0
   

Closed Border = Profit?

 
 
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2018 01:16 pm
In a recent tweet, President Trump claims that closing the border completely would be profitable because of money lost on trade, including the illegal drug trade:
Quote:
....The United States looses soooo much money on Trade with Mexico under NAFTA, over 75 Billion Dollars a year (not including Drug Money which would be many times that amount), that I would consider closing the Southern Border a “profit making operation.” We build a Wall or.....

The question is whether closing the border would actually stop the flow of drugs and, if not, how would they get in? What if all traffic in and out of the US was stopped completely? Is that even feasible? Are there sufficient military resources to fully police the borders in this way?

If tourism and trade continue, is it really feasible to fully check everything for drug shipments? Do body scanners register swallowed drug-balloons and is everyone even body-scanned when traveling anymore or are there just random scans?

Further, if cross-border drug trade was stopped completely, what would all the users in the US do with the money? Buy alcohol? Would the market for domestically-produced illegal drugs grow to fill the gap left by cutting off imports?
 
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2018 02:46 pm
@livinglava,
This question (and any Trump tweet behind it) is insane. There is over $500 billions dollars of trade between Mexico and the US. Closing the border would mean shortages of auto parts, fruits and vegetables among other things. It would lead to massive layoffs on farms from pork and dairy and massive losses to tech companies.

This would be intolerable pain the the US economy (not to mention the Mexican economy). And.... by hurting the economies of our neighbors, it increases the pressure to migrate.

This is an insane idea.
livinglava
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2018 03:51 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

This question (and any Trump tweet behind it) is insane. There is over $500 billions dollars of trade between Mexico and the US. Closing the border would mean shortages of auto parts, fruits and vegetables among other things. It would lead to massive layoffs on farms from pork and dairy and massive losses to tech companies.

This would be intolerable pain the the US economy (not to mention the Mexican economy). And.... by hurting the economies of our neighbors, it increases the pressure to migrate.

This is an insane idea.

That doesn't address the OP. Please go back and read the thread question and comment on that specifically.

I'm not making any assumptions about any other aspect of the border-closing issue except whether or not it would stop the flow of illegal drugs and how, and if so what the consequences of that would be. Please address this issue specifically and not the broader concerns you raise in your post.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2018 04:12 pm
@livinglava,
You are asking if gouging out you own eye with a plastic spoon might lower your risk of cancer.... I suppose I should answer the cancer question .

There are effictive ways to stop the drug trade. We could do away with the fourth amendment to allow police to search your house without a warrant or force you to take drug tests on the street without any evidence.. We could make drug use subject to the death penalty. We could make needles illegal so people can't inject or paper illegal so people can't make joints.

All of these ideas are insane because of the costs.

If shutting down the US economy is worth it to stop people from using drugs is worth it, who knows... maybe it would work.

But that doesn't make this a serious question. Asking if something work without asking the cost isn't a reasonable exercise because you don't define how far you would go? If everyone is dead, there will be no drug use.
livinglava
 
  0  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2018 04:52 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

There are effictive ways to stop the drug trade. We could do away with the fourth amendment to allow police to search your house without a warrant or force you to take drug tests on the street without any evidence.. We could make drug use subject to the death penalty. We could make needles illegal so people can't inject or paper illegal so people can't make joints.

I don't know that any of those ideas would work if traffickers are able to move the stuff around from person to person faster than the police could check them.

Quote:
If shutting down the US economy is worth it to stop people from using drugs is worth it, who knows... maybe it would work.

I'm not addressing whether or not it is 'worth it,' only whether it would work or not, and why.

Quote:
But that doesn't make this a serious question. Asking if something work without asking the cost isn't a reasonable exercise because you don't define how far you would go? If everyone is dead, there will be no drug use.

All I was addressing is Trump's claim that the money being spent on imported drugs would be redirected into the US economy. Cocaine is grown in South America, as I understand it, and it also seems to be very popular with big spenders; so if you put two and two together, Trump is right that stopping the trafficking of cocaine up through central America would keep a great deal of money in the US.

But then the question is what all those coke heads would do with their money. Would they buy other illegal drugs produced in the US? Would cocaine find another way in, e.g. through the northern border?

In short, what would the social and economic effects of stopping cocaine imports be?

0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Sat 29 Dec, 2018 10:13 am
@livinglava,
People who want drugs will find a way to buy them, and people who have drugs will find a way to sell them. The only thing that changes with restriction (any type of restriction) is the price of the drug. The tighter the restrictions the higher the price. Actual usage is virtually unchanged. So no, tightening border restrictions will not cause the money to be spent elsewhere.
livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 29 Dec, 2018 10:29 am
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:

People who want drugs will find a way to buy them, and people who have drugs will find a way to sell them. The only thing that changes with restriction (any type of restriction) is the price of the drug. The tighter the restrictions the higher the price. Actual usage is virtually unchanged. So no, tightening border restrictions will not cause the money to be spent elsewhere.

If that was the case, why would you expect carbon taxes (on fuel) to reduce levels of fuel usage?

To answer that for drugs, though, what you are forgetting is that the reason the price is going up is because scarcity is increasing. That means there is less to buy and so buyers bid up the price in hopes that they won't be the one stuck going without due to the scarcity.

The other side to supply-and-demand, however, is that the rising price motivates the supply side to produce more. In the case of cocaine imports, that would mean finding more secure pathways to connect producers with consumers.

For border control, this means doing more to discover the new pathways and block them. I'm not sure a border wall would be enough. Drug traffickers could be producing everything from cars and car parts to toys packed with cocaine in the most unpredictable ways.

They could be chemically dissolving drugs into plastics and other substances, which would have to be processed once in the US to recover the dissolved cocaine, for example. I don't know why this would be preferable to just synthesizing the stuff from scratch in US drug labs, but users probably have a bias against synthetic drugs, even though there doesn't seem to be much natural about cocaine after its been chemically altered for shipping as plastic or whatever they make it into.

I think the main purpose of the border wall, however, is to stop human beings and their children from being used as mules to swallow balloons filled with drugs and carry the stuff in that way. It's really sad when you realize that all the effort being put into protecting children from border control just makes them that much more of a target to use as mules, i.e. because they won't be held in custody long enough to pass the drug balloon they've swallowed if they are protected against detention.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Dec, 2018 10:43 am
@livinglava,
Quote:
If that was the case, why would you expect carbon taxes (on fuel) to reduce levels of fuel usage?

To answer that for drugs, though, what you are forgetting is that the reason the price is going up is because scarcity is increasing. That means there is less to buy and so buyers bid up the price in hopes that they won't be the one stuck going without due to the scarcity.


I agree with you on this. Increasing enforcement raises prices. Raising prices decreases consumption. Not only is this textbook economics... it is also what actually happens. Increased enforcement clearly decreases consumption. The question is the unintended social cost of these measures.

Quote:
I think the main purpose of the border wall, however, is to stop human beings and their children from being used as mules to swallow balloons filled with drugs and carry the stuff in that way. It's really sad when you realize that all the effort being put into protecting children from border control just makes them that much more of a target to use as mules, i.e. because they won't be held in custody long enough to pass the drug balloon they've swallowed if they are protected against detention.


This is complete bullshit. It doesn't even make sense. People who "swallow balloons filled with drugs" come legally... on an airplane or in a car. People who cross the border illegally are either planning not to get caught, or are planning to turn themselves over to the border control to ask for asylum. In either of these cases smuggling hidden drugs makes no sense. Smuggling drugs in this caravan would be ridiculously stupid, it would be slow and inefficient. There are much better, more secure and faster ways to smuggle drugs.

The wall is a political gimmick. It is designed to placate people on the political right who want to stop any form of migration... but even if it were built, it wouldn't do very much good for anything. It won't do anything to stop drug trafficking, and it will do little to stop migration.

It's only purpose is to make people on the political right feel good... a $20 billion monument to White Pride.


livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 29 Dec, 2018 11:59 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

I agree with you on this. Increasing enforcement raises prices. Raising prices decreases consumption. Not only is this textbook economics... it is also what actually happens. Increased enforcement clearly decreases consumption. The question is the unintended social cost of these measures.

I don't think it's quite that simple, as the recent fuel tax protests have shown. Some people just pay the additional cost without altering their behavior, because they can afford to. Others, especially those who use the fuel as a business expense calculate the added costs into their business and then cut other expenses to pay for the fuel.

Without alternatives, people just go on doing what they do and stronger measures are needed. At some point you just have to prohibit or ration certain practices, like driving and energy use above a certain threshold.

Quote:
I think the main purpose of the border wall, however, is to stop human beings and their children from being used as mules to swallow balloons filled with drugs and carry the stuff in that way. It's really sad when you realize that all the effort being put into protecting children from border control just makes them that much more of a target to use as mules, i.e. because they won't be held in custody long enough to pass the drug balloon they've swallowed if they are protected against detention.


This is complete bullshit. It doesn't even make sense. People who "swallow balloons filled with drugs" come legally... on an airplane or in a car. People who cross the border illegally are either planning not to get caught, or are planning to turn themselves over to the border control to ask for asylum. In either of these cases smuggling hidden drugs makes no sense. Smuggling drugs in this caravan would be ridiculously stupid, it would be slow and inefficient. There are much better, more secure and faster ways to smuggle drugs.[/quote]
Denial. Poor people are cheap vehicles for drugs. People flying on airplanes are more expensive, though I'm sure they are used to. Idk if body scanners can register swallowed balloons. I think they just register metal.

Quote:
The wall is a political gimmick. It is designed to placate people on the political right who want to stop any form of migration... but even if it were built, it wouldn't do very much good for anything. It won't do anything to stop drug trafficking, and it will do little to stop migration.

It's only purpose is to make people on the political right feel good... a $20 billion monument to White Pride.

Do you realize that everything you're saying here sounds like typical liberal jargon designed to dissuade the wall from being built?

For me it is neither about any kind of racial/ethnic pride or as a monument to xenophobia and nationalism. I see it purely as a tool for stopping trafficking, which exploits the poor for the benefit of rich consumers of drugs and prostitution.

I don't understand how the Democrats can claim to want to protect the poor and then they want to liberalize the borders where poor people are exploited as drug mules.

They need to sort out their priorities: either stop protecting the illegal drug industry and organized crime with subtly liberal law enforcement policies or admit that they are for exploiting the poor for the indulgence of the rich in prostitution, drugs, porn, and everything else that can be produced illegally by exploiting desperate poor people as migrants.

Believe me I am not against migration as something people can do in their own interest in a responsible way. What I'm against is the exploitation of migration as a means of exploiting people economically. Democrats should admit that there is exploitation at the level of migration and put forth ideas for liberating people from it so that true, non-exploitative migration can occur.
maxdancona
 
  3  
Reply Sat 29 Dec, 2018 02:57 pm
@livinglava,
Can you provide any evidence of people swallowing balloons of drugs to cross the border illegally? I just looked... every case I can find where this happened involved people travelling legally by air (e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Montoya_De_Hernandez).

I think you are just making stuff up. Not only doesn't it make any sense to me, I can find zero evidence that this has ever happened.

If we are going to debate policy... let's at least get the facts right.
livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 30 Dec, 2018 10:55 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Can you provide any evidence of people swallowing balloons of drugs to cross the border illegally? I just looked... every case I can find where this happened involved people travelling legally by air (e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Montoya_De_Hernandez).

I think you are just making stuff up. Not only doesn't it make any sense to me, I can find zero evidence that this has ever happened.

If we are going to debate policy... let's at least get the facts right.

It is obvious because it is an easy method to transport drugs. I read one report where someone had to be detained for a very long time before she finally gave up and passed the drug balloon into custody. You can put as many layers of condoms around a shipment and predict how many hours/days the thing will last until it breaches. People can pass a balloon, wash it and reswallow it if they need to.

I don't think those body scanners at airports can detect swallowed bags of drugs. I wonder if they've considered giving people random sonogram examinations to detect the drugs.

When you complain that there's no evidence and use that as a rationalization for denial, you are serving the interest of the traffickers who get away with it precisely because it is hidden. If all trafficking pathways were known, there wouldn't be any cocaine in the US or anywhere else in the world where the stuff is illegal, would there?

Clearly if we are serious about stopping the drug trade and thus the hemorrhaging of money to traffickers, we have to think about all possible routes the stuff can take. Using human bodies as containers/vehicles is just an obvious one, especially when you realize there were catch-and-release policies under the previous administration that meant traffickers could send children across the border with adults to prevent them from being detained.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Sun 30 Dec, 2018 11:07 am
@livinglava,
You are basing your arguments on your imagination. I was hanging around to see if there was any substance to your fantasy. Now I think we have reached the end of this silly discussion.
livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 30 Dec, 2018 11:59 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

You are basing your arguments on your imagination. I was hanging around to see if there was any substance to your fantasy. Now I think we have reached the end of this silly discussion.

Google 'drug mule.'

Your argument is based on your belief that only airplane passengers can swallow condoms filled with drugs.

You don't seem to want to acknowledge that poor people can be sent across the border without taking an airplane.

You also don't seem to want to acknowledge that a catch-and-release policy invites traffickers to send children together with mules and/or as mules themselves because they know they won't be detained until they pass the shipment into custody as evidence.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Sun 30 Dec, 2018 12:09 pm
@livinglava,
You are making stuff up, stating things from your own imagination as if they were facts. I did google "drug mule"....

- I found lots of examples of people swallowing drugs to evade airport security. I found zero examples of people swallowing "balloons" filled with drugs while crossing the border illegally.

- I also found that swallowed drugs can be detected using an abdominal x-ray.

I am debating against your imagination. It is getting less fun.
livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 30 Dec, 2018 03:17 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

You are making stuff up, stating things from your own imagination as if they were facts. I did google "drug mule"....

- I found lots of examples of people swallowing drugs to evade airport security. I found zero examples of people swallowing "balloons" filled with drugs while crossing the border illegally.

- I also found that swallowed drugs can be detected using an abdominal x-ray.

I am debating against your imagination. It is getting less fun.

Probably huge numbers of border crossers are paid to distract agents while only certain people are used as actual mules. The illegal drug industry is very lucrative and can afford to employ complex strategies and even waste a lot of product in order to get the rest in. It is not that different a concept as fast food restaurants wasting food so they can get more sales because the cost of the raw materials are so much less than what people pay for the finished product.

Sorry if you feel it's all just imaginary. I don't think it is. I think there's a huge number of people who party on cocaine and indulge in prostitution, so drug trafficking and human trafficking are lucrative smuggling operations. In areas where poor people are considered expendable, people can raise them like animals for their meat/sex and as mules to carry drugs. It is a form of modern slavery and it's disturbing that the liberals ignore it because much of their voter base supports liberalization of recreational drugs and sex.
maxdancona
 
  3  
Reply Sun 30 Dec, 2018 03:44 pm
@livinglava,
Quote:
Probably huge numbers of border crossers are paid to distract agents...


This is from your imagination. You have provided no evidence that it is true. You haven't claimed to have any particular expertise... I don't know if you have had any contact with the illegal drug trade, or spent any time at the border, or even talked to an immigrant.

You state it as a fact because you imagine it is true.

There is a big difference between reality and your imagination. It is imagination when you make statements like this with no real knowledge.

I almost certainly have more knowledge about the experience of undocumented immigrants than you do... I have spent some time volunteering and have close friends who crossed the border illegally. I have spoken to people I know well about what the experience is like. There are some things I know. There are somethings I don't have any way of knowing if they are true or not. I don't make things up.

Arguing with your imagination is frustrating. You don't know what you are talking about... there is no reason that you would. Yet, you make these statements without even considering that your imagination might be wrong.

livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 30 Dec, 2018 03:51 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Quote:
Probably huge numbers of border crossers are paid to distract agents...


This is from your imagination. You have provided no evidence that it is true. You haven't claimed to have any particular expertise... I don't know if you have had any contact with the illegal drug trade, or spent any time at the border, or even talked to an immigrant.

You state it as a fact because you imagine it is true.

There is a big difference between reality and your imagination. When you make statements like this with no real knowledge it is imagination.

I almost certainly have more knowledge about the experience of undocumented immigrants than you do... I have spent some time volunteering and have close friends who crossed illegally. I have spoken to people I know well about what the experience is like.

This is why your imagination is frustrating. You don't know what you are talking about... there is no reason that you would.

Arguing with your imagination is quickly losing my interest.

Do you think that people are being told how they're being used by cartels? Do you think when someone is bullied into going to the US that they are told they are going to be used as part of an elaborate trafficking strategy?

If you don't want to discuss it further, don't; but don't pretend like imagination isn't needed where covert trafficking is kept secret precisely so people like you can deny the obvious.

Do you not realize how obvious it is that ground-based travelers can be used as balloon-swallowers as easily or more so than airplane travelers? What in your imagination is telling you that traffickers would avoid asking poor migrants on the ground to swallow drug-balloons and get their kids to swallow them too?

Just to make this discussion a little more interesting, don't you think that the drugs shipped in the abdomens of airplane tourists are more expensive, elite versions of the drugs than the stuff shipped over the ground in the abdomens of poor people and children? Any product has more and less elite versions. Policing airplane mules would drive up the cost of the elite stuff, but policing the bulk stuff more would drive up the cost of that, which would be horrendous because higher prices in the largest markets would result in more crimes committed to get more money to pay for the drugs. The benefit, however, would be more opportunities to catch offenders and jail them, in hopes that they wouldn't be used for trafficking inside the prisons.
maxdancona
 
  3  
Reply Sun 30 Dec, 2018 04:01 pm
@livinglava,
You are using your imagination... and now you are asking me to use my imagination. We don't have to imagine, there are facts available. The facts contradict your fantasy.

I provided you with a link to factual news stories of people swallowing drugs and getting on an airplane. Your imagination says this can't happen. Reality doesn't match your imagination.

Any number of sources, including the US border patrol, will tell you that the vast majority of drugs (cocaine, heroin, meth) are being "smuggled in trucks, or private vehicles" along with legitimate cargo.

You keep on arguing based on what you imagine to be true.... without any regard to facts or evidence. That is frustrating. I don't have to imagine anything. I can look at the real facts from the DEA and the Border Patrol (the people with actual expertise on the topic).

Quote:
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) notes that Mexican criminal organizations move most of their illegal goods over the Southwest border through ports of entry in passenger vehicles or tractor trailers.13 In passenger vehicles, the drugs may be held in secret compartments; while in tractor trailers, the drugs are often mingled with other legitimate goods. Less commonly used methods to move drugs into the United States include smuggling them through cross-border
underground tunnels and on commercial cargo trains, small boats, and ultralight aircraft.14


https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44599.pdf
livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 30 Dec, 2018 04:24 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

You are using your imagination... and now you are asking me to use my imagination. We don't have to imagine, there are facts available. The facts contradict your fantasy.

The facts also necessarily represent a partial picture at best. Otherwise there would be no drugs making it into the US, would there?

Quote:
I provided you with a link to factual news stories of people swallowing drugs and getting on an airplane. Your imagination says this can't happen. Reality doesn't match your imagination.

When did I say that can't happen? What I have been trying to tell you is that we have to use our imaginations beyond the information that's being made available, because there are lots of drugs getting through that aren't being stopped.

Quote:
Any number of sources, including the US border patrol, will tell you that the vast majority of drugs (cocaine, heroin, meth) are being "smuggled in trucks, or private vehicles" along with legitimate cargo.

And, like I said before, waste is factored into the business model. They have to give a certain amount of the stuff and mules to the police to keep them satisfied that they're succeeding in the fight.

Then, they also have to make sure that all their lucrative markets get fully supplied, because they don't want to lose those sales.

Quote:
You keep on arguing based on what you imagine to be true.... without any regard to facts or evidence. That is frustrating. I don't have to imagine anything. I can look at the real facts from the DEA and the Border Patrol (the people with actual expertise on the topic).

So you assume that they have total knowledge of the drug industry they are policing?

Quote:
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) notes that Mexican criminal organizations move most of their illegal goods over the Southwest border through ports of entry in passenger vehicles or tractor trailers.13 In passenger vehicles, the drugs may be held in secret compartments; while in tractor trailers, the drugs are often mingled with other legitimate goods. Less commonly used methods to move drugs into the United States include smuggling them through cross-border
underground tunnels and on commercial cargo trains, small boats, and ultralight aircraft.14

And those could all be decoys to distract the police from the mules.

Something I lack facts on, which I would like to have, is how much cocaine can be carried in the abdomen of an adult as well as children of different ages. I would also like to know the street value of those quantities to know what those human lives are worth to traffickers.

It might also be interesting to see if Trump actually closes the border, i.e. to see if the stuff is still getting through and how. Maybe there are leaks that occur within the border detainment system itself, i.e. by people passing drug-balloons off to others in ways that escape detection.
0 Replies
 
 

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