Is it my imagination, or would a Trump presidency allow for more citizen participation than a Clinton presidency?
In a Clinton administration, citizens might expect that any good ideas bubbling up from voters would be squashed by the special interests. The lobbyists and industry insiders promote legislation for their own benefit, not for the public.
But Trump promises to ignore the moneyed interests. And he’s an entrepreneur at heart. In a Trump presidency, it is easy to imagine good ideas coming from the public and making it all the way to implementation. So in that spirit, I give you my idea for making Mexico pay for the wall.
We have around 11 million citizens of Mexico living in the United States illegally. Suppose we make them the following offer:
1. Register at the nearest Post Office. Just fill out some forms. For fun, we can pass a law to make every Post Office a temporary Mexican embassy, so any Mexican national who enters from American soil is literally self-deporting. Embassies are considered sovereign territory, so it all makes sense.
2. Tax illegal immigrants $100 per year for ten years. This is their penalty for breaking American law, and it gives them the right to stay and try for citizenship after ten years.
That’s a billion dollars per year in tax revenue, coming from Mexican citizens. If we use that money to help pay for the wall, that’s a lot like “making Mexico pay for the wall.”
Secondly, we could work with Mexico to declare the zone around the wall – on both sides – special economic zones that are free from some (but not all) onerous government regulations and taxes (for a few years). Then turn the wall project into a jobs program, and eventually into an enormous tourist destination. If any unemployed young people want to work on the wall, we’ll ship them there, put them up in employee dorms, teach them Spanish, teach them a construction trade, and more.
I wrote about this part of the idea in November. You can see more here.
I can also imagine testing ideas for building inexpensive, planned communities around the wall, initially for the workers, then for other citizens as the workers move on. Somehow the country needs to figure out how to lower the cost of living a quality life. Finding ways to reduce housing costs is a big part of it. This would be a good test bed.
I could also imagine testing out some form of free college or trade school at these worker communities around the wall. The classes would be online, and free. All the government would be doing is making sure the classes were publicized and accredited.
I explained to some folks this morning my idea of taxing illegal immigrants to pay for the wall. I learned that some people really, really want illegal immigrants punished for breaking the law. But it won’t be hard to talk Americans into letting illegal immigrants pay for border security and stay. It’s hard to hate someone who is helping you pay your bills.
That’s my idea for turning the wall into a profit opportunity. If you like it, share it on social media. Add your own twists too.
If you like walls, you might like my book. I’m not sure why.