From The Washington Post:
Mexico needs help now. Can President Trump overcome his grudges and provide it?
After a devastating earthquake, it’s time for solidarity.
By León Krauze | September 20, 2017 | 11:58 AM
Early in the morning of Sept. 19, 1985, a ferocious earthquake shook Mexico City. For almost two minutes, the wobbly metropolis trembled and jumped, jolted by a movement not felt since a 1957 tremor, which toppled the Angel de la Independencia, one of the city’s most renowned landmarks, from its 120-foot column. In 1985, the golden statue stood aloft, but the consequences of the earthquake were otherwise devastating: Hundreds of buildings collapsed within seconds, including hotels, hospitals, theaters and scores of apartment complexes. Close to a million people were left homeless, living in makeshift camps, in some cases for years on end. More than 12,000 people died, according to some estimates.
On Tuesday, exactly 32 years later, another violent earthquake struck the Mexican capital, a jerk of a tremor that whiplashed the city a few minutes before lunch. Forty buildings buckled, the harrowing scenes broadcast over the Internet like a live version of an apocalyptic movie. By nightfall, Mexico’s government had confirmed more than 200 people dead, with many more buried in the rubble all over Mexico City (the city’s strict building codes prevented a worse outcome). The number of structures that have suffered severe fundamental damage could reach the hundreds. In southern Mexico City, the heartbreak became almost unbearable when authorities confirmed the collapse of the Enrique Rebsamen elementary school, where dozens of children have died and more are missing.
And yet, from within the cloud of unspeakable tragedy, a silver lining has glimmered through. Like in 1985, Mexican solidarity has lifted a country sunk in violence and acrimonious political and social discontent. Scores of volunteers spontaneously joined authorities and first responders, including the Mexican armed forces, to dig through the rubble. People took to the streets to offer water and food, activists quickly established collection centers, and social media worked its virtuous magic, connecting possible volunteers with places where they were needed.
There’s much more at the original, but I don’t want to exceed ‘fair use’ guidelines. Suffice it to say that Mr Krauze, the author, continues to note how the United States helped Mexico following the 1985 earthquake, and Mexico sent sent a 45-vehicle army convoy with 200 men to help, and provided some assistance following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey last month. He concludes by urging President Trump to forget his “long, unfair and very public confrontation with Mexico and its citizens on both sides of the border,” and provide assistance to Mexico.
However, as of September 19, 2017, our national debt hit $20,173,203,847,678.44, well over our 2016 gross domestic product of $18.57 trillion. Mark Zandi at Moody’s Analytics estimates damage from hurricanes Irma and Harvey to total between $150 billion and $200 billion, and that damage could slow output by another $20 to $30 billion.
We are still borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars, and earlier this month President Trump had to sign an extension of the debt ceiling until December 8, 2017. The federal government will run up another half trillion dollars in debt every fiscal year until President Trump’s (first?) term is up. The American people are already taxed too heavily, yet our taxes don’t match the amount that our governments — federal, state and local — spend. It’s time to say, “No,” to helping Mexico, it’s time to say, “No,” to helping other nations, and start taking care of our own people.
Cross-posted on The First Street Journal.
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