Conservatives of all stripes are undoubtedly going to have a conniption when the Biden administration shuts down construction of Trump's glorified border fence, but here's one way he can counter them: by rhetorically appealing to fiscal conservatism.
It appears that Biden's incoming team is already making plans to end construction and, to my own surprise, they've reportedly already met with officials from the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss a shutdown.
According to the Washington Post, those meetings resulted in some initial estimates for how much money could be saved by halting construction.
The U.S. Army Corps estimates show there will be about $3.3 billion in unused funds in the project’s accounts on January 21. Army Corps officials have engaged in a series of meetings in recent weeks about how to end the contracts — and what can be done legally, and when.
Of the $1.6 billion remaining in Department of Homeland Security money for the project — just one of the funding sources — the government would be able to save $1.1 billion by completing these ancillary features, estimates show, compared with $1.46 billion by freezing the project entirely. The Biden administration has not said whether it would consider completing those elements of the project, or bring everything to a screeching halt.
It's not just the fact that ending construction will save money. It's also the fact that what we were spending the money on is completely useless. It's a dead, sunk cost.
Trump's fake border wall hasn't stopped anyone from reaching the United States. It's easily penetrated, it can be climbed, and it can also be avoided entirely by simply going around it. Trump has only expanded on existing barriers by enough distance to cover about 2 percent of our southern border with Mexico.
And those are just the material concerns. There's also the human concern and we've spent billions on this political, racist symbol of inhumanity. That's all it ever was Trump, too; a political vanity project, not a serious policy for stopping the flow of immigration.
When I was reading this report this morning, I remembered that Trump ordered active duty soldiers to the border to clear brush and lay barbed wired. I remembered those images of former Defense Secretary James Mattis struggling to tell the soldiers to their faces what the fuck they were doing there.
The sheer torrent of shit from Trump means memories like that have slipped through the cracks from time to time.