Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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实事求是地说,消费的资产负债表阻力已有所减缓。家庭债务已得到了削减——往往是通过痛苦的按揭止赎和破产实现——家庭债务/收入比率已降至2005年的水平,显著低于2008年的峰值。受低利率推动,债务偿付占家庭收入比重已降至20世纪80年代初的水平。但消费将因工资税减免计划到期而受到影响,今年的家庭收入将因此减少1 250亿美元。

妨碍复苏的另一大因素是州和地方政府商品和服务支出增长疲软,最近,联邦政府也加入了这一行列。事实上,自衰退发生以来,州和地方政府裁掉了600 000个工作岗位和20%的基础设施项目支出。

2013年的财政趋势仍不明朗,但总的来说是消极的。州和地方政府的减支和裁员过程正在随复苏提振税收收入而结束,联邦层面的财政后腿则日趋严重。美国纳税人援助法(American Taxpayer Relief Act)——1月初为避免“财政悬崖”而达成的税收协议——裁掉了未来十年的7 500亿美元赤字,这将拖累2013年增长率1个百分点。此外,尽管大幅削减联邦支出的方案支持者要少一些,但该方案已经步入了实施阶段,未来可能还会加码。


所谓的扣押(将于3月开始的全面减支)将在今年减少1 000亿美元、未来十年减少1.2万亿美元赤字。尽管这可以稳定债务/GDP比率,但扣押将是一个错误:它无法区分支出优先级,会破坏重要项目,并会导致今年增长的严重削弱。




是时候转变专注点了。美国需要提振增长速度的计划,而不是更多的赤字削减。杰出的增长经济学家多马尔(Evsey Domar,我在MIT的教授之一)建议,缓解债务负担的问题本质上是取得国民收入增长的问题。我们应该遵循他的智慧。

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  1. Portrait of Pingfan Hong

    CommentedPingfan Hong

    "The US needs a plan for faster growth, not more deficit reduction" : this statement is misleading, as it misinterprets what is actually under the debate. Most analysts involved in the debate do not place the need for growth and the need for debt reduction as two competing goals on the two ends. Those who urge for debt reduction believe debt reduction is the precondition for higher growth. They are for higher growth.

  2. CommentedMargaret Bowker

    The US has entered the difficult stage of its recovery plan, paying back. But there are some helpful indicators. The November and December job creation figures were revised up and the January figure was steady. And the growth figure for the last quarter of 2012 was only a contraction of 0.025% which disappoints in comparison with the previous quarter. However, it is only slightly mirroring what is happening in the 0.3% contraction seen in the UK and Germany, also after satisfactory third quarters. The decks are cleared in the US for Budget issues to be carefully considered, now that the Debt Ceiling bill has gone through the Senate. Hopefully the Debt Ceiling will not be a problem in mid May, or in future. Hardly anyone else has this mechanism, with its far-reaching political ramifications. Laura Tyson makes a good case for protecting growth and mindful of the mini-contraction, others may also acknowledge its importance. This is the difficult stage of a fiscal/monetary plan, deciding where to cut, when it comes in, and how to ameleriorate its effects, by tapering perhaps. Europe is starting to consider growth issues to balance reduction in its long term budget and the UK is debating how to accelerate those measures already introduced. The focus is shifting in a responsible way.

  3. Commentedcaptainjohann Samuhanand

    USA is not recovering at all.Normal economics is not going to work here.It is basically politics. USA has wasted lot of money in Iraq/Afghanistan wars.Printing of dollars is not going to work with China slowly shifting to commodity trading.USA has to rethink on its Global role becuase it is the Greatest democracy world has ever known.The people of USA must learn to live within their means.

  4. CommentedProcyon Mukherjee

    Just when we thought we were moving towards early signs of growth, we stumbled on the last quarter data where growth has stalled in U.S.; the role of monetary policy seems to be overstated and more so when liquidity is never a problem now while that is what we are flooding the market with. It reminds one of the golden rule of money, one that was said by no other than John Stuart Mill, “"There cannot . .. ," he wrote, "be intrinsically a more insignificant thing, in the economy of society, than money; except in the character of a contrivance for sparing time and labor. It is a machine for doing quickly and commodiously, what would be done, though less quickly and commodiously, without it: and like many other kinds of machinery, it only exerts a distinct and independent influence of its own when it gets out of order". Milton Friedman on the other hand noted in his seminal article ‘The Role of Monetary Policy’, “that (1) It cannot peg interest rates for more than very limited periods; (2) It cannot peg the rate of unemployment for more than very limited periods.” We have therefore too much expectation bunched up for central banks to deliver, which they have very little in their armor to facilitate.

  5. CommentedPaul A. Myers

    Rightly or wrongly, the Republican attack on "spending" is aimed at the increasing share of GDP going to various cross-subsidy programs sponsored by government. There is a sense by many taxpayers that there is something "unfair" in this redistribution.

    I suspect the middle of the Democratic officeholder class in Washington is simply not going to support "spending" in the general sense.

    So the equilibrium political point in the US is now towards slow growth.

  6. CommentedMark Pitts

    The good profesora doth seek to mislead her readers: Global investors have not in fact “flocked to US government debt.”

    An amount roughly equal to the last three years’ total deficit has been purchased by the Federal Reserve, using their printing press. Thus, there has been essentially no new net investment in US debt by world investors for the last three years.

    And those global investors who appeared to “flock” to US Treasuries were actually “fleeing” from bonds issued in euros, understandable since it was a currency that many were predicting would cease to exit.

    The professor makes her assessments “based on current economic assumptions” meaning, no doubt, that we are soon to return to 3-4% growth. How else could she conclude that current deficits of around $1 trillion per year can be stabilized with cuts of $2.4 trillion spread over ten years?

    In any case, if the average interest rate on US debt increases by just 1.7% in the years ahead, that $2.4 trillion ten-year savings ($240 billion per year) goes to pay higher interest rates, and the deficit goes back up despite the cuts.

    And in ten years, the Medicare disaster will hit with full force, but let’s not even speak of that...

    Academic economists and government officials may find Ms. Tyson’s analysis convincing, but bond investors everywhere have their eyes on the door.

  7. CommentedZsolt Hermann

    The greatest challenge is to understand there there is no return to growth, at least not the way it happened so far.
    When we talk about "refocusing" it means to understand the root causes behind the crisis, or more precisely system failure instead of continuing with superficial, cosmetic adjustments.
    The present overconsumption, over production economic model is totally unnatural, thus it is unsustainable.
    People are not searching for, working for, paying for goods to satisfy natural, modern, human desires, but they are craving for artificial desires the sophisticated marketing machinery and the subsequent social pressure forces on them.
    Through multiple factors this illusion, this "Matrix" has come to an end, it is impossible to sustain. More and more people and nations are "disconnecting from the Matrix" for different reasons.
    The debt burden, the social inequality, the exhausted natural resources and environmental damage brought the whole present human system into a dead end.
    We cannot avoid looking into the mirror and accepting defeat.
    Accepting the inevitable now and starting to build a new system while we are still in a relatively healthy shape is much better than waiting for a total meltdown and then starting panic reactions.
    We cannot cheat nature and natural laws, we are part of the system not above it.
    It is time we wake up and adapt to the system before we are forced to do so.