Thursday, April 4, 2019

At Wits End after a Wits Hunt on the AZ border

“Wits” is the nickname for the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. But it also refers to smarts. Consider the dictionary entry:

wit
/wit/
noun
plural noun: wits
1. mental sharpness and inventiveness; keen intelligence.
“he does not lack perception or native wit”
synonyms: intelligence, shrewdness, astuteness, cleverness, canniness, acuteness, acuity, sharpness, sharp-wittedness, sense, good sense, common sense, wisdom, sagacity, judgment, understanding, acumen, discernment, perception, insight, percipience, perspicacity …

All these are things we would hope to have realized in our governmental leaders. But hope is cheap. Consider this morning’s report on Trump’s threatened complete border closure.

The Arizona Republic, via azcentral.com, reports that Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey says he would support border closure after meeting with Trump. (Reprinted as lead article in today’s Daily Star: “Ducey backtracks on border, now says he would support Trump on ‘short’ closure”) Here are lead snippets.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey softened his stance on a possible U.S.-Mexico border closure after meeting with President Donald Trump on Wednesday, saying he would support Trump if he opted for a shutdown but hoped any closure would be “as short as possible.”

The Oval Office meeting came two days after Ducey had said he “of course” did not want to see the border close. He’d pointed to Mexico’s status as “our No. 1 trading partner, times four” and said he wanted “to see us continue to be able to trade,” confirming that the White House was aware of his position.

Ducey again called trade with Mexico “incredibly important” after his Wednesday discussion with Trump.

“But, border security comes first,” he told reporters in Washington, D.C.

The governor indicated the president had not made a final decision regarding a border closure, despite multiple threats to do so over the last week. On Twitter and in conversations with reporters, Trump had repeatedly said Mexico needed to help block the recent swell of migrant families at the border or face the consequences.

The consequences of the threatened closure are severe and now well known: The Hill reports that the Border closure could cost billions. Billions with a “B” - every single day. The auto industry, for example, would crash: NBC New reports that Closing the border with Mexico could bring the auto industry to a halt, experts say. “Roughly 37 percent of the imported parts used on U.S.-made vehicles are imported from Mexico.” Like your guacamole? Forget it. USA Today reports that If Trump closes Mexican border, avocados could cost more.

A Trump administration shutdown of the U.S.-Mexico border would quickly spread across the economy, spiking fruit and vegetable prices, spawning food shortages, shutting production lines and throwing Americans out of work, at least temporarily.

“With thousands of trucks and trains and cars crossing the border each day, you’d have huge backlogs, rotting produce and ripple effects across the supply chain,” says Dan Griswold, senior research fellow and trade expert at George Mason University. “The effect would be immediate and devastating for industry.”

Considering all that bad, why would any responsible person in their right mind close the border?

A Wits Hunt

After contemplating the premises for that question, I figured I’d better conduct the first Sky Island Scriber Wits Hunt. All I could come up with is some Nit Wit, our president, threatening a long-term complete closure that would do serious damage tot the national economy. Also resulting from my Hunt is a Half Wit, the Arizona Governor, who wants just a short term closure trashing the economy of his own state.

Being at Wits End, I had to prematurely terminate my search.

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