The federal government desperately needs to diet. Much of our spending is constitutionally dubious and it is immoral to pass our national debt, now exceeding $21 trillion, to our yet unborn children. We need to return to constitutional limits to govern the distribution of our taxes.
The one exception to the diet argument is national security. Without a physical barrier that works, we cannot remain a country. History has demonstrated our southern border to be too porous and that only a physical barrier will work.
"Kicking the can down the road" on border national security, as both major political parties have done for decades, only exacerbates the problem. Our national security now demands a wall.
We've had 20 government "shutdowns" since 1977, according to the Congressional Research Service. Most Americans never knew when we were in one. In fact, "shutdowns" may be a good thing if they reduce the national debt, make expenditures more constitutionally based, or strengthen national security.
Democrat opposition to a southern border wall (they advocate for open borders) has been the principal reason for the last two "shutdowns." Open borders are the "real" reason for their opposition, but they know this will not sell with most Americans. The other two reasons are that a wall won't work and it costs too much.
But walls do work. Look at any penitentiary. Many of those pushing the ineffective argument, hypocritically, live in gated communities. If walls (gates) did not work, they would not live there. China's Great Wall successfully kept "barbarians" out for centuries, and they built it with human labor -- no earthmoving equipment -- and over impossible terrain.
Today's 143-mile steel border fence in southern Israel has stemmed the flow of illegal immigration by 99 percent, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (The Jerusalem Report, Herb Keinon, Jan. 2, 2013). It "stopped the flood of African migrants into the country," ending "Sinai terror." At one time 2,300 people crossed each month but, after the fence, it dropped to 18, a 99 percent cut. Israel will be building other walls. The wall, begun in November 2010 and finishing December 2012, changed everything.
Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted, "President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel's southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea."
Democrats argue that the wall costs too much but in the requested 2018 budget of $4.094 trillion, certainly five billion is but a drop in the bucket. Spending beyond our means has never been a deterrent for Democrats. In the 10-year Farm Bill of 2014, they gave $3.3 billion alone for a cotton income protection plan. Other gift-giving in that nearly trillion dollar bill, considered pork by critics, included "$2 million for sheep production and marketing, $10 million for Christmas tree promotion, $170 for catfish oversight, $119 million for peanut crop insurance, $100 million for organic food research, $150 million to promote farmers markets, $12 million for a 'wool research and promotion' program, and $100 million to promote the maple syrup industry." Ironically the 949-page bill spends about $1 billion dollars per page ($956 Billion Farm Bill Loaded with Pork, Your World Cavuto).
We could easily fund the wall by ending the funding (ice cream cones) we presently give to the illegals after they illegally cross our borders, but the Democrats would never agree to this because they are presently purchasing future party affiliates. The non-partisan Center for Immigration Studies recently found that "63 percent of non-citizen households access welfare programs compared to 35 percent of native households," costing taxpayers an average of $73,000 per immigrant over his lifetime. In addition, they found, "compared to native households, non-citizen households have much higher use of food programs (45 percent vs. 21 percent for natives) and Medicaid (50 percent vs. 23 percent for natives)." Plus illegals get cash. "Including the EITC, 31 percent of non-citizen-headed households receive cash welfare, compared to 19 percent of native households." If these funds were instead used to finance a wall, such would be easily funded.
As far as the cost of the wall is concerned, a study released in September 2017 by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) revealed that, "At the federal, state, and local levels, taxpayers shell our approximately $134.9 billion to cover the costs incurred by the presence of more than 12.5 million illegal aliens and about 4.2 million citizen children of illegal aliens." This, the report says, is a nearly $3 billion increase in the cost since 2013. It is also rather more than the single payment of $25 billion that it will cost to build a wall -- five and a half times more, and every year." Consequently, "each illegal alien costs nearly $70,000 during his or her lifetime.
Both studies show that funds presently given those who cross our border illegally could easily pay the $25 billion total cost of building the wall or five billion per year for five years for the same -- this, without raising a single penny from any new tax monies from our citizens.
Looks like we need the wall for both national and domestic security. To get this, apparently, we have to have the democratically imposed partial government shutdown. Let us keep the partial shutdown in place until we get a commitment from both parties for the whole $25 billion needed or legislation to redirect the funding of those here illegally to the wall.
Harold W. Pease, Ph.D., is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He taught history and political science from this perspective for more than 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.Editorial on 01/02/2019
Print Headline: 'Shutdown' necessary for national security