03 September 2016

I am Both Horrified and Impressed

When Donald Trump said that he would make Mexico pay for a border wall between the two countries.

I figure that he was engaging in classical Trump bullsh%$, but he has now said how this. Specifically, he has said that will hold remittances to Mexico hostage to get concessions:
New Delhi, Beijing, Manila and Paris may want to sit up and take notice. Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump plans to make Mexico pay for the wall:he intends to build on the United States' southern border by cutting off remittances - transfer of money by a foreign worker to his home country - till it coughs up the lolly.

This unprecedented threat - detailed in a two-page memo Donald Trump+ has drawn up - could decimate the Mexican economy, which receives around $24 billion annually in remittances, and is the fifth largest remittance-receiving country in the world. The top four (for whom this should serve as a warning about the methods Trump would consider to settle accounts): India ($ 72 billion in remittances in 2015), China ($ 64 billion), Philippines ($ 30 billion), and France ($25 billion).

The memo, with the subject line "Compelling Mexico to Pay for the Wall," offers an insight into the kind of bare-knuckle tactics Trump will employ to offset what he sees as economic injustice against the United States, including withholding of visas and trade tariffs.

''Our approvals of hundreds of thousands of visas every year is one of our greatest leverage points,'' Trump writes. ''We also have leverage through business and tourist visas for important people in the Mexican economy.''
These remittances would account for about 2½% of Mexican GDP, so it would have a significant impact on the economy, particularly in rural and poor.

Note that I find this course of action, particularly with regard to the secondary effects, money transfer to Mexico would almost certainly go underground, creating a new profit center for various gangs, to be ill advised, but Trump actually does have a plan to accomplish this.  (And that's ignoring the rather dire human consequences of this policy.)

That being said, there is a certain perverse elegance in the plan.


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