Climate Change Action a “Waste of your money”. So Screw the Grandkids. BTW Granny can starve, too.

March 16, 2017

The greatest existential threat to human civilization, barring nuclear holocaust, is not worth preventing, according to alternative facts.
Not everyone in the administration is on board.

Meantime, another nexus of terror soon to be weeded out…

MIT Technology Review:

While promising to put up a high concrete wall along the Mexican border, Donald Trump said it would cost between $8 billion and $12 billion. Fat chance.

That becomes apparent after you look at what’s already on the border. After initially proposing to wall off all 2,000 miles, Trump said the wall could run along roughly half of the border, with mountains and other natural barriers blocking immigrants from crossing elsewhere. And on the portion where Trump envisions a wall, there are already 653 miles of fencing—some designed to stop cars, some to stop pedestrians, depending on the likeliest mode of crossing in each section. Building those fences has cost $2.3 billion since 2006.

If you wanted a wall instead of a fence—and if it truly were, as Trump has promised, 35 to 65 feet of concrete reinforced with steel—then the costs would mount extremely fast. Imagine a 1,000-mile wall, at a height of about 50 feet, the middle of the range that Trump has thrown out. Then suppose the wall extended 15 feet underground—a little more than is structurally necessary for a foundation, but enough to deter some tunnelers. You wouldn’t really build a long wall at a constant thickness, but let’s assume that on average, it’s one foot thick—enough to make a 50-foot wall stable and hard to cut through, a concern that Trump and his supporters have raised with the existing border fence.


This gives you a volume of about 12.7 million cubic yards, or 9.7 million cubic meters. Since structural concrete for this would cost about $900 per cubic meter, we’re talking almost $9 billion.

+ Steel

Steel reinforcement, or rebar, could take up about 3 percent of the volume of the concrete. That amount of rebar would weigh about 2.3 billion kilograms. At roughly $2 per kilogram, count on spending $4.6 billion for steel.

+ Labor

If you assumed the same labor costs as what went into putting up the border fences between 2006 and 2009, and added that to the expense of the concrete and steel, the total cost of a wall might be $15 billion. But the labor for such a project would be much more expensive, especially since the parts of the border that are still open are more rugged.

Consider Israel’s experience. It has built 320 miles of a planned 480-mile barrier in and around the West Bank. Only three to 10 percent of the completed portion is concrete. The cost so far: $2.6 billion, more than twice as much per mile as the fences along the U.S.-Mexico border, even though labor in Israel is slightly cheaper.

That fits with what structural engineers have told me: the total cost of highways and other megascale projects in the U.S. is generally two to three times the material costs. That makes a 1,000-mile wall pencil out at $27 billion to $40 billion.

= up to $40 billion

Trump might say it would be worth the cost since border crossings are out of control. However, because of several factors, including improvements in the Mexican economy and increases in Border Patrol staffing, fewer people are making the attempt. Officers caught 331,000 people crossing the Mexican border in fiscal 2015, less than one-fifth the number in 2000.


Quick context: Early on in the Q&A, Mulvaney explained that the administration didn’t want to fund programs like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or the National Endowment for the Arts because it wasn’t fair to ask coal-mining families in West Virginia to pay for them with their tax dollars. (Yes, I know, coal miners’ kids like PBS too. Just bracket the point.) That led to this exchange:

Reporter: You were talking about the steel worker in Ohio and the coal miner in Pennsylvania and so on. But those workers may have an elderly mother who depends on the meals on wheels program, who may have kids in Head Start. And yesterday or the day before you described this as a hard power budget but is it also a hard-headed budget?

Mulvaney: I don’t think so. I think it’s probably one of the most compassionate things we can do to—

Reporter: Cutting programs that help the elderly?

Mulvaney: You’re only focusing on half of the equation, right? You’re focusing on recipients of the money. We’re focusing on recipients of the money and people who give us the money in the first place. I think it’s fairly compassionate to go to them and say, look, we’re not going to ask you for your hard-earned money anymore. Single mom of two in Detroit, OK, “Give us your money!” We’re not going to do that anymore unless we can—please let me finish. Unless we can guarantee that money will be used in a proper function. That is about as compassionate as you can get.

Got that? Mulvaney says the White House is cutting Head Start to make sure it doesn’t waste the taxes of single mothers in Detroit, because it’s just that compassionate. Honestly, I would have more respect for the man if he’d stood up on stage with a stock pot and said the administration had decided that the poor should be boiled in bone broth. At least then he’d have the courage of his convictions.


8 Responses to “Climate Change Action a “Waste of your money”. So Screw the Grandkids. BTW Granny can starve, too.”

  1. rabiddoomsayer Says:

    Sooner or later Americans will realize the hated government actually provides stuff they need. Then they will discover other countries governments do so much more.

  2. indy222 Says:

    Don’t forget that streams and rivers cross the border too. What do so about them? Maybe Trump’s ego is so vast that he figures he can simply overrule Natural Law in the form of rain and gravity? Actually, I guess he’s said as much already…. hard to make statements so ridiculously fool-worthy as to get a laugh, but that Trump hasn’t said “seriously” to his vast minions. What a complete waste of a Presidency.

  3. Sir Charles Says:

    If the U.S. were a small country anywhere in Africa the world would laugh about that government which is telling lies after lies, and the Yanks would go in with their military to “restore freedom and democracy”…

  4. andrewfez Says:

    Actually functional food insecurity – not being able to drive to the store to get food secondary to some functional limitation – can cause sarcopenia, malnutrition, and frailty; lots of chronic diseases also create an underlying low to moderate level inflammatory process that puts folks, especially older folks, at risk for malnutrition. [Older adults need a little more protein than younger ones (1g/kg/d vs 0.8g/kg/d).] And somewhere between 30-80% of folks being admitted to the hospital are in a state of malnutrition, which is a threat multiplier for infection, longer hospital length of stay, mortality, and longer time on a ventilator, which itself is a threat multiplier for nosocomial infection. Anything that reduces malnutrition in the community reduces overall costs of healthcare. Not sure what ‘results’ this guy is looking for; if they weren’t cutting the science budgets they could fund a study to examine how taking away meals-on-wheels can increase medical costs.

    And when these guys say the words ‘cutting taxes’ they mean cutting for the rich, they don’t mean some middle class mom in Kansas.

  5. Lionel Smith Says:

    Mulvaney is another sycophantic socio-path demonstrates the emperor’s nakedness (not a pretty sight BTW).

    Actually functional food insecurity – not being able to drive to the store to get food secondary to some functional limitation – can cause sarcopenia, malnutrition, and frailty…

    As we continue to push past seventy my wife and I are facing that very real prospect. Not only is food hard to get to but so is getting the money to pay for it as post offices close here in the UK. Cash machines often charge a ‘service fee’ for cash withdrawals, now who is syphoning that up?

    However the pair of us work hard at looking after grandchildren at key points in the week because both parents have to work and increasingly hard with long hours. Daughter is a chemistry graduate who worked in several fields afterwards (she left because of government cut backs in environmental measures) and retrained as a schoolteacher – and a good one to. Her husband has a chemistry PhD but has as uncertain future prospects, drives some distances during the week, as anybody except lawyers and accountants it seems – oh and Heartland hangers on.

    We are both old enough to remember rationing, some foods being still so in 1954 (why oranges found their way into children’s Christmas stockings), but then gardens and allotments helped ease that to some extent. Seasonal foods were relished simply because we could not have them at any time during the year and there was hell to pay if you decided you didn’t like what was on your plate.

    But even the effects of WW2 pale in comparison to what is going on across Africa right now, this is the future for the US (and UK too as May seems to be under Trump’s sway) if these socio-paths continue with their selfish, mean polluting ways.

  6. funslinger62 Says:

    “However, because of several factors, including improvements in the Mexican economy and increases in Border Patrol staffing, fewer people are making the attempt. Officers caught 331,000 people crossing the Mexican border in fiscal 2015, less than one-fifth the number in 2000.”

    I’m not sure how this individual established a causal link here. Is there concrete evidence that fewer people are making the attempt? Fewer captures is not necessarily indicative of fewer attempts. It could be that people are making better attempts and thus being captured less often.

    It would’ve been nice to get some actual evidence instead of bald assertion.

  7. J4Zonian Says:

    More border guards plus more fencing plus more cameras plus more other technology plus a 4/5 reduction in people caught crossing while the economy gets better there and the US is now ruled by insane racist fascists, equals:

    A. Mexico must have had an earthquake, tilting it down in the south and making people roll downhill into the country south of it, Sierra Leone.

    B. More people in Mexico drinking smart water and figuring out ways to sneak through.

    C. Fewer people are trying to cross

    Which seems more likely?

  8. Gerald Jones Says:

    Those concrete figures don’t add up to me.

    Last time I bought concrete in any quantity, in 2012, it was about $85 a yard. Multiplying that by 12.7 million comes nowhere close to $9 Billion.

    Looks like some one misplaced a decimal point, as $90 a cubic meter would be closer to my estimate. But I believe most concrete is measured by the yard in the US.

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