Seattle Press
Community Log & News Digest
Trump Wall: Expensive, Useless, Badly Motivated
- Commentary
The Trump Immigrant Exclusion Wall is a long, expensive row to hoe, and it will bear either bitter fruit or none at all. DT estimated $10bn. to $15bn. during the campaign. NO ONE accepts that figure. The parts of the border now having no fence are the easiest terrain on which to build. Using a consensus estimate equal to the average of five analysts, that wall would cost about $22.9bn, or $12.7 million per mile.

Of course that’s only about $73 per capita for each person in the US population, so some will consider it cheap. But that’s not the only consideration.

Let’s suppose the estimates of undocumented population of about 11 million are correct and that half of that number are adults and that those adults work on average half time at the average state minimum wage of around $11.50 (the federal minimum wage is $7.25). Those 5.5 million workers would earn $65.7bn and contribute about $26bn in taxes, assuming the average tax:income ratio (including all local, state and federal taxes).

Using a common economic multiplier of 5.0, that would mean undocumented workers expand the US economy by about (5X65.7bn) or $300bn per year. Others have estimated different amounts, and we don't pretend to be well trained economists, but that seems like a lot to give up just so some benighted fools won’t have to hear Spanish in the lunch room.


Fortune wrote that About $7bn. has been spent building 653 miles of fencing now considered inadequate by the anti-foreign crowd. $7bn ÷ 653 = $10 million per mile or $19bn. for the whole 1,900 miles.

Business Insider has estimates ranging from $15bn to $25bn, averaging $20bn.

CNBC calculated: $16Mm per mile for the 1,300 miles now unfenced, but much of that fence would need replacement. Assuming replacement of 300 miles plus 1,300 new miles, the estimated cost would be $25.6bn.

MIT Technology Review stated: Components: Concrete $9bn; steel $4.6bn; labor $27 to $40bn. Taking the average labor estimate, the wall would cost (9+4.6+33.5=) $46.9bn.

CNN Money: Their estimate was very similar, may I repeat, very similar, to that of Business Insider.

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