Following an unconvincing campaign to persuade the American public that a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is “immoral,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi returned to the drawing board last Thursday and came up with a revised objection.
Speaking to reporters, Pelosi declared:
It’s a luxury our country can’t afford under any circumstance. This is certainly a luxury we can’t afford when he has shut down government, takes pride in it and says months or years.
That is not the action of a responsible president.
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It’s certainly an original argument, though one that is likely to bomb in New Haven. Consider: For a government that didn’t blink in 2014 over an expenditure of $25 billion on such essentials as a study on whether moms love their dogs as much as their kids and massages for rabbits, the $5.6 billion the president is seeking for a border wall is a drop in the bucket.
But what about Pelosi’s secondary argument: that erecting a wall during a government shutdown would be a needless extravagance while government employees starve? She made a similar argument during a 2013 shutdown, claiming, “The cupboard is bare. There’s no more cuts to make” — this in a year in which the government spent almost $4 trillion. As an editorial in Investors’ Business Daily noted:
It’s funny how when the massive state apparatus is starved of its cash flow, lots of things magically appear in that bare cupboard.
A Sept. 26 letter from the assistant to the president for management and administration to the director of the Office of Management and Budget (couldn’t those jobs be merged?) comically outlines the shutdown plan.
“Approximately 436 employees will be designated as excepted or exempt to perform excepted functions,” the manager of the White House budget tells the manager of the executive branch budget. “The remaining 1,265 will be placed in furlough status once they have concluded activities necessary to shut down their offices.”
If the Democrats wanted to fund Trump’s border wall, they could practically do so out of petty cash.
Regardless of what Pelosi’s next objection will be, her real reason for opposing the wall is that it was proposed by a president she loathes.