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A Really Bad Idea

Border Wall Reality CheckBorder Wall Reality Check
A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent searches for suspected illegal immigrants passing through the area in Hidalgo, Texas on November 16, 2016.Eric Gay — AP

Good morning.

It’s hard to know what to make of White House spokesman Sean Spicer telling reporters yesterday that the administration is considering a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports to pay for construction of the wall on the Mexican border. It’s such an unambiguously bad idea – bad for American consumers, who would end up paying the tax; bad for American companies, whose supply lines would be disrupted; bad for the global trade order, which is essential to U.S. growth; and bad for American workers, who would likely lose jobs in the ensuing economic chaos – that it can’t be taken seriously. If you question that, read Fortune’s analysis here.

 

Perhaps it was a tactic, intended to soften up Mexico for the negotiations that will likely follow the cancellation of President Trump’s meeting with President Pena Nieto? Or perhaps it was just a bad mistake? If anyone has a better theory, please let me know. I’m all ears.

Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, explaining why he joined the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum, told Gizmodo that “the more voices of reason the President hears, the better… Are you aware of a single case where Trump bowed to criticism or media attacks?”

Meanwhile, Mexico’s richest man, Carlos Slim, has called a rare press conference for today. Stay tuned and enjoy the weekend.