Walls, maintenance, cost offsets and investment

Reuters estimates that The Wall for which Trump voters voted may cost as much as $21.6B, and take 3.5 years to build. The Federalist estimates that illegal immigration costs the nation $135B per year. (It’s probably safe to assume the publications have offsetting bias, so we’ll just go with their numbers.)

Using these figures, the wall costs 15% one year’s cost of illegal immigration, and has a payback period of 57 days following completion, with the assumption that an in-progress wall does not drive down illegal immigration, probably a false assumption. This also assumes, probably also incorrectly, that The Wall ends all immigration; but it also does not take into account the cost of the Border Patrol, so let’s assume those numbers offset.

What about infrastructure maintenance? According to a study done by the Voorhees Transportation Institute at Rutgers University (pdf), the maintenance costs of highways in New Jersey (the best infrastructure maintenance number I could find for large chunks of concrete) is about 24% of the cost to design and build it. With no trucks driving on it, and no frost heaves, let’s assume the maintenance cost of a southern wall to be about 1/5 of that NJ highway, or about 5%.

The Wall, then, would cost $21B, plus an additional $1B/yr. Or a ten-year cost of $31B. In that same period (using constant dollars), illegal immigration (assuming it stays the same) would cost the taxpayers $1350B, or $1.35T.

Savings to the taxpayer in gross (constant) dollars – not counting the cultural changes wrought by millions more low-skill, mostly illiterate immigrants – over that ten-year span would be approximately $1.32T.

Savings per
Decade      $1,321,000,000,000
Year              $132,100,000,000
Day                        $361,917,808
Hour                       $15,079,908
Minute                          $251,331
Second                              $4,188

Democrats, therefore, are arguing that a savings of $132B per year, is a poor investment.

I guess it’s “crumbs.”

Probably because it’s our kids, not their (nonexistent) kids that will be seeing the cost – or not.

Here’s what it looks like in a graph:

About Alex Scipio

About Alex Scipio: Alex moved out of the People's Republic of California to the Free State of Arizona, finally tiring of the lack of the Bill of Rights, the overgrown idiocracy, and the catering to non-Americans & welfare recipients. He still wonders how America got from Truman, Eisenhower, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan to the Liberal and Conservative extremes so badly managing America today. And, yes, islam DOES need to be annihilated. And doing what he can to get folks away from the extremes of political life.
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