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Tulsa World editorial: Don't shut down the government to force border wall funding

A border wall is a dubious strategy that isn’t worth it

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President Trump is threatening a government shutdown if Congress doesn’t agree to fund his border wall.

Lawmakers have until Sept. 30 to pass a budget or, the more likely scenario at this point, a continuing resolution. The alternative would be a government shutdown, which would close some, but not all federal activities.

Leaving aside his often repeated promise that Mexico was going to pay for the wall, a government shutdown will only further damage the reputations of the nation, the Republican Party and Trump himself.

Sadly, our nation has gone through a series of government shutdowns in recent years, as divided government came to loggerheads. To their shame, both parties have used shutdowns tactically to leverage budget concessions and pass blame. While those experiences have washed away some of the fear factor involved in a shutdown, they have remained very unpopular with the public and for good reason: They reflect a government that can’t control its own business.

With the Republican Party in control of both houses of Congress and the presidency, there seems little doubt about who would get the blame this time, especially if the final issue came down to building a border wall, Trump’s signature campaign promise.

We’ve never seen much use in a border wall. It’s very expensive and, at best, would only inconvenience those determined to enter the nation illegally. As long as the world makes ladders and shovels, a wall by itself is pretty flimsy protection.

A border wall is a simple-minded strategy for a complex problem. At a time when the nation is up to its ears in debts, it would pile on more red ink. It isn’t a good idea, and it certainly isn’t worth another government shutdown.

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