Tuesday, September 2, 2014
4

给美国国会的返校信

纽波特海滩—如果现在纷纷结束夏季休假的美国国会议员们收到来自焦虑的公民的“返校”信会怎样?这封信的大概会是这样子的。

亲爱的国会议员:

欢迎回到国会大厦。我们希望你们刚刚度过了一个愉快的夏季休假,现在你们回到了华盛顿,不但身心放松,而且充满了能量,做好了处理我们国家的重重经济挑战的准备。

在你们们离开国会大厦期间,各路消息喜忧参半。经济数据存在一些改善,但并不足以表明我们离决定性地克服此次低增长、高失业时期迈进了一步。此外,随着自我形成的财政悬崖步步逼近——可能将我们国家重新推向衰退,并将世界其他地区也拖下水——企业不愿招聘,也不愿投资新的资本品。幸运的是,美联储释放了继续积极的信号,但它的政策工具对我们所面临的挑战作用有限。

与此同时,全球困难仍然很大。我们仍然面临着巨大的阻力——既来自深化中的欧债危机,也来自中东的地缘政治紧张局势。中国——曾经不可阻挡的世界增长引擎——正在减速。而尽管表面一团和气,但多边政策合作基本上等于零。

所有这些都表明需要果断勇敢、远见卓识的经济领导;否则的话,我们的问题会恶化和增长,而解决方案会变得更加复杂。我们经济中的太多困难——包括年轻人失业和长期失业的可怕趋势——正在演变为结构性问题。

毫无疑问,你们已经注意到,在距离11月总统大选已不到十周之际,我们的国家牢牢地掌握在丑陋的政治把戏手中。因此,在经济和政治的双重暗淡局面下,我们需要你们们提供方向和领导。就这么简单、这么重要。

我们需要你们克服旷日持久的国会扯皮和两极分化,从而治愈我们国家的顽疾。我们需要你们的改革方案从战术思维转变为战略思维,从周期思维转变为长期思维,从局部思维转变为整体思维,从按部就班思维转变为同时推进思维。

如果这一国家责任的呼吁还不够,那么我们还可以加上你们们的自身利益。根据最新的NBC新闻/《华尔街日报》调查,我们选民对你们的支持度只有12%。

我们认为,没有什么魔法能够克服我们国家的问题。毕竟,在迈向全球金融危机的这么多年中,美国的增长是通过资产负债表杠杆化而不是 “买”来和“借”来的,而不是通过增加竞争力“赚”来的。其结果是大规模人力资源配置不当、基础设施投资不足、对授信的过度依赖,当然还有不可持续的债务。让情况更糟糕的是,与此同时,在贸易和其他全球化位面的推动下,具系统重要性的新兴国家步入了它们的“发展突破阶段”。

我们不指望你们一夜之间就解决美国的问题。但我们希望你们能给出合理而可持续的政策路径。因此,当你们放下包裹、结交新朋友、树立新敌人时,请谨记以下事项。

改变国运要求你们和总统一起与我们——社会公众开展更开放、更一致的经济对话,探讨我们所面临的挑战。它还要求你们和总统形成统一的多目标多年政策计划,该计划至少要同时顾及六个关键领域:

·         财政改革:我们迫切需要你们来消除税收制度和福利制度中期改革环境中的财政悬崖。这也有利于当其他总需求成分开始减速时出台更大的财政刺激。

·         劳动市场改革:持续的高失业和大量劳动力的退出向来都是劳动市场出现故障、需要通过更好的培训和再评寻予以支持的信号。改革还必须解决与此相关的挑战:教育制度落后以及社会安全网不足。

·         房地产和房地产金融:萎靡不振的美国房地产市场是全球金融危机的根源,并仍然是经济的重负之一。房地产问题拖得越久,消费者和企业情绪的压力就越大,失业者找到和被配置到新就业机会的机会就越小。

·         信用渠道不畅:银行资产负债表仍在收缩,太多中小规模企业无法动员足够的信用用于投资和增长。意识到银行稳下来需要几年才能实现,美国需要打造新的信用渠道。

·         基础设施:你们出国旅行过就会明白,我们的基础设施正大大落后于越来越多的国家。这让我们国家的公司竞争和发展难上加难。

·         全球政策合作:随着我们的问题让我们变得更孤立、更内向,近几年来美国的传统领导地位不复存在。如果由此产生的真空被填补,那么这并不是一个问题。但事实并非如此。相反,G7已名存实亡,IMF因代表和正当性问题而被削弱,而G20还没有站稳脚跟。

出台这样一个日程并不是不可能完成的任务。但如果你们——我们选出来的代表——不能精诚合作的话,这一点并不能令人放心。

国会在这个任期中的选择很简单:要么解决美国面临的挑战;要么背上因犹豫不决而使子孙后代过得连祖先都不如的恶名。

此致

焦虑的公民

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  1. CommentedJeffrey Cohen

    I would like to offer my own brief analysis of our political and economic problems: unbridled GREED by those for whom no amount of wealth is ever enough; the legalized bribery of politicians leading to legislation favoring the richest, thus deeply CORRUPTING the political process; the alignment of Tea Party Republicans with this agenda; the long-term redistribution of wealth from the shrinking middle class to the very richest Americans; a President without moral conviction, passion or courage, unwilling to forcefully confront and call out the innumerable falsehoods by his opponents -- and who was woefully inexperienced and unprepared to lead this country, and who acts as if the Presidency is a country club.

  2. CommentedWilliam Keyes

    While I admire the goals of your site and your honesty in trying to not only point out the obvious problems, but also offer solutions, there is an underlying premise here that is simply not true.

    The premise is that there are tough times, etc but we have always managed to survive and move on. This premise has held in the past now, but does not apply know. Why because the type of problems which I will not belabor you with here are borderline insurmountable and even if Congress wanted too they could not solve them and put the country back on some kind of stable course, without major consequences to the quality of life for Americans.

    The problem today is not the work ethic or the spirit that made America what it, it is the incredible polarization and divisiveness that has infested every corner of our society. As many have said, democracy is messy, and every one doesnt always get their way, but the key to a successful democracy is compromise for the greater good. There is NO compromise anywhere anymore. So until this attitude is changed all the ideas and solutions for the betterment of mankind that you propose have NO chance of being implemented.

    So I believe that unless this current attitude changes, the the new year 2013 will be seen in history as the beginning of the downfall of the up until now the greatest nation that has ever evolved on the planet earth.

  3. CommentedJohn Wiederspan

    May I modestly point out, the quality of Congress will only be as good as the quality of the voters who put them into office. I do not believe the voters are capable of living with representatives who, through program cuts and higher tax rates, put the fiscal house back in order. BOTH parties, upon the alter of electoral success, have offered the voters what they say they want, a free lunch. Any economist of any stripe will quickly state, there is no such thing.

  4. CommentedZsolt Hermann

    I would pick this short part of the letter:
    "...And, despite all the happy talk, multilateral policy coordination is essentially non-existent.
    All of this calls for courageous and visionary economic leadership; otherwise, our problems will fester and grow, and the solutions will become even more complex..."
    Or more precisely the following words: multilateral, coordination, and visionary.
    And this is exactly what the present political class does not have.
    What they have is personal legacy, party politics and subjective, inward vision. To be fair this is not an American disease but a global one.
    The rest of the suggestions all fall because there is nobody who would be capable of seeing the whole, interconnected, global system in totality above personal or national interests, and thus all solutions present fail.
    In the integral, interdependent system we evolved into, our present attitude, methods and tools have become obsolete.
    We need a completely new leadership, capable of playing team sport for the benefit of the whole, both internally and externally, globally, leaders that are transparent, truly serving their people without self interest.
    In this respect this coming "school term" and the elections are totally irrelevant, the people on show will not be able to change, they grew up in a system, in a previous "school" which has nothing to teach us any longer.
    We need a new school with new students.

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