The euphoria of #campaign rallies can easily sway politicians, especially those with little self control. During the 2016 presidential campaign #Donald Trump revelled in the atmosphere of his rallies which then became the subject of many tweets bragging about the people number of present. He soon understood what these followers wanted and so certain themes became constants. Now it is the time to pay for these promises and the costs are not just in money.

Mexico

The border wall was a constant theme of the Trump rallies with his comments on “bad” Mexicans who raped and sold drugs. Following his Inauguration one of the first orders signed was for its construction and the President delighted in repeating his remarks about Mexicans and how their government would pay for it.

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He paid the first price that day.

Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto immediately cancelled a planned visit to the White House which was seen by all as a response to the newly President’s remarks. These also became the subject of much derision on the social media and not just by Mexicans.

Economic costs

It is easy to talk about the economic costs and the border wall soon became the subject of much speculation about its apparent cost of over $25 billion, even though no true costing for the project had been carried out.

President Trump answered that the wall would be paid for by the Mexicans, but no explanation was given on how, a now eternal element of orders signed in the Oval Office. At the same time the costs of maintaining the wall have not been determined

One means of making the Mexicans pay for the wall was touted, to increase border taxes on goods coming into the #United States but this quickly disappeared because this would have had unforeseen economic and political costs as it would have been paid by the American customers and would also have led to increased costs for the country's population as a high percentage of food items consumed in the country comes from South of the border.

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Image

Another non economic cost of the wall was the damage that it is causing to the international image of the United States and its prestige as a place of refuge for people fleeing from dictatorships and hardships for a new life in what was known as the “Land of the free”.

The international image of a wall is as a symbol of oppression and control of populations and the most famous of these was of course that of the Berlin Wall which stood as a stark symbol of the Cold War. To many around the world the news that America was building a wall to stop people entering was seen as the end of an era and nobody can say what this will mean in the future.

This image is particularly important on the southern border of the country as it was the means of escape for refugees who each year flee not only the dictatorships in Latin America, but also difficult economic conditions. The end of the dream of escape from oppression is another non economic cost of the border wall and one that damages the reputation of the United States.

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Another cost of the wall will be the disruption in many rural activities in those areas where Mexican workers provide the bulk of the labour. The effects of the loss of these workers will be felt for some time in the future and may well lead to reduced production in at least the short term.

Admission

Yesterday’s admission by Republican Senate Leader #Mitch McConnell that Mexico probably won’t pay for the wall was a surprisingly honest admission that the United States would ultimately end up coveringall the costs, but this does not allow for the other prices that the country will have to pay for it.

In 1987 Republican President Ronald Reagan with a speech in Berlin made history when he called on the Soviet Union to “tear down this wall!” Now another Republican President, Donald Trump, is making another form of history in building a wall along his country’s southern border.

What has happened since Reagan and what price will America ultimately pay for the wall? #Donald Trump