Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Let Them Eat Wall-Nuts

“We're going to get paid for it one way or the other,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on ABC's This Week (April 23rd). "I know there's $4 billion a year in excess payments, according to the Department of the Treasury's own inspector general several years ago, that are going to payments to people — tax credits that they shouldn't get… Now, these are mostly Mexicans And those kind of things add up — $4 billion a year for 10 years is $40 billion. There are a lot of ways we can find money to help pay for [Trump’s border wall].” That would include subsidized “free lunches” for kids, most of whom are U.S. citizens even if a few of them are of Mexican descent. It’s just one of the budget cuts presented in Trump’s budget ask to the Congress.
Yup, cutting the federal school lunch program seems like a terrific way to help fund a $20 billion plus hard, steel and concrete wall that will disrupt normal migration patterns for tons of species, allow drug dealers (who can always get drugs into the U.S.) an excuse to raise prices and to deter illegal border crossings that have hit their lowest rates in years. We couldn’t get that secure border with the kind of sophisticated electronic tracking systems that somehow seem to work elsewhere? Think the Great Wall of China worked? Really? When the Ming Empire collapsed, and Beijing was run by a crazy warlord, the Manchurians simply opened the gates, road in and took over. It was 1645 and the Qing Dynasty lasted until the 20th century!
 Meanwhile, back in the U.S. of A.: Folks are heading back to Mexico in droves. That trend started during the late Obama years and accelerated under the Trump administration. But those damned lunch-consuming leaches! Yup. It’s clearly the fault of these children for picking parents who cannot afford to feed them enough. Bad children! Bad!
It’s all about Mexicans, right? Not exactly. “The number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. has stabilized in recent years after decades of rapid growth. But the origin countries of unauthorized immigrants have shifted, with the number from Mexico declining since 2009 and the number from elsewhere rising, according to the latest Pew Research Center estimates.
There were 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2014, a total unchanged from 2009 and accounting for 3.5% of the nation’s population. The number of unauthorized immigrants peaked in 2007 at 12.2 million, when this group was 4% of the U.S. population. [The numbers have fallen further in 2016-17]…. The U.S. civilian workforce included 8 million unauthorized immigrants in 2014, accounting for 5% of those who were working or were unemployed and looking for work...
“Mexicans made up 52% of all unauthorized immigrants in 2014, though their numbers had been declining in recent years. There were 5.8 million Mexican unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. that year, down from 6.4 million in 2009... About two-thirds (66%) of adults in 2014 had been in the U.S. at least that long, compared with 41% in 2005. A declining share of unauthorized immigrants have lived in the U.S. for less than five years – 14% of adults in 2014, compared with 31% in 2005.” Pew Research Report, November 3, 2016.
Long before immigration from south of our border grew to present levels, there were school lunch programs. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s own website: “The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day. The program was established under the National School Lunch Act, signed by President Harry Truman in 1946.” We just fed poor kids back then. Not Mexicans or Salvadorans. Poor kids. White poor kids. Black poor kids. Native American poor kids. Asian-American poor kids. You know… Poor kids. Guess we still do… for the time being.
But for those opposed to the school lunch program, where special interests vie to keep unhealthy snacks and soda pop on those menus to benefit corporate America (maybe that’s where we can save a few bucks), here’s a perspective from an actual Virginia taxpayer complaint: “School lunch is a waste of money. Kids will probably throw most of their food away, and I'm not having my tax dollars pay for that just so a couple freeloaders can get fat on my dime!" And many school districts have simply refused to participate in that school lunch program… ever.  
Did I mention that in addition to millions of Americans of Hispanic descent who are U.S. citizens, most of those undocumented types pay billions and billions of dollars a year in taxes? Hmmmm… But President Trump said… stuff like his inauguration crowds were the biggest in history. And global climate change is a hoax. Hmmmm. But lunch subsidies?
Yup, that’s a really good place to get money for a wall we don’t want, don’t need, doesn’t accomplish its purpose, knowing that Mexico will never pay for. Maybe that’s why Donald Trump pushed back his wall-building plans to 2018 in the latest fight to keep the government funded.
I’m Peter Dekom, and since the majority of Congress and most Americans believe that a “Mexico-isn’t-paying-for-it” steel and concrete wall is an out-to-lunch policy, maybe the Donald will finally get it… yeah, right?!

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