Breakingviews: The $22 billion Trump wall is a bad investment choice

Rob Cox

US-Mexican border
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

It's what Donald Trump might call a "classy" problem: How to spend $21.6 billion. That's the amount the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says the president's promised wall on the border with Mexico will cost, according to an internal report seen by Reuters. Even without the overruns that would probably jack the price up, it's a bad investment choice.

Trump's wall — actually a mix of fences and walls — is more a political symbol than a practical barrier. The president and the U.S. Congress need to weigh the cost of the wall against other uses of the money — the opportunity cost, as businessmen like Trump sometimes say.

The commander-in-chief supports a stronger military. Some Manhattan real-estate style negotiations with Huntington Ingalls Industries might enable him to squeeze out two new aircraft carriers similar to the $13 billion USS Gerald R. Ford for the price of the wall.

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