US-Mexico wall Pedro Pardo/Getty Images

日益高涨的特朗普边境墙代价

华盛顿—作为总统候选人时,特朗普坚持的最标志性问题是:美国将沿着美墨边境建造一道墙,建墙的钱由墨西哥出。但是,上台七个月后,特朗普在任何一方面都没有取得进展:建造新墙的政治支持越来越弱,墨西哥出钱的可能基本为零,并且似乎已经不在特朗普的日程之中。

目前,特朗普正在加倍下注——还威胁要关闭政府,甚至赖掉联邦债务,除非国会为他承诺不会给美国纳税人造成任何成本的高墙拨款。如果特朗普让这一冲突继续升级,那么美国人民所遭受的成本——用经济不确定性和增长放缓衡量——也可能节节攀升。

所涉资金量相对美国政府的总规模而言并不大。在特朗普的第一个全年预算中,筑墙的首批支出定在16亿美元,而总统估算的总成本为120亿美元(尽管其他估算要高得多)。与美国政府2016年的总支出3.9万亿美元相比,这只是九牛一毛。这里的关键问题在于原则:从实际角度看,一道边境墙到底能够实现什么,又象征着什么?但具体的钱袋子规则决定了这一关键问题会如何演变。

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