Top White House advisor Jared Kushner has become the great genius the Republican Party hopes can end President Donald Trump’s government shutdown. But when asked about it, Kushner dropped a lot of corporate marketing language to try and explain the discrepancy between the tens of billions of dollars experts have calculated the wall will cost and the request for merely $5 billion.
Kushner “aid he was bringing good outside business knowledge to the wall negotiations,” Politico reported in their daily newsletter. “He said the reason the wall price was going up was because of an increase in customer utilization for the border. Customer demand, he said, results in overruns.”
Customer utilization means people using the border. So, Kushner is saying that because more people are crossing the border, estimations in 2017 were higher than 2018 estimates. Trump has argued that there is a national security crisis on the border, but if the “customer utilization” of the border is down, why is there a greater crisis?
If Kushner meant that customer demand for the materials being used, that demand for steel is likely going to increase because the president’s tariffs have locked out foreign steel and aluminum. Those cost estimations will likely grow higher as the trade war continues.
One of the Department of Homeland Security’s conservative estimations for the border wall was $21.6 billion.
“The report is expected to be presented to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly in coming days, although the administration will not necessarily take actions it recommends,” Reuters reported Feb. 2017. “The plan lays out what it would take to seal the border in three phases of construction of fences and walls covering just over 1,250 miles (2,000 km) by the end of 2020.”
In raw materials, DHS estimated “the border wall could cost nearly $70 billion to build and $150 million a year to maintain. An internal report by the Department of Homeland Security said the wall could cost about $21.6 billion, not including maintenance,” the New York Times reported.
They also found that the wall would likely require taking land from many farmers, ranchers and other property owners on the border. If there are lawsuits, those will cost tax-payer dollars, and if the citizens demand payment for their land that is seized, it will also cost money.