If Only We'd Built a Fence Around the Towers

How much does it cost to build a 700-mile barrier across a 1,952-mile border? Last year Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) priced his pet fence at a paltry $2.2 billion. In December the Congressional Research Service pulled out the congressional abacus, crunched some numbers, and found a small discrepancy:

The cost of building and maintaining a double set of steel fences along 700 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border could be five to 25 times greater than congressional leaders forecast last year, or as much as $49 billion over the expected 25-year life span of the fence, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

Among the things missing from Hunter's estimate: the cost of the land on which the fence will be built and the cost of building the wall if built by private contractors. At $49 billion, is a wall worth it? Let's ask Tom Tancredo.

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., who has spoken adamantly in favor of restricting both legal and illegal immigration, remains a supporter of the fence for security reasons as well.

"It's simple: What did 9/11 cost us versus what would it cost to maintain a fence to help prevent that?" said Carlos Espinosa, a Tancredo spokesman. "If we could prevent another terrorist attack, then absolutely it's worth it."

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  • Warren||

    Here's hoping the new congress passes new House rules, so that any member playing the terrorism card in an immigration debate gets sent to Guantanamo.

    Good grief, I need a drink

  • ||

    I'm going to take a dump. If taking a dump can prevent another terrorist attack, then it's absolutely worth it.

  • ||

    There are some legitimate nexuses (smart enough to use "nexus," not smart enough to know the plural) between terrorim and immigration.

    For one, those embassy visas really were being handed out too loosely. Mission Accomplished on that, sez I.

    Second, the existence of the "coyote" black market in human-smuggling is a danger, because a terror group could potentially utilize them. To which I retort, we need to put them out of business the same way we put the bootleggers out of business.

  • ||

    Lamar,

    Where can I purchase some of your magical terrorist-repelling feces? I'd like to build a fence around it.

  • VM||

    Does anybody else think of Larry B. Scott's Movie role (and rap) whenever Lamar posts?

    "Second, the existence of the "coyote" black market in human-smuggling is a danger, because a terror group could potentially utilize them. To which I retort, we need to put them out of business the same way we put the bootleggers out of business."

    ha ha! But the big government conservatives get worried about being overrun by HORDES! HORDES, I tell you!

    Hordes.

    Throngs.

    (Calvin summed it up nicely:
    How many boards
    to the Mongels hoard
    when the mongle hordes get bored)

  • ||

    VM,

    Was the RotN Lamar the guy who sang "Clap your hands, everybody. Everybody, clap your hands" and threw the floppy javelin to compensate for his limp wrist?

    Every time I see Lamar and Evan! comment in the same thread, I kinda wish they'd join forces so we could relive those heady days in the 2000 US Presidential campaign when Lamar Alexander fever was running rampant thru the land. Lamar!

  • VM||

    de stijl:
    :)
    exactly that one! "and the rap is done by me Lamar".

    And what does that say about this point in history when we long nostalgically for the campaign of 2000 and that bands of thugs and ruffians can say "neeh" to old ladies?

  • Thomas Paine\'s Goiter||

    To which I retort, we need to put them out of business the same way we put the bootleggers out of business.

    Paying them to drive brightly colored cars around in a circle 250 times?

  • ||

    "To which I retort, we need to put them out of business the same way we put the bootleggers out of business."

    By making them rich?

  • bill||

    Seems to me like 49 billion could buy a lot of border agents.

  • VM||

    Bill:

    with the new minimum wage, you can't get as many as you'd think...

  • ||

    Among the things missing from Hunter's estimate: the cost of the land on which the fence will be built and the cost of building the wall if built by private contractors.


    Eh, what could the land possibly cost if you take it by ED? What is fair market value for desert? Private contractors my foot, indentured servants or maybe illegal immigrants could provide the labor. Oh, wait, Government regulations call for citizens paid at union wages. Heh, $49B is just a drop in the bucket.

  • ||

    "Lisa, I'd like to buy your rock..."

  • V!M!||

    Yeaaa! Evan! is! here!

    Didja hear about our plan? What do you think?

    (good refrence, BTW)

  • ||

    Seriously...

    there was some viral video floating around asking people how much they'd have to be paid before they'd kill a puppy with their bare hands. Most of them were able to draw some arbitrary cutoff point. I'd like to know at what point would it be too much? What if it cost, oh, I dunno, 100 trillion dollars to prevent another attack. Would it still be worth it?

  • ||

    V!M!:

    I like your plan. But only if it keeps the terrorists away.

    LAMAR!

  • Pi Guy||

    "...we need to put them out of business the same way we put the bootleggers out of business."

    Uh, you mean by making it legal? (see 21st Amendement)

    "with the new minimum wage, you can't get as many as you'd think..."

    But you can pay two illegal immigrants at the new minimum wage to build the wall.

  • ||

    Policy makers have been shown to be physically allergic to rational evaluation of the type you suggest, Evan!. Your insensitivity to their discomfort could make you a good candidate to be an Enemy Of The State(tm), though.

  • ||

    Lamar,

    Pretty please could you comment just once with an exclamation point at the end of your handle? C'mon, all the cool kids are doing it.

  • ||

    If the bootleggers are out of business why am I smoking mexican meth?

  • ||

    "To which I retort, we need to put them out of business the same way we put the bootleggers out of business."

    By having Rerun drop the tape recorder mid-concert.

  • ||

    Pi Guy,

    Precisely.

  • ||

    Tancredo's office is obviously factoring in the cost of the inevitable invasion of Mexico following a terrorist attack only vaguely liked to the Distrito Federal, the overthrow of its government, and the valiant attempt to quell the resulting insurgency.

  • ||

    "Policy makers have been shown to be physically allergic to rational evaluation of the type you suggest, Evan!. Your insensitivity to their discomfort could make you a good candidate to be an Enemy Of The State(tm), though."

    Oh...to be featured on Hannity is a dream of mine...

  • MADD||

    If it saves even one life, it's worth it.

  • ||

    The Great Wall of China was an unsuccesful attempt to keep the Mongols out of China. I can't imagine the US building anything as permanent or imposing as that.

    Everything there is to learn from history will have to be relearned the hard way.

  • ||

    Joe -- the plural of NEXUS is NEXI.
    As for the expensive nest, there is a way to lower the cost: Hire illegals to build it.

  • ||

    It's like the Maginot Line, only it wouldn't have worked on the last attack either. Genius!

  • ||

    de stijl!: enjoy!

    I see that my wisdom is well taken. Obviously, my comment was in response to the rhetorical question about the costs of 9/11 vs. the costs of a fence. And thank you all for making me the cool nerd.

  • ||

    What do we need a fence for, anyway? Why not build a giant laser on the Moon and shoot anyone who crosses the border without authorization? This plan has the added bonus of giving NASA's moonbase a purpose.

  • ||

    Lamar!,

    Super sweet!

    Pro Lib,

    We could dig a moat all along the border and stock it with sharks with "laser beams" attached to their fricking heads.

  • ||

    Pro Libertate, you've recently watched Real Genius haven't you?

  • ||

    I'm not a Tancredo-hater, but his logic is obviously flawed, even to people who aren't against a fence.

    The question is not: Is this $49B a decent investment. The question is: Is this the BEST investment for $49B?

    Maybe there's something better we can do with the money.

  • Learned Hand||

    The question is not: Is this $49B a decent investment. The question is: Is this the BEST investment for $49B?

    In addition, the question is not: Did 9-11 constitute a loss greater than $49 billion. The question is: Is the loss incurred on 9-11, when discounted by likelihood that something similar will happen again, greater than $49 billion?

  • ||

    mediageek,

    Not at all. They were thinking small--LEO or even aircraft-deployed lasers. My plan uses the Moon, in all of its glory.

  • VM||

    ProL and Media:

    c'mon. Let the engineers figure out what to do with their laser. Besides making enormous Swiss cheese, that is.

    (second Real Genius reference here today, BTW)

    (That would be a good one, too: "so it goes from god to jerry to you to the cleaners. right, kent?" (who reminds me of a hyper intelligent military lawyer type (also a hot and hungry type, that is))

    And ProL: de stijl is a commander of Moon Unit Zappa who could help you out!

  • ||

    VM,

    Pshaw. It's well established that lasers have no practical uses. Other than as head decorations for Carcharhinus leucas, that is.

  • ||

    The question is not: Is this $49B a decent investment. The question is: Is this the BEST investment for $49B?

    Dunno. Give me back my cut and I'll work something out. Probably use it to pay down my credit card.

  • ||

    "yuri | January 9, 2007, 4:03pm | #

    Joe -- the plural of NEXUS is NEXI."

    I don't care how many yuruses you are, I'm kicking your asses!

  • ||

    I'm not a Tancredo-hater...

    I am. Tancredo is a dick.

  • VM||

    ProL:

    would you settle for Sea Bass. They are mutant. And absolutely ill tempered!

    Joe: hilarious!

  • alkali||

    For what it's worth, the Latin plural of nexus is "nexus." It's a fourth declension noun. (See the dictionary entry and the declension paradigm.)

    (Yes! That $100,000 Latin degree was not wasted! In your face, business school!)

  • ||

    alkali,

    Actually, there's a little-known exception to that rule in Latin. Thus, the plural of nexus is nexaromavich. Q.E.D.

  • fi||

    why not insteasd invest this 49 billion in mexico, thereby increasing their standard of living, and rate of industrialisation, thus reducing the insentive of mexicans to immigrate to the USA?

  • LM||

    Borders are built to keep the illegal immigrants INSIDE America, so the cheating business owners don't have to worry about their workers leaving for Mexico during Christmas season.

    That is why the illegals that are here are not picked up anymore.

    Those politicians are fooling the American taxpayers, making us pay for the border installation, for their sake of the cheating business owners .

    As soon as their workers are here, then we pay for their medical coverage, education and welfare. Of course, we also have to pay for the board and lodging of their gang member children.

    Another border is not the answer.
    Stop the privileges:

    1) No more instant US citizenship to anchor babies.

    2) If they have to go to a hospital, they must provide a paycheck from the current business owner. The business owner should pay for their hospital cost. The business owner should pay for education of the anchor baby too.

    3) The anchor babies would be qualified for legal residency only after they provide proof that they graduated from college.

  • VM||

    LM!!!!

    Shocked!

    Using babies as anchors? Do you want BIG SHIPPING on our case, too? The Peruvian spraying thread already has constituents of Big Salad on our case. Great.

  • ||

    . . .though when Jupiter passes through the Seventh House (Atreides), the plural of nexus is nexilicious. Some linguists interpret the Great Porn Mosaic found in Herculaneum as a strong indication that the plural in this case would be nexarama, but I don't hold with that sort of heresy.

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