Past Features

January 22, 2017

Right again?
Next week will be very interesting*

Marc A. Thiessen -- Washington Post -- January 17
Yes, Trump can make Mexico pay for the border wall. Here's how.
    Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto told an assembly of top diplomats last week that “Mexico of course will not pay” for Donald Trump’s wall. His predecessor, former president Vicente Fox, put it more bluntly in a tweet storm last week, declaring: “TRUMP, when will you understand that I am not paying for that [f----n] wall.”
    They are both wrong. Trump absolutely can make Mexico pay. And the answer lies in a provision of the corporate tax-reform plan House Republicans are planning to take up after Trump’s inauguration --- the so-called “border adjustment.” [...]
    In other words, the border adjustment would allow Trump to keep two major campaign promises at once --- he could tax imports and subsidize exports, while forcing Mexico to pay for the wall.
    And here is the really brilliant part: There is nothing Mexico could do about it. Mexico might find ways to retaliate over specific measures targeting it — such as increased fees for visas or taxing remittances. But with the border adjustment, Mexico would have no recourse to complain, because such a measure is global in nature and would affect all U.S. trading partners equally. Plus, how could Mexico object when it is one of the 160 countries around that world that has a “border adjusted” VAT of its own?
    So yes, thanks to the border adjustment, Donald Trump can indeed make Mexico pay for the BLEEP-ing wall. And Mexico would be powerless to stop him.
    Mr. President-elect, what’s not to love?

Glenn Spencer
*Interesting week
    To try to predict what President Trump will do about the border is a dicey process. He is unpredictable. What is known, however, is that - unlike presidents reaching back two decades- he is serious about getting the job done.
    I will be looking for ways to measure his success. I hope he is as well.