It was a claim that President Donald Trump repeated on the campaign trail: that he would build a wall and that the Mexicans would pay for it. In his first few days in office, Trump appeared to make good on one portion of that promise, by signing an executive order for the planning and building of that wall to proceed.
But the cost for that wall will temporarily be borne by Americans, Trump said, and Mexico’s government insists it will not pay for the construction on the border. On Thursday, President Donald Trump floated a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico which suggested that until Trump’s promised reimbursement from the Mexicans materializes, Americans would pay for the border wall with their pocketbooks.
The White House clarified afterwards that Trump’s suggestion was an option rather than an official proposal, but social media users quickly questioned the possible uptick in one particular grocery item: avocados, of which 80 percent come from America’s southern neighbor. Though the price of the guacamole’s main ingredient varies from market to market, the creamy green fruit usually costs a few dollars. Assuming a $3 cost, a 20 percent tax would increase the price to $3.60.
Takis, a common packaged food snack, would go from $6 to $7.20, the Washington Post reported. Other staples like tomato paste would also see only a slight markup, from about $1.20 to $1.44.
Overall, Americans would feel the tax across a wide variety of grocery items. The country is America’s second-largest importer of food, and its third-largest trading partner overall, according to Bloomberg.
But the most profitable items marked up wouldn’t be groceries. They would be the electronics, cars and gadgets that are imported from Mexico instead. Leaf blowers and computers could raise more than a hundred dollars for each item sold, according to the Washington Post, and cars — which some of Trump’s other policies have discouraged from being manufactured by American companies overseas.
The amount the tax would raise would vary from product to product, but millions of units — whether it be avocados, cars or electronics — would have to be sold. Republican leaders estimate that a wall on the U.S. Mexico border would cost anywhere from $12 to $15 billion dollars.