"Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense."
— Robert Frost, Mending Wall
The recent government shutdown over $5 billion worth of security on the Mexican border seems kind of silly.
That’s because $5 billion isn’t that much money. Some people could pay for it themselves.
Billionaires like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, ($112 billion), Microsoft’s Bill Gates, ($90 billion), and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg ($70 billion) could drop $5 billion for President Donald Trump’s wall with no problem.
These super-wealthy Americans could call it a gift to protect the country that made them rich.
Mexico’s Carlos Slim is worth about $75 billion, but I doubt he’s going to pay for it.
Certain others could easily afford the wall, like conservative activists Charles and David Koch ($60 billion each), and Walmart owners Jim, Robson and Alice Walton ($46 billion each).
They would all still be able to afford mega-yachts and go on cruising the planet in personal airliners.
Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, is worth around $20 billion — but he wants a space ship to Mars.
Certain conservative multi-billionaires would still be just as rich as 10 billionaires if they decided to pay for the wall: There’s presidential friend Carl Ichann, who’s worth $16 billion, and Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, who would still be worth $10 billion if he felt the wall was as important and his news commentators say it is.
Other billionaires might be more reticent, as they might have to pinch a few hundred millions here and there to keep their private Caribbean islands and luxury homes in Manhattan and Monaco. But we all know that sometimes sacrifices have to be made.
John Menard Jr., owner of the home improvement chain, would have to spend nearly half of his $11.5 billion net worth, but could get a discount on building supplies.
Broker Charles Schwab could do it with some of his $9.4 billion, but might think it’s a poor investment.
Media tycoon and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi ($8 billion) could build a wall, except most of Italy’s migrants come from across the Mediterranean. Italian fashionista Silvio Armani could build it with his $8.9 billion – and make it look stylish as well.
Liberal hedge fund maven George Soros could liquidate some of his $8 billion net worth, confuse a lot of conservatives in the process, and end up only one mega yacht poorer than President Trump.
That’s because at No. 766 on the Forbes list of world billionaires, and with only $3.1 billion net worth, President Trump would have to take out a loan if he wanted to pay for the wall himself. Then he would have to find another $15 billion to complete it.
He shouldn’t have a problem. Don’t good walls make good neighbors?
Eric Marotta can be reached at 330-541-9433, or email@example.com.