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特朗普送给外国富人的7000亿美元大礼

更新时间:2017-10-29 11:58:49 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Trump’s $700 Billion Gift to Wealthy Foreigners
特朗普送给外国富人的7000亿美元大礼

Why is Donald Trump planning to give away $700 billion — that’s billion, with a “b” — to foreigners, no strings attached? You probably didn’t know that he’s planning to do this. In fact, he himself almost surely has no idea that he’s planning to do this. But it would be one clearly predictable consequence of the tax “reform” he and his congressional allies are trying to pass.

为什么唐纳德·特朗普打算把7000亿美元——没错,是“亿”——拱手交给外国人,而且没有附加条件?你可能不知道他打算这么做。事实上,几乎可以肯定,他本人也不知道自己打算这么做。然而他和他的国会盟友试图通过的税收“改革”,显然会带来这样一个结果。

Some features of the Trump tax plan are still up in the air. For example, we don’t know exactly how upper-middle-class taxpayers will be punished — will they lose their deduction on state and local taxes, some of their tax breaks on retirement accounts, or something else? But the core of the plan is clearly an enormous cut in taxes on corporate profits, which the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates at $2 trillion over the next decade.

特朗普税收计划的某些方面尚未确定。例如,我们并不确切知道中上层纳税人将会受到怎样的惩罚——他们会失去哪些税收减免——州税和地方税中的,退休账户中的,还是其他方面的?但该计划的核心显然是对企业利润税收的大幅削减——据无党派的税收政策中心(Tax Policy Center)估计,那将会在未来十年里减少两万亿美元的税收。

Now, the administration claims that all of this tax cut will be passed on to workers in the form of higher wages. In fact, it claims that the wage gains from the tax cut will be several times as large as the revenue loss.

现在,这届政府声称,所有减少的税收都将以更高工资的形式转移到工人手中。事实上,它声称,减税带来的工资收入增加将是税收损失的数倍。

Few independent analysts believe this. In fact, the administration itself doesn’t believe it. Recently Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, warned that stocks will crash if Congress doesn’t pass tax cuts. But why would stocks crash if all the benefits go to wages rather than profits?

很少有独立分析人士会相信这一点。事实上,这届政府本身也不相信。前不久,财政部长史蒂文·努钦(Steven Mnuchin)警告称,如果国会不通过减税法案,股市将会崩溃。但如果所有的益处都变成了工资,而非利润,为什么股市会崩盘呢?

For what it’s worth, the argument goes like this: Cutting corporate taxes would bring foreign capital into the United States, which would raise investment, which would increase productivity, and this productivity would then get reflected in higher wages. If this sounds like a convoluted and uncertain story, with many weak links in the supposed chain of events that ends up helping workers so much, that’s because it is.

不管是对是错,他们的论述是这样的:削减公司税会把外国资本引入美国,从而增加投资,提高生产率,这将反映在更高的工资上。如果这听起来像一个情节曲折而不确定的故事——在这一系列据称最终会给工人带来诸多益处的事件当中,有许多薄弱环节——那是因为它就是这样一个故事。

There are, in reality, multiple reasons not to believe much of this account, ranging from the fact that a lot of the corporate income we tax represents monopoly profits — which won’t be competed away even if foreign money comes flooding in — to the sheer size of the U.S. economy, which can’t pull in lots of foreign capital without driving up interest rates worldwide.

事实上,我们有很多理由不相信这种说法,首先是基于这样一个事实:我们征税所针对的很多企业收入所代表的是垄断利润,即使外国资金蜂拥而入,这一部分利润也不会被挤掉。此外,美国经济的规模意味着,它不可能在吸引大量外资的同时不推高全球利率。

Also, to the extent that the story makes any sense at all, it’s a story about the very long run. In the short run, drawing in foreign money by cutting taxes on profits would lead to a stronger dollar, which would slow the pace of foreign investment by making U.S. assets look expensive. So we’re talking about a process that would take many years if not decades.

而且,就算这个故事在某种意义上说得通,它也说的是一个长期效应。从短期看,通过削减利润税收来吸引外国资金将导致美元走强,这将使美国资产看起来很昂贵,从而减缓外国投资的步伐。所以这个过程的跨度是要几年甚至几十年的。

Oh, and the stronger dollar would also mean much bigger trade deficits — a consequence of tax cuts that Republicans, strange to say, haven’t advertised, even though the same thing happened during the Reagan years.

哦,美元走强也意味着贸易赤字增加很多——奇怪的是,共和党人没有宣传减税的这一后果,尽管同样的事在里根执政期间就发生过。

Realistically, then, the benefits from cutting corporate taxes would overwhelmingly flow into after-tax profits rather than wages, especially in the first few years and probably for a decade or more. And this in turn means that the main beneficiaries would be stockholders, not workers.

实际上,削减公司税所带来的好处,绝大部分将转变为税后利润,而非工资,尤其是在最初几年,而且很可能会持续十年或更长时间。这就意味着,主要的受益者将是股东,而非工人。

So who are these stockholders, exactly? You can guess part of the answer: We’re talking mainly about the very affluent. Even if we count indirect holdings in retirement accounts and mutual funds, the richest 10 percent of U.S. residents account for about 80 percent of American-owned stocks, and the richest 1 percent own about 40 percent. So we’re talking, as always when it comes to Republican plans, about tax cuts heavily tilted toward the wealthy.

那么,这些股东到底是谁呢?你可以猜出部分答案:主要是那些非常富有的人。就算我们把退休账户和共同基金中的间接持股也计算在内,10%最富有的美国居民所持有的股票占全部美国人持有股票的约80%,最富有的1%持有约40%的股票。因此,我们发现,减税的益处严重偏向于富人——共和党的计划一贯如此。

But that’s not the whole story, either — it gets worse.

但这也不是故事的全貌,还有更糟糕的部分。

The whole sales pitch for the Trump tax plan rests on the claim that everything is different because we’re now part of a global financial market. The truth is that this makes less difference than many imagine.

特朗普税收计划的整个推销说辞基于这样一种说法:因为我们现在是全球金融市场的一部分,所以一切都不同了。事实上,它带来的不同比很多人想像的要少。

But one thing is true: These days there’s a lot of cross-border investment. In particular, as Steven M. Rosenthal of the Tax Policy Center notes — in a paper I found revelatory — around 35 percent of U.S. equities are now owned by foreigners, triple the level during the Reagan years.

但有一点是事实:如今有很多跨境投资。特别值得一提的是,正如税收政策中心的史蒂文·M·罗森塔尔(Steven M. Rosenthal)在一篇论文中指出的那样——我发现那篇论文很有启发——现在约35%的美国股票由外国人持有,是里根执政时期的三倍。

What this means is that around 35 percent of a tax cut from an administration that proudly uses the slogan “America first” — $700 billion over the next decade — wouldn’t even go to Americans. Instead, it would be a windfall to wealthy foreigners, who would probably gain a lot more from the tax cut than U.S. workers. Oh, and it makes all that talk about allies not paying their “fair share” sound kind of silly, doesn’t it?

这就意味着,这届政府计划减免的税收(在未来十年里高达7000亿美元)的约35%甚至不会落到美国人口袋里——而它还自豪地以“美国优先”为口号。相反,对富有的外国人来说,这是一笔意外之财,他们从减税中获得的益处很可能比美国工人要多很多。哦,那些关于盟友没有支付“应出的那部分钱”的说法,现在听起来有点傻,不是吗?

And meanwhile, the result would be a huge hole in the budget, which Republicans would try to close at the expense of the poor and middle class. The budget resolution the House and Senate passed over the last week called for cuts of $1 trillion in Medicaid and almost half a trillion in Medicare. The resolution doesn’t have the force of law, but it’s a pretty clear indication of what’s next if the big tax cuts pass.

与此同时,减税的结果将是在预算中出现一个巨大的空洞,共和党人将试图通过牺牲穷人和中产阶级的利益来弥补这个空洞。众议院和参议院上周通过的预算决议要求削减10000亿美元的联邦医疗补助(Medicaid)和近5000亿美元的医疗保险(Medicare)。该决议没有法律效力,但它清楚地表明,如果大幅减税法案通过,接下来会发生什么。

Now, it may sound extreme to say that Trump and his allies want to take away health care from millions largely so that they can give wealthy foreigners a $700 billion gift. But however it may sound, it’s also the literal truth.

那么,如果说特朗普和他的盟友想夺取数百万人的医疗保险,给富有的外国人送上一份价值7000亿美元的礼物,可能听起来有点极端。但不管听起来怎样,它都是绝对的事实。

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