Thursday, September 11, 2008

Anti-immigration panic costs $2-$4 million per mile.

The cost of big government has gotten even bigger. You remember that damn Wall that conservatives want to erect on the border? It is not being built very quickly -- after all, it is government work. And it is coming in way over budget -- just as this blog predicted.

I argued that faux libertarians who support this Wall were going to inflict billions in taxes on the country. These fakes pretend they can authorize spending without authorizing taxing. You can’t separate the two. If you authorize $1 billion in new spending then you have to come up with $1 billion in new government revenue. And that is called taxes. It is basic economics but these days conservatives, even those in libertarian drag, don’t seem to know anything about economics.

The furhrers at Homeland Security had a goal of 670 miles of “secure border” for 2008. They have managed 341 miles. And you should consider the border they are trying to secure is about 2,000 miles long. At this point they are wanting an additional $400 million. Since 2005 Congress has flushed $2.7 billion down this toilet.

Now it is reported that the Government Accounting Office has said “the Homeland Security Department had no projections for the total cost of building or maintaining the fencing.” So the super agency that was hastily and stupidly created to solve all America’s problems by stripping away rights, just doesn’t have any idea how much they need to spend to build the Wall.

The GAO also says that the average cost per mile built has been steadily increasing. The more experience Homeland Security has the more they spend. In February of this year the GAO said the average cost for 1 mile of pedestrian fencing was $4 million. And if they built a mile of fencing to merely stop vehicles from driving through it was $2 million.

Now that Homeland Security has more experience the cost for one mile of pedestrian fencing is averaging $7.5 million. And the cost for vehicle barriers, which are just pipes stuck in holes in the ground to prevent cars from driving through, is now $4 million per mile. Think about that.

If you want to stop a vehicle from driving through an area, and you are putting a metal pipe as a barrier into the ground it is not a particularly complex project. A pipe about every 3 feet is sufficient to prevent a car from driving through -- very few cars are less than 3 feet wide. You would need about 1,760 pipes in total for one mile.

Let’s say we get really heavy pipe and we dig a hole that is six feet deep. We then put the pipe in the hole so that about 3 feet of it are above ground. And we fill the hole with cement. If you were in the private sector what would that one pipe in that one hole cost you? I don’t know. But I can tell you that Homeland Gestapo is paying about $2,300 to dig that hole and plant a pipe. I bet they could do it for half that if they used undocumented workers from outside Home Depot.

With 2,000 miles to fence in we are spending between $2 million and $4 million per mile in order to protect America from busboys, gardeners and fast food clerks. But it sure makes the nativists, xenophobes and bigots feel good. Of course more than bigots benefit from the Wall. Add in the morons who think this Wall is somehow making them safe. It won’t help the economy -- quite the contrary, it is very harmful to the economy. But the emotional comfort that bigots and morons get from it has to be worth something. Unfortunately, like most government schemes the people who think they are benefiting have managed to pass the bulk of the cost off on other people. Let’s face it -- the Minutemen types and their closet supporters are major Welfare Queens. To give themselves comfort they are ripping off the taxpayers to the sum of between $2 million and $4 million per mile.

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