U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, the Republican who took John Boehner’s vacated seat in 2016, has an interesting idea to pay for Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico: Just use crypto, baby.
During an interview with NPR’s Morning Edition on Wednesday, Davidson brought up what he called a “modest compromise” that would let Americans crowdfund the wall or pay for it with, uh, blockchain. Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep tried to keep up, but at some points it sounds like he was flabbergasted that this was really what we’re talking about on NPR right now. Me too, Steve!
Inskeep led into Davidson’s segment by talking about how border wall funding has become a flashpoint in Trump’s negotiations with Democratic leaders over the 2019 budget, over which Trump has threatened to shut down the government if he doesn’t get the $5 billion he’s requested. After some back and forth on that note, Inskeep had enough, starting this exchange in an exasperated voice (transcript and emphasis mine, at about 3:20 into the segment):
INSKEEP: Why are we even talking about this when the president said that Mexico was going to pay for the wall?
DAVIDSON: Well I’ve offered a modest compromise called “Buy a Brick Build the Wall,” that we introduced which lets the American people or whoever should choose to donate, Mexicans or otherwise to donate.
INSKEEP: You mean like “this highway is adopted by a certain organization,” you could buy a part of the wall?
DAVIDSON: Well sort of, you could do it with sort of like a crowdfunding site or you could do blockchain, and you could have WallCoins—but you could raise the money, and frankly if we get it right at the treasury we could even accept Mexican pesos.
INSKEEP (sounding even more exasperated now): But what the president is saying is “American taxpayers need to put down 5 billion dollars right now or I will shut down the government.”
Davidson kept going, debating the sematics of wall versus fence and border security in general, at which point Inskeep decided to move on to a different topic of conversation. But, uh...let’s go back to the WallCoin part.
Davidson, you’ll be shocked to learn, is a crypto fan. He’s personally set up a conference between legislators and crypto industry leaders to discuss how best to regulate the technology—he predictably argues for “light touch” regulations favored by some crypto businesses. Earlier this month, Davidson announced a plan for those regulations, though he has yet to introduce a bill.
His “Buy a Brick, Build the Wall” plan would set up a Treasury account where people can donate (to the government, to which they already pay taxes!) toward the construction of the border wall. And so this is what it’s come to—Republican congressmen ignoring reality in favor of arguing that we should build the wall with a Gofundme or launching a shitcoin. Another job well done.