President Donald Trump will ask Congress to approve a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico to pay for his planned wall on the United States’ southern border, The Associated Press reported Thursday.
The announced proposal came after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto abruptly cancelled an upcoming meeting with Trump in response to several executive orders Trump has issued related to illegal immigration, including construction of the border wall, which Trump still insists will be eventually paid for by Mexico.
Trump has already shown during his first week as president that he is a man of action and not one to sit around waiting patiently for allies and rivals to get on board with his agenda — foreign or domestic. This move is just further proof that Trump wastes no time in getting things done.
Other nations would be wise to take note.
According to The Hill, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters on board Air Force One that Trump’s proposed 20 percent tax on Mexican imports would cover the costs of the wall’s construction.
“We can do $10 billion a year and easily pay for the wall just through that mechanism alone. That’s really going to provide the funding,” said Spicer of the proposal, which is expected to be part of a broader package of tax reform measures.
To be sure, we as conservatives are typically not in favor of tariffs, as they generally result in higher prices for consumers, loss of American jobs and, at times, retaliatory measures by those nations hit by the tariffs.
It is also worth noting that border adjustment taxes, which is what this particular tariff would likely be, are extraordinarily complex with many moving parts, which was recently explained in depth by CBS News.
That said, this border tax on Mexico will certainly hurt them more than it hurts the U.S., at least in the short run. It may not even be an issue in the long run, as this appears to be a temporary tariff designed to fulfill a specific purpose, namely funding construction of the wall.
Given Trump’s mastery of “The Art of The Deal,” this financial shot across the bow of Mexico could also simply be a strong negotiating ploy intended to bring them back to the discussion table after the initial meeting was cancelled.
It is highly plausible that Trump and Peña Nieto will end up having their meeting together eventually and an agreement will be worked out, one which provides for Mexico to fund the wall in some fashion while preventing the imposition of the tariff — sort of the old tried-and-true carrot and stick tactic.
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