Yesterday White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that one of the options being considered to pay for the border wall is a 20% tax on Mexican imported goods. Later various White House people scaled back on that saying it would be more like 5% or emphasizing “it’s just one of the options” .
I don’t think this option will be popular with Congress and it won’t be an option they’ll go with but it’s worth talking about anyway.
Americans, especially those who support Trump, should be offended by this proposal. This administration is essentially asking Americans to pay for the wall not once but twice. Taxpayer money pays for the building of the wall. Those funds are “reimbursed” through this tax, paid for by American consumers. Either Trump is truly an idiot or he believes Americans are idiots. He’s counting on his sales schmooze to put this through.
People responded on social media to this proposal by freaking about about their avocados and tequila. The impact would be so much bigger than avocados and tequila. Mexico is the biggest importer of fresh produce to the U.S. Tomatoes,melons,lettuce,peppers,pineapple,coconut, sugar,cukes,grapes, COCOA. 70% of vegetables and 40% of fruit imports come from Mexico. This tax obviously will increase the cost of produce at a time when accessibility to produce for low income people, especially in food deserts, is already a crucial issue in food justice.
And let’s not forget Mexican Coke.
With Trump’s new immigration policies and wall building, we will already see the price of produce increase anyway, 20% tax or not. The workers who grow our food domestically are from Mexico and other countries, usually paid less than American workers. The price of food will reflect the loss of underpaid labor .( As always, I advocate for migrant food workers to be paid fairly and our food system is reliant on these workers. I’m just stating that the system as it is currently will bring this about).
The hypothetical boycotts that could take place could be interesting. If those who don’t want the wall and buycott Mexican produce, they’ll have to be satisfied with limited produce options in winter or grow and preserve their own food. Or actively participate in the growth of these industries domestically. I already have seen some on the conservative side want to buycott Mexican goods anyway just on the premise alone that “Mexico is bad” per Trump’s commentary. Both ways, the Mexican economy suffers and that wall isn’t getting paid for by anyone but American taxpayers.
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