This morning I laughed out loud. With all the discussion about who is going to pay for “the wall” <“who will pay !!??!! … MEXICO!!!!! – says Trump> and claims Mexico will pay for it … the USA is actually now paying Mexico a one-time payment of almost 200 million dollars … uhm … per year because of a trade issue in which the USA purportedly screwed another trade partner.
That must be the alternative universe.
The U.S. just lost a trade battle with Mexico. It’s the first loss of the Trump era.
Mexico and the U.S. have fought for years over tuna. The U.S. insists that any Mexican tuna sold in the U.S. must be “dolphin safe,” meaning dolphins weren’t killed by tuna fisherman, which was once common. Mexico says its fisherman play by the rules. The U.S. government disagrees.
On Tuesday, the World Trade Organization ruled in Mexico’s favor, allowing it to impose trade sanctions worth $163 million a year against the U.S. The WTO says that’s how much money Mexico has lost from the U.S. unfairly penalizing Mexican tuna.
The timing, however coincidental, is sensitive. President Trump wants to renegotiate NAFTA, the free trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
I will admit.
I believe building a ‘wall’ between Mexico and USA is stupid. To be clear … I am actually taking Donald J Trump at his word and assessing the idea as a “big, beautiful physical wall.”
And you know what? Even though I think the wall is stupid he is president and if he truly believes the wall would be effective in some way … his call.
But the issue is not really whether the wall is simply stupid or not. This is about ROI, budgeting money and business decision making.
We all, as everyday schmucks, make some fairly poor decisions with regard to how we spend our money. Just so everyone knows … that lack of responsible budgeting does not magically disappear when you became a high falutin’ business leader. While I have tried to limit the poor discretionary budget spending … yeah … I have made some less-than-smart expenditures in business <in my defense … I have seen worse decisions>.
But as a business leader you are demanded to look at the money you have available, assess priorities and assign funds.
I say that because even if I stand on my head while looking at USA funding needs and the monies available I cannot envision how I would prioritize a ‘big, beautiful wall’ over … well … a shitload of things.
Every dollar I spend on ‘the big, beautiful wall’ is a dollar I cannot spend on lowering the deficit, maybe some infrastructure, any healthcare initiative, maybe some program for lower income households … you get it.
But it appears in this alternative universe that it seems the entire Trump clan lives in ‘the big , beautiful wall’ is representative of ‘the brand’ or ‘fulfilling a promise’ in which it gains so much value in an ROI analysis it pays out over all the other things it is assessed against.
Frankly, I don’t live in that alternative world.
In my world we have things to do and not enough money to do it all <which is a common issue in every business>, I just paid Mexico almost 200 million dollars <and they will not pay us to build the wall> and I have a so-called experienced business leader president who don’t seem to understand that budgeting is about prioritizing and that means tough choices and that means explaining the tough choices.
In my world, as a business person, I have found that when I stood up in front of people and said “I have said we would do these things, we have $10, this is how I prioritize the $10, this means we cannot do some of the things I said before but hopefully we get to it if we ever get $20” that most people don’t look at you as “not fulfilling a promise” but rather “good business decision maker.”
But … that’s my world.
However. Just to show some fairness.
Back on January 30th when I was so frustrated with Donald J Trump I actually took the time to write a letter to him to tell him how to do his frickin’ job .
I suggested this <even though I do not agree with the Wall but tried to offer him a compromise position>:
Immigration part 2: the wall
It is our border. It is our responsibility. We will pay for it.
We will build a physical wall of constructed wall as well as a people wall. We will increase existing fencing, support it with additional physical wall construction in strategic areas and hire an additional 5000 border agents to manage the border wall.
I will ask Mexico to reimburse USA for several things:
- From this day forward the smart illegal immigrants who beat our wall that we catch we will deport. We ask Mexico to reimburse us for legal and transportation costs. Let’s call this our expense report for returning their citizens.
- Because we would like to encourage gainful employment of Mexican citizens so that they do not try and illegally immigrate to our great booming economy <which only I can create> we would like to earn an employment incentive assessment on each Mexican employee our USA companies hire at their facilities in Mexico.
I laughed out loud this morning.
I never thought Mexico would ever pay for ‘the wall’ but I truly never thought we would actually pay Mexico AND have to pay for our own stupid wall.
I will end this ironic thought for the day with … well … building & being architects of fate.
One of my favorite poems written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
All are architects of Fate,
Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
Some with ornaments of rhyme.
Nothing useless is, or low;
Each thing in its place is best;
And what seems but idle show
Strengthens and supports the rest.
For the structure that we raise,
Time is with materials filled;
Our to-days and yesterdays
Are the blocks with which we build.
Truly shape and fashion these;
Leave no yawning gaps between;
Think not, because no man sees,
Such things will remain unseen.
In the elder days of Art,
Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;
For the Gods see everywhere.
Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
Beautiful, entire, and clean.
Else our lives are incomplete,
Standing in these walls of Time,
Broken stairways, where the feet
Stumble as they seek to climb.
Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
With a firm and ample base;
And ascending and secure
Shall to-morrow find its place.
Thus alone can we attain
To those turrets, where the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,
And one boundless reach of sky.