As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/

The Great Wall of Stupid : An American Story

The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
So, Trump intends to build a border wall between the U.S. & Mexico. This shouldn't come as a surprise at this point; building this fortification was the cornerstone of his entire Presidential bid. Henceforth, this OP will refer to Trump's proposed static defense as 'The Great Wall of Stupid'.

Thus far, we have a signed executive order mandating the construction of the Great Wall of Stupid as part of a more far-reaching policy of 'Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements'. While the whole EO is some mixture of pants-on-head idiotic and monstrously dangerous, this thread will focus on the wall in particular (mostly because this thing is all but guaranteed to be the most visible and hilarious trainwreck the administration is ever likely to put into motion).


What will the Great Wall of Stupid entail, exactly?

The current EO provides the following descriptor:
secure the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border, monitored and supported by adequate personnel so as to prevent illegal immigration, drug and human trafficking, and acts of terrorism
"Southern border" shall mean the contiguous land border between the United States and Mexico, including all points of entry.
"Wall" shall mean a contiguous, physical wall or other similarly secure, contiguous, and impassable physical barrier.

Trump maintained throughout his campaign that the wall would be made of steel & concrete, and gave height estimates in the 35-45 foot range.


So, a contiguous concrete & steel barrier, 40~ or so feet tall, spanning the entire Goddamn U.S.-Mexico border, staffed & monitored sufficiently so as not to be circumvented by guys with ropes & ladders. What could possibly go wrong with such an airtight & simple plan?


What will the Great Wall of Stupid cost?

Initial costs for the wall itself will amount to between $27-40 billion USD for raw material & labor. Extra infrastructure costs have to be added on top of that (building service roads so that vehicles transporting material & workers can actually reach the border, building worksite camps for laborers, getting gouged by opportunistic contractors because lol Trump, etc). You'll also have to pay off all of the ranchers whose farmland you'd have to eminent domain into public hands to build there. You'll have to pay for the inevitable lawsuits that will come trundling down the pipeline.

Let's just pick the high end of the cost estimates and assume it ends there, though: $40B USD.

Maintaining the wall, according to the CBO, will exceed the construction costs within about 7~ years after construction starts. And bear in mind we have no reasonable way to estimate how/when/if construction on TGWoS will actually end. Staffing costs are likely to outpace the maintenance costs, too.

Nobody yet has an estimate on what it will cost to tear down whatever laughable abomination The Great Wall of Stupid manifests as, after people becoming sick of paying the maintenance & staffing bills on a piece of shit that does nothing, but you can be assured that such demolition work would also not come cheap.


It will almost certainly be the largest & most expensive / ambitious boondoggle of a project ever attempted in modern times, and we'll all get to watch it unfold live in front of our unbelieving eyes.

With Love and Courage

Posts

  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    This write up from a structural engineer gives a good insight as well: http://imgur.com/a/n0JUK

    The proposed wall, to be a wall, would by itself need more concrete then the hoover dam.

  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    It's not going to be built

    At the rate we're going there won't be a functioning country inside of a year

  • Spaten OptimatorSpaten Optimator Smooth Operator Registered User regular
    CNN's Ed Lavandera™ had a piece recently where he went into a tunnel 70 feet underground complete with electricity, ventiliation and a rail system. The feds have found about thirty tunnels just in the San Diego area over the last ten years, and they would tell you that's a small fraction of the total.

    The drug war didn't eliminate drugs, it raised prices (and created human suffering). And the wall, if ever built, is ultimately just going to make it marginally more expensive to move people across the border (and create human suffering). I think this is about Trump channeling his inner Albert Speer more than anything else. Certainly more than intending it to actually be functional.

  • ZekZek Registered User regular
    The wall was a dumb idea that Trump fabricated whole cloth without any knowledge of what it would take to make it happen. I have zero faith in the efficacy of his administration to actually be able to complete this project. I think it will be so bogged down in red tape, plus the prospect of painful taxes that would cost Republicans the mid-terms, that it will never even begin real construction.

  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    CNN's Ed Lavandera™ had a piece recently where he went into a tunnel 70 feet underground complete with electricity, ventiliation and a rail system. The feds have found about thirty tunnels just in the San Diego area over the last ten years, and they would tell you that's a small fraction of the total.

    The drug war didn't eliminate drugs, it raised prices (and created human suffering). And the wall, if ever built, is ultimately just going to make it marginally more expensive to move people across the border (and create human suffering). I think this is about Trump channeling his inner Albert Speer more than anything else. Certainly more than intending it to actually be functional.

    https://youtu.be/0sMtHmiMlyU

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Zek wrote: »
    The wall was a dumb idea that Trump fabricated whole cloth without any knowledge of what it would take to make it happen. I have zero faith in the efficacy of his administration to actually be able to complete this project. I think it will be so bogged down in red tape, plus the prospect of painful taxes that would cost Republicans the mid-terms, that it will never even begin real construction.

    The beautiful (?) thing about this project is exactly the above, in my mind: it almost certainly won't / can't be completed. But it is pretty likely they will break ground on it, and start building... something. A great monument of sorts in the desert, probably abandoned mid-construction, perhaps adorned with Trump's name or even his likeness.


    I met a traveller from an antique land...

    With Love and Courage
  • Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    edited January 2017
    The Ender wrote: »
    Zek wrote: »
    The wall was a dumb idea that Trump fabricated whole cloth without any knowledge of what it would take to make it happen. I have zero faith in the efficacy of his administration to actually be able to complete this project. I think it will be so bogged down in red tape, plus the prospect of painful taxes that would cost Republicans the mid-terms, that it will never even begin real construction.

    The beautiful (?) thing about this project is exactly the above, in my mind: it almost certainly won't / can't be completed. But it is pretty likely they will break ground on it, and start building... something. A great monument of sorts in the desert, probably abandoned mid-construction, perhaps adorned with Trump's name or even his likeness.


    I met a traveller from an antique land...

    You'll be able to see the grifting from space.

    Harry Dresden on
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    Setting aside the obvious costs, let's say the wall gets built. How do we maintain it when there's another EO forbidding the hiring of more federal employees?

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • Spaten OptimatorSpaten Optimator Smooth Operator Registered User regular
    You'll be able to see the grifting from space.

    Multi-track grifting.

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Shadowfire wrote: »
    Setting aside the obvious costs, let's say the wall gets built. How do we maintain it when there's another EO forbidding the hiring of more federal employees?

    Contractors.


    Which, just lulz. I can already see the clusterfucks & acts of outright fraud / grift.

    With Love and Courage
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    Shadowfire wrote: »
    Setting aside the obvious costs, let's say the wall gets built. How do we maintain it when there's another EO forbidding the hiring of more federal employees?

    Contractors.


    Which, just lulz. I can already see the clusterfucks & acts of outright fraud / grift.

    Actually the executive order also forbids contractors

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    Alternate name for the wall: the Limes Drumpfus

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is setting his sights on completing President Trump's proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall in two years, he said on Wednesday.
    "The wall will be built where it's needed first, and then it will be filled in. That's the way I look at it," Kelly told Fox News in an interview. "I really hope to have it done within the next two years."

    In his first interview since being sworn in as secretary of Homeland Security, Kelly called for the quick construction of the wall and laid out the need for a robust force of Border Patrol agents.

    "Any discussion about the protection of our southwest border involves discussion of physical barriers but also of technological sensors, things like that," he said. "But it's a layered approach, and it's got to be backed up by great men and women who are going to make sure that the wall is intact."

    Oh yeah, 2 years, that's a completely realistic projection.

    :rotate:
    Kelly dismissed the challenge of paying for the wall, voicing confidence that funding is soon to come.

    "I think the funding will come relatively quickly and like I said, we will build it where it's needed first as identified by the men and women who work the border," he said.
    Kelly also defended the president's executive order barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the U.S. and suspending the country's refugee resettlement program, suggesting that protests were unjustified.

    "Mr. Trump is not loved by everyone in America, and I think this very rapid succession of decisions, I don't think the American public is really all that used to people making decisions," Kelly said. "I really don't think they're used to people that say things on the campaign trail actually turning them into action."

    OH HO HO HO

    Better dial 9-1-1 and get the burn unit on the line.

    With Love and Courage
Sign In or Register to comment.