Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Trump's Coming Trade War With Mexico

by JASmius

Remember how Donald Trump's cannonball into the GOP presidential nomination campaign was illegal immigration and deporting all thirty million illegals and building a border wall akin to the Great Wall of China and making Mexico pay for it?  Remember how as the possibility of Trump actually winning the GOP nomination has grown this year, Mexican presidents past and present have all full throatedly told him to vaya a la mierda over his wall idea?  Well, the diminuta millonario digitación thinks he's figured out a way to garnish his way to what he claims to seek:

On day 1 promulgate a “proposed rule” (regulation) amending 31 CFR 130.121 to redefine applicable financial institutions to include money transfer companies like Western Union, and redefine “account” to include wire transfers. Also include in the proposed rule a requirement that no alien may wire money outside of the United States unless the alien first provides a document establishing his lawful presence in the United States. On day 2 Mexico will immediately protest. They receive approximately $24 billion a year in remittances from Mexican nationals working in the United States. The majority of that amount comes from illegal aliens. it serves as de facto welfare for poor families in Mexico. There is no signifcant social safety net provided by the state in Mexico.

On day 3 tell Mexico that if the Mexican government will contribute __ billion to the United States to pay for the wall, the Trump Administration [snicker] will not promulgate the final rule, and the regulation will not go into effect.

For a Trumplican, reading that quote sends them simultaneously into rapturous, quasi-religious ecstasy and projectile orgasmic release.  For a constitutionalist it breaks us out in hives just as it has for the past seven years.  The POTUS does not have the constitutional legal authority to do what Trump proposes in this memo to the WaPo.  It is a change to the law, which under Article I, Section 1 is legislating, a power solely and exclusively enumerated to Congress.  So Trump has no business making such a promise, unless he's braggadociously flaunting his planned future high crimes & misdemeanors.

The WaPo is also more than a little skeptical of this being so easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy as well:

The proposal would jeopardize a stream of cash that many economists say is vital for Mexico’s struggling economy. But the feasibility of Trump’s plan is unclear both legally and politically, and also would test the bounds of a president’s executive powers in seeking to pressure another country....

Nearly $25 billion was sent home by Mexicans living abroad in 2015, mostly in the form of money transfers, according to the Mexican central bank. In his memo, Trump said that “the majority of that amount comes from illegal aliens.”

But that figure includes cash from around the world, not just the United States. In addition, a Government Accountability Office report in January said that it is difficult to track how much money illegal Mexican [alien]s are sending versus those working legally in the United States.

In other words, even if the :POTUS had the legal authority to legislate by executive/bureaucratic order, Trump's suggestion is a sledgehammer shot when what would be needed is a rapier thrust.  Or, in other words, typical Trump.

But it would not be taking place in a vacuum, and would trigger adjustments and countermeasures by the 20% of the Mexican population north of the former border:

Legally, though, could the U.S. government simply seize that cash and use it for other purposes? In fact, would there be any cash to seize at all? The disincentive would have illegal [alien]s looking for more informal methods of getting cash back home, creating a black market for remittances, or simply holding onto the cash.

@EdMorrissey Enforcement mechanism? Forget wire transfers. Send a check in the mail.

Checks? You can buy pre-paid Visa cards with cash, no trouble. Toss that in the mail and send it south.https://twitter.com/cabaum1/status/717354969519755265 

Is all of this to suggest that even slowing down that outflow of ill-gotten wealth to Mexico is impossible and futile?  Not at all.  It can certainly be made more cumbersome and difficult.  But it is not the effortless switch-flipping that Trump is insisting it will be.  Because nothing that Trump promises could ever be that simple, even if it was constitutionally legal.  And even if it was, it's not as though he would be any more authorized to just take the funds and throw them in a border wall slush fund, completely bypassing Congress (like Obama did with the 2010 post-Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement from British Petroleum) in the process.  Nancy Pelosi and Chucky Schumer would still have to appropriate the funds for said wall, and that would be as difficult as getting Enrique Peña Nieto to simply cut a check.

Has anybody (I take it for granted that Trump hasn't) thought about what Mexico's retaliation for this move might be?  Cutting off U.S. oil imports, perhaps?  Cessation of cooperation on the Mexican narco-terror problem?  Maybe establishing closer economic ties with....Red China (They're in ever growing need of petroleum, after all) in exchange for improving our southern neighbor's "infrastructure"?  In which case we'd need a lot more than just a wall on the border, but an outright second preemptive invasion of Mexico, which also happens to be the only way we'll ever get President Nieto's payment.

Setting aside who would pay for TrumpWall, the very threat of it is creating its own counterproductive incentives:

Donald Trump's campaign pledge to build a ten-foot-high wall at the border of Mexico is reportedly increasing the number of [alien]s from Central and South America frantic to get into the United States for "a better life".

"In the short term it appears his rhetoric may be encouraging — not dissuading — [alien]s to head north to escape poverty and violence," the London Guardian reports after interviewing families attempting to cross the border.

"We heard he wants to build those walls. That's why we came. A lot of people are talking about it in El Salvador. They say really bad things about [Trump]," Catalina Maldonado, thirty-four, told the newspaper as she and her son waited at a shelter in Texas. [emphasis added]

But don't worry, I'm sure Trump has menial jobs for all of them that Americans "just won't do".  Heck, his purported hardcore anti-illegal immigration stance was probably for that very intended purpose.

Should we build as much of a wall as we can?  Sure.  Should we deport as many illegals as is practical?  Absolutely.  Should we malign them all as murderers and rapists, and can we deport all of them, or get Mexico to pay for the wall?  Hell, no.  Donald Trump has no Green Lantern will powers in his stubby fingers to waggle them and change any of that.  And his fanatics buying the fable that he does shows what gullible rubes they really are.

Exit quote: "Ford Motor Company, criticized by 'Republican' presidential front-runner Donald Trump for manufacturing outside the United States, announced on Tuesday that it would invest $1.6 billion to build more small cars in Mexico, starting in 2018."

Hey, look at it this way, Trumplicans: Maybe those jobs will reduce the illegals influx....and maybe even finance TrumpWall.

UPDATE: Here's Trump's "Green Lantern Corps":

More than eight-in-ten Republican voters agree that America needs a powerful leader and not only believe their ideology is under attack, but also that public officials don’t value their opinions, according to a national Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday.

But....we already have a "powerful leader," which is why we're in this mess.  The Constitution does not allow for the POTUS to be a "powerful leader".  Russians wanted a "powerful leader" a century ago; how did that turn out?  Italians wanted a "powerful leader" ninety-four years ago - how did that turn out?  Germans eight-three years ago wanted a powerful leader - how did that turn out?

Are you starting to recognize the pattern, folks?

The overwhelming share of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters who feel that way is bolstered by voters supporting Donald Trump. For instance, 96% of his supporters said the U.S. needs a powerful leader to solve its problems, 91% said their beliefs and values are being threatened, and 90% said public officials don’t care much about what everyday people think.

“Trump supporters are true stand-outs,” Quinnipiac poll director Douglas Schwartz said. “They want a leader who is very different from the leader sought by other voters, explaining the mystery many see behind Trump’s support.”

The "Republican" front-runner’s supporters even value his bombastic rhetoric. Eighty-four percent said the U.S. needs a leader who will do or say anything to fix the country’s issues, a statement just 68% of GOP voters overall agreed with (60% of Democrats disagree). [emphasis added]

A majority of Americans want an authoritarian dictator, in other words, Trumplicans most of all.  They just disagree about which side's dictator will do the dictating.  Or, in other words, the inevitable end of "populism" is despotism.

NOW are you frightened at how you're taking what Barack Obama has done to this country and making it exponentially worse, Trumpoids?  Because we #NeverTrumpers sure as shinola are.  The parallels to the FIRST American Civil War are becoming toe-curlingly alarming.

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