prove it all.
I find it strange that congressional leaders and the administration have not been able to work out some type of compromise where they both can claim to have won the debate and move on.
We will see what we will see this evening.
The law or laws that allow or force a government shutdown need to be changed — I’m not talking about the Constitution itself. Congress has the constitutional duty and power to draw up a yearly budget and the president can approve it with his signature or veto it and send it back to the congress or just let it go into effect without his approval.
But law allows the congress and president to get around agreement by passing continuing resolutions to fund the government. That way neither side has to stick to a budget. So really the whole idea of a budget becomes meaningless. The sky is the limit. Think of how much wasteful spending could be prevented or how many of those endless and costly overseas military adventures be avoided if our government had to live within a budget. If there were a true emergency of course extra money would be appropriated, by way of a budget amendment I guess. But at least it would be part of a budget rather than something hidden in the arcane language of government budgeting and continuing resolutions, where it is made to look as if one amount spent, while it was far more.
Trump is toying with the idea of declaring a national emergency which he claims would give him the power unilaterally to build his wall. I’ve read some articles explaining that. Seems like he might squeak that by because the courts are reluctant to question executive judgment and the definition of “emergency” in the law is fuzzy.
Anyway, no one likes to stick to a budget (except wise and prudent people) I suppose. But I think it shows how irresponsible those who handle the people’s money are. They ought to have to stick to a budget and live with it. They’d make better decisions if they did.
The way to solve the yearly impasse would be to pass a law that said if the government is shut down no one gets paid, not the workers, not the lawmakers, not the president, not any officials, not anyone in the government.
Just withholding pay from congress would do it I am sure.
I think you will find that people who put themselves up to represent the interests of the public look out for number one first (and maybe that is as it should be).
I have a real life analogy or example: back in 1963 I was preparing to enter high school. I attended a school board meeting with my father who was a newspaper reporter. The issue before the board was whether to continue using the old multi-story main building of the school. It had some safety issues, old wiring and other things that were failing (I don’t recall details). The wise and prudent (sorry for that phrase again) and fiscally conservative board members judged that the old building was good for another year or so or more. But before they took their vote their attorney advised them that should something bad happen, should some injury occur, they, each individual board member, by law, could be held personally liable. They voted against using the old building.
Not an easy decision for sure. As I recall the board members faced a recall move by the local taxpayers’ association.
But the old building burned down before classes got under way for the fall session in a fire of mysterious origins.
We were in double sessions for the first two years while new classrooms were being constructed.
I’m not sure how useful that preceding anecdote was, I just wanted to make use of it.