More Great Moments in Government Spending

Apparently, 3-1/2 miles of new border wall near San Diego will cost at least $57 million, or $16.3 million a mile (or a bit over $3000 per foot).  For comparison, the 350 mile long Maginot line cost France about $150 million in the 1930s, or about $2.3 Billion in today's dollars.  This puts the cost of the Maginot line, underground tunnels, bunkers, gun emplacements, and all, at $6.5 million current dollars per mile.  Of course, the Maginot line was not built as a continuous wall to catch individual infiltrators, but on the other hand the San Diego wall is (presumably) not being built  30 kilometers deep with layered emplacements to handle massed tank and artillery attacks.

It could be worse for taxpayers - they could be laying railroad track instead of building a wall, since that costs about $96 million per mile here in Phoenix.

I can't wait for those huge administration cost savings that are promised from nationalizing health care.

Update: I just thought of one other comparison- like the Maginot line, at least one end of this San Diego wall hangs in the air, meaning it just ends hundreds of miles before the border does, allowing it to be easily flanked.


  1. Highway:

    Maybe they should just build a light rail line along the border. It would cost about the same. And noone wants to ride light rail, so it would keep people away. :)

  2. The Whited Sepulchre:

    I hope you believe that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
    Thanks for the post.

  3. Kyle Bennett:

    Don't worry, the illegal immigrants would *never* come through Belgium the open desert, their tanks could never get through the Ardennes they won't risk the heat and lack of water.

  4. Anonymous:

    Didn't the Germans flank the Maginot Line?

  5. Xmas:

    30 meters deep. Not 30 kilometers deep.

  6. Kyle Bennett:


    Wikipedia says 20-25 kilometers. It wasn't so much a wall as a vaguely linear system of layered fortifications.

  7. Ari Herzog:

    I hope people in San Diego and Tijuana are not using social networking tools to communicate, for if so, this wall serves no purpose.

  8. Ekonomix:

    This is peanuts. Iraq war costs $500+ billion.


  9. Yoshidad:

    If you throw health care in with the anti-immigrant wall, you're mixing apples & oranges. One is public service, the other is Boeing service (I think Boeing is the prime contractor for the wall). Public policy is important, and intelligent public policy serves us all. Throwing the good the bad and the ugly all into one pot without distinction is at least illegitimate argument, if not downright deceptive.

    Just because the wall is crap doesn't mean government-run health care would be. Medicare is already delivers care with less expense than privatized HMOs. Just because it's government doesn't mean it's crap. There's plenty of private crap too.

    BTW, we had all better hope that government is effective, too -- after all, we're paying for (at least) the fire department to protect our property. Or perhaps we should privatize fire protection -- for example to the guys who designed that Pinto gas tank for Ford. They know from fire...

    Yep, Ford knew that Pinto gas tank would kill people, but were satisfied that those injury suits would be less costly than fixing the problem. Private business in action, ain't it grand?!

    BTW, is U.S. citizenship a kind of license?... (Is that anti-consumer?)

    As for the immigrants: Passing G.H.W. Bush's NAFTA led to a 34% decline in real incomes in Mexico -- equivalent to the U.S. Great Depression -- and a $20 billion bailout to deal with capital flight. Yes, Clinton and Newt passed NAFTA, but Clinton only added labor and environmental protections he didn't enforce. The Bush 41 administration was the author.

    Anyway, after sponsoring some illegal wars in Central America, creating plenty of war refugees, with NAFTA, the U.S. acted to create even more economic refugees by sending subsidized Iowa corn south to put Mexican subsistence corn farmers out of business. How subsidized? 40% of U.S. agricultural income is subsidy. It's essentially laundering money for Cargill and ADM.

    Gee, I wonder why those Mexicans and Nicaraguans are coming north?

    But no, we couldn't possibly acknowledge that stuff... so let's build a wall. Warren is right, the wall is crap. It's important to remember the public policy that got us there was full of crap, denial of responsibility, you know... the usual mental illness. And the wall was built to serve Boeing, not the public.

    Warren's sarcastic comment about government-sponsored health care throws the baby out with the bath water -- a frequent Coyote blog tactic.

    Uncontroversial facts: The U.S. has the most expensive health care in the world. The next most expensive single-payer insurance / health care plan is Germany's single-payer plan which spends about 60% of U.S. costs.

    Despite its enormous costs, U.S. health care outcomes are awful. The World Health Organization ranks the U.S. 37th in health outcomes like life expectancy, infant mortality, etc. -- about at the level of Costa Rica. The difference: the U.S. pays six times what Costa Rica does. The best outcomes come with single-payer plans. The single-payer French have the best outcomes, and with the rich food they eat, having better life expectancy is quite an accomplishment!

    Demonstrating that while you can show the patient the exit to the padded cell, you cannot make him go out, a Coyote commenter previously noted that the U.S. actually has better medical care because, if you have cancer, U.S. recovery rates are superior to the French, for example. Of course the French have lower overall death rates from cancer (they get it less often), but we U.S. citizens can be reassured that our treatment is better once we've got the disease.... as we're discussing the bill with our oncologist.

    Believing this setup is better is equivalent to our tendency to build exercise out of daily life by building suburban sprawl -- a concrete manifestation of our deficient mental health. So after we're depressed because we had to spend a huge chunk of our paycheck to own the compulsory auto, now drug manufacturers can charge us for Prozac which is costlier and has worse side-effects than exercise at treating depression... Ah sprawl! Yet another excellent example of government in the service of private interests. Sort of the way they've contracted with Boeing to build the wall.

    The current Bush administration is probably the champ at bilking the public for such crap. After all, why stop at the wall? Why not mention Iraq ($3 trillion and counting), or New Orleans.

    Why three-quarters of George W's net worth came from a stadium scam where the public supported such private interests. (See David Cay Johnston's "Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense" book for this and many other truly disgusting scams.)

    But there's a distinction to be made here: single-payer health care is public money spent for public service. The wall, the Texas Rangers' stadium...these are scams to steal from the public, not serve them.

    Both are possible. You can have good public policy or your house is at risk for fire, the drugs you're taking may be fake, and the food you're eating could be poisonous. Whichever you choose...8^)

  10. Xmas:


    I'm looking at the word "deep" and seeing how far underground the bunkers went, which was about 30 meters.

    Damn overloaded words.

  11. Esox Lucius:

    xmas, Don't know for sure but "deep" is a substitute for "wide" sometimes. My grandfather used to use "deep" when giving measurements for things like desks and rooms. Though it does get confusing if the line actually had an underground component. The must mean 30km of redundant battlements, not that I have ever been there...

  12. Kyle Bennett:


    Ahh, understandable misunderstanding. I was thinking "deep" in terms of penetration distance by an enemy force. But it does have underground construction as well. I don't know which Warren actually meant, not that it's really vital to the point.

    I see Yoshi chimed in again. Has anybody bothered reading it? Did he say anything new? Show any signs of intelligence or honesty?

  13. More Government!:

    We should start a regulatory agency! For instance, look what the TSA knows how to do:

  14. jimk:

    Ahh, Yoshidad

    Trotting out the Pinto canard among many others you have thrown out on this board. Given the massive amount of time you apparently spend on the internet you should know that that story has been shown to be incorrect in many of the major areas that are accepted as conventional wisdom at this point.

    See the following:

    Also watch the following video on youtube where Milton Friedman demolishes a college student over the Pinto issue and reminds us that we make life and death decisions every day based on cost and each day we assign a value to our lives weather we realize it or not.

  15. Clouse:


    Here is an excellent video debunking some of your single payer health care myths. And other things socialist.

  16. Dr. T:

    Please stop replying to YoshiTroll. He's less likely to return if we ignore him.

  17. Dr. T:

    Please stop replying to YoshiTroll. He's less likely to return if we ignore him.