After descending the Trump Tower escalator in 2015, Donald Trump famously pledged to build a great, great wall.
"And I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words," he said.
Until we see the cash from Mexico, a transfer about as likely as the official release of the presidential tax return, the Trump administration needs interim financing for the "impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful" barrier.
The president could collect donations from his Cabinet of billionaires and chip in a few bucks, but I think Congressman Don Young has come up with the perfect plan to pay for Trump's barrier — Mexico Wall Bonds.
"I want to sell Wall Bonds," Young told a public forum on oceans policy in Washington, D.C., last week.
"If you want to build a wall, then sell Wall Bonds," Young said. He got a big laugh from the oceanic D.C. crowd, but this is a great idea. "Think about this, it's a play off of War Bonds."
Fans of the wall would be able to put up money and collect 2.5 percent interest, Young said.
I don't see this as a hot investment for the Permanent Fund but it might be equal to Conan O'Brien's pledge drive for the wall in Mexico City. For 500 pesos, you could get your name on a brick, while a 1,000-peso donor would receive an "I paid for the wall" tote bag.
Young, 83, is selling the bond idea as a joke, but I'm happy to see he's not buying the wall.
He was one of six Republicans who voted against the Secure Fence Act of 2006 during the Bush administration. At the time, a Texas Democrat said Republicans were trying to con Americans into thinking that "Osama bin Laden is heading north in a sombrero."
Young said his "no" vote back then had nothing to do with humanitarian instincts but with his conviction that fences fail and the billions could be better spent elsewhere.
Trump has promised a beautiful and inexpensive wall but Young has a better handle on this.
"It won't work. That's that simple," he said.
I think what really set Young off was the foolish talk from the Trump administration about getting some money to pay for the wall by cutting funding for the Coast Guard.
Young says he has always been a "big Coast Guard guy," he dislikes the idea of diverting money to a wall that won't work, and it is Congress, not the president, that decides on appropriations.
As for the bonds, he told the crowd that if the idea ever takes hold, they should remember they heard it from him.
"I've been trying to talk this up," he said.
"That's awesome," moderator David Golden of Eastman Chemical said.
It turns out that Young is not the only one with this awesome idea.
A like-minded wall visionary wrote in a January letter to the editor of the Bitterroot Star that the buyers of Wall Bonds could get their money back just as soon as Mexico pays for the wall.
Columnist Dermot Cole can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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