Photograph by Gavin Stewart
Dear Mr. President,
Your Budget for 2018 has a lofty title – A New Foundation For American Greatness Fiscal Year 2018. I thought America was already pretty great, but I read on. There is a lot in it about not squandering our resources on the poor and disabled, and others whose occupations are students, artists, writers. You propose many spending cuts and outline lofty goals that include huge, new spending.
“This Budget, therefore, includes $639 billion for the Department of Defense—a $52 billion increase from the 2017 annualized continuing resolution level. This increase will be offset by targeted reductions elsewhere…”p.2
You are seriously proposing a $52 billion increase in defense spending, and in the same budget reducing our Nation’s citizens’ (I love how your capitalize Nation) access to health care, food stamps, education, the arts and humanities. I object to increased defense spending any time, and on this we will agree to disagree.
However, it is the money for the wall that really sets me off.
“The President’s Budget secures the borders of the United States by investing $2.6 billion in high-priority tactical infrastructure and border security technology, including funding to plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border as directed by the President’s January 25, 2017 EO. This investment would strengthen border security, helping stem the flow of people, drugs, and other illicit material illegally crossing the border.” p.18
Have you ever thought or read about the history of walls? Did they ever do what they were supposed to do, which was usually to keep out aggressors? Think of it – the ancient Mesopotamians built a wall. So did Hadrian. So did China. Theirs is now a tourist attraction. So are many castles and city walls, all breached at one time or another. Remember the Berlin Wall, built in your lifetime? The East Germans called it “The Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart.” Work began on it in 1961, and it was torn down by the people in 1989. Such a lofty name and it no longer exists.
Perhaps walls worked for a while and made people feel a little more secure, but in the end they were a colossal waste of money, time, resources, and effort.
Walls do not work. This is a historically accurate fact. This is not fake news. So why are you proposing that we spend $2.6 billion of taxpayer money on such a folly? I go to your very own budget where you talk about reducing improper payments government-wide. A wall along the Mexican border fits securely with my definition of “Improper Payments.”
“Reduce Improper Payments Government-Wide. For the past few years, improper payments have been rising, and the Budget helps fulfill the President’s promise to crack down on these improper Government payments. Even though the majority of Government payments are made properly, any waste of taxpayer money is unacceptable. The Budget prioritizes shrinking the amount of improper cash out the door. Specifically, by 2027 the Budget proposes to curtail Government-wide improper payments by half through actions to improve payment accuracy and tighten administrative controls.” p.12
There, you said it yourself, “any waste of taxpayer money is unacceptable.” A wall along the Mexican border is a “waste of taxpayer money” to use your own words.
Mr. President, step away from the “spend-money-on-the-wall” button. And don’t ever think about it again.