Thursday, March 03, 2016

Affording the Wall: There is a way Donald Trump can make Mexico pay for the wall and there’s nothing the Mexican government can do to stop him

By C. David Pugh

03 March 2016 (Raleigh) – After winning seven of the eleven Super Tuesday Primaries, Donald Trump (R-New York) is the pre-eminent favorite to win the Republican Party Primary battle and become the party’s nominee for President in the fall.

This is not news.

The always controversial Mr. Trump has based a good bit of his appeal on his approach to immigration which can be summed up in seven words: build a wall on the Mexican border. Moreover, he also said he’ll “make them [The Mexican Government] pay for it”.

Naturally, the Mexican Government scoffed at the idea. As recently as Thursday March 3rd, the Mexican Finance Minister, Luis Videgaray rejected the proposal,stating:

"Under no circumstance will Mexico pay for the wall that Mr. Trump is proposing," he said. "Building a wall between Mexico and the United States is a terrible idea. It is an idea based on ignorance and has no foundation in the reality of North American integration."

Too bad for Mr. Videgaray. Should Mr. Trump become president, he can, with a little help from a Republican controlled Congress, pay for it with cash left over. How? Simply, tax remittances from Mexican nationals working in the US which are sent to Mexico.

The Dirty Little Secret in Mexico / American relations is that Mexican immigrants send billions of dollars a year to relatives south of the border. In 2013, the latest figures available, it was estimated that some $22 Billion USD went to Mexico. Taxing remittances at a 50% tax rate would yield something like $11 billion USD.

And $11 billion will buy an awful lot of fencing.

But a significant tax on remittance would do something else: disincentify those who come here to work just so they can send money back home. If half of what they send ends up in Federal coffers instead of loved ones hands, they may not come here in the first place.

To point out how just important $22 billion is to the Mexican economy, consider this fact: PEMEX, Mexico’s state owned petroleum monopoly generates a tick less than $70 billion in tax revenues to the government. About 30% of the Mexican budget is funding by PEMEX. Doing the math finds that remittances constitute something like 10% of that number.
Imagine if American nationals sent the equivalent of 10% of the US Federal budget back to the states every year. For 2016, that figure would be $352.5 Billion USD.

The ripple effects of such a move would be immense. For example, it’s axiomatic when they leave, the US labor pool will shrink and wages will need to rise. That’s an iron clad law of economics.

So I’m sure those industries and employers who pay these people are right to be horrified that the Federal Government will actually incentify these people to go home. And the Mexican Government is right to be horrified that Mr. Trump wants to build a wall with money used to mollify their impoverished citizenry. I’m sure they don’t want unemployed millions to return home with time on their hands (and perhaps revolution in their hearts).

The Progressive Left needs a permanent underclass as constituents, both as the foundation of their powerbase and the underpinning of the sense of moral superiority. The Rockefeller Republican class needs cheap labor to mow their lawns and clean their houses. Everybody else that works – or who wants to work again – see Mr. Trump’s Wall for what it is: a mechanism to shrink the workforce and raise wages. And if he can build it with Mexican money, so much the better.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Egypt and The Prezzy

Staring at the wreckage of American foreign policy in Egypt is an almost gleeful experience. The Muslim Brotherhood was nothing more than a politically correct gang of thugs which secured a politically correct patron in Pres. Barack Obama.

I’m sure I view this differently than the vast, unwashed monkey mass that Rush Limbaugh affectionately refers to as the “low information voter”. I’ve worked for both Israelis and Palestinians and probably view both through jaundiced eye since 9/11. Seeing things as they are means more to me than being polite to people who view the world through the distorting lens of television and blow dried universe it presents.

I wrote this in 2002, mostly in an attempt to straighten out my own feelings about the catastrophe that happened on that sunny morn in September:

July 5th [2002] -- … I was actually talking to my boss on the phone when the first plane hit. He was stuck in traffic on the George Washington Bridge when I told him about a commercial jet colliding with the WTC. He said he could see the smoke. I went into historical Dave mode, explaining that this wasn't the first time a plane had hit a tall building in New York City; the first time it happened, a B-24 hit the Empire State on the 72nd floor in 1947. My boss, an Israeli, was impressed with my knowledge, but didn't think it was an accident. He said to me: "what to do want to bet the pilot was named Mohammed?"

Then, the second plane hit.

At the time, I standing in my living room watching CNBC and waiting for a limo that was supposed to take me to La Guardia for a flight to Toronto to meet with a company whose name I no longer remember. Needless to say, I didn’t make it.

In my experience, limited as it may be, the Middle East is less about religion and more about tribal affiliation. This bit from today’s Debka – an Israeli news site – is probably more illustrative than any gibberish I could spew out. Here are power grafs:

By means of the successful military putsch in Cairo, Saudi King Abdullah had his revenge for the toppling of his friend Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, for which he has never forgiven President Obama whom he held responsible.

The Saudi-Gulf intervention in Egypt’s change of government also ushers in a new stage of the Arab Revolt for the Middle East. For the first time, a group of traditionally pro-US conservative Arab governments has struck out on its own to fill the leadership vacuum left by the Obama administration’s unwillingness to pursue direct initiatives in the savage Syrian civil war or forcibly preempt Iran’s drive for a nuclear bomb.

You can read the whole thing here

The underlying truth that the Israelis are publishing of course doesn’t sync with the noise being propagated by the Anglo-American news machine, which howls about this being a coup against a properly constituted democracy. And it might be.

But there is another and more profound truth to be uncovered in the spectacular crash of the Muslim Brotherhood-led Egyptian government; one that might be a little easier to explain.

To say that Hosni Mubarak was a doddering old fool that ran Egypt like a family business is to be a Master of the Obvious™. The desire to impose a “more enlightened” regime has been the goal of worldwide progressives everywhere. That’s certainly one of the reason President Obama embraced The Muslim Brotherhood: it is a “people’s movement” and we all know how that can run a thrill up the leg of any progressive.

The truth, however, is quite a bit uglier. Images of actual Africans filtering out of Egypt paint an altogether unflattering portrait of our first African American President. They call The Prezzy out on the carpet like any other American Imperialist President:

Ah, but hope springs eternal, at least for some. The Progressive Dream for the Middle East of a People’s Republic united against the Evil Capitalists in Tel Aviv seems to have imploded again and this time the bad guys aren’t wearing yarmulkes. Instead, it was the tribe with Petro-dollars dispatching an uppity neighbor whose only export seems to be terrorism.

And who can blame them? They have the biggest house on the block, with a nice yard and an easy lifestyle. Then, all of sudden, the next door neighbors go from being quiet gun freaks who mind their own business to a gang of religious crackpots, out to proselytize the world.

Of course, the offended neighbors would act; who wouldn’t? And of course they would hold responsible the numbskull that purchased the property and allowed the nutcases move in.

All of which bring me bring me back to a post 9-11 worldview. If The Prezzy and his gang of politically correct thugs can’t seem to wrap their collective brains around what actually happening on the ground, we can expect more attacks like the one in Bengazi (remember Bengazi?) And for the most part, they’d be deserved. An arrogant superpower than meddles in the affairs of stable governments however onerous, deserves blowback. From the view of realpolitik – the only view to which I subscribe – the Egyptian counter revolution was perfectly predictable and in the end, infinitely preferable to another puppet dictatorship, however politically correct.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Barry O Presidential Death Spiral: a prediction

My, my, my. Our Dear Leader, Barry O, seems to be treading in hostile territory. For months, the Conservative Puppet Choir in the Alternative Media have been saying Bengazi (and before that, Fast and Furious) are scandals of the first order and should be investigated in order to bring this Imperial President to heel.

He, surrounded by his toadies, sycophants and lackeys in the Mainstream Media, laughed and continued to raise funds and play golf.

Then something interesting happened. The press turned on him. And he is panicked.

By attacking the press – the AP phone Records Scandal – The President has created a permanently hostile media environment, especially inside the Beltway. By using the IRS to go after "enemies" the POTUS conjured the ghost of the Evil King Richard the I. And if you add Fast and Furious to Bengazi, you get an Obama Scandal-palooza that cycles 24 hours a day on every cable channel except ESPN.

What happens next to the Prezzy?

One way to predict the future is by throwing chicken bones against a wall and calling a Shaman to read the results. Since I’m both chicken-less and Shaman-less, I’ll have to do the math.

First, square all of those unfolding scandals by factoring in the Clinton side of the Democratic Part which hated Barry O from the beginning. They of course, would like to see him thrown under proverbial the bus with the rest of that Progressive trash he hangs around with. The retired Good King Bill probably realizes his wife's chances of becoming POTUS have shrunk to be statistically indistinguishable from ZERO because of this whole Obama-cloaked Bengazi catastrophe. He might decide to act accordingly and get even instead of getting mad. What the hell, both he and his wife’s pensions are covered.

Now, imagine if the party elders just did the same math that I just did; seeing Barry disappearing into a big Choom Cloud and bowing out gracefully might be the preferred course of action. They know that if this stink continues to reek for another 18 months, it will permeate the brand and poison their results in both 2014 and 2016. A Tea Party power sweep of both houses of Congress and the White House would give every Dem a fatal case of brain bubbles. While it might be fun to watch Chris Matthews' head collapse in real-time like a south Florida sinkhole, I don't think the grey beards of the party will allow it to happen.

No, Barry O has got to go, for the sake of the Party they’ll say. But he has to go in some way that won’t damage The Brand. Resignation for corruption is too Nixon-ian. Impeachment just airs dirty laundry and creates widespread collateral damage. No, there has to be a third way.

Prediction: The party finds a way to remove him from office for some sort of medical reason.