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美国的赤字怒潮

发自剑桥——最近两则与预算有关的新闻是对美国财政政策危机状况的严重警告。奥巴马总统下属的行政管理及预算办公室宣布,本财政年度联邦政府的赤字约为6000亿美元,比2015年增加1620亿美元,同比增长超过35%。而美国国会预算办公室发布的年度长期预算前景则预测,在财政政策不变的情况下,联邦政府债务将会在十年后从相当于GDP的75%上升至86%,并在2046年达到创纪录的 141%,与意大利、葡萄牙和希腊水平相当。

虽然美国债务相对GDP比率在过去十年增加了一倍,奥巴马政府和国会却刻意无视这一问题,相反着眼于2012年以来年度赤字额的逐步下降和赤字相对GDP比率的相对稳定。但这个短期成绩其实源自于经济复苏以及美国国会对国防和非国防可自由支配开支项目的限制决议。

但年度赤字的长期性上涨——由于人口老龄化、医疗技术不断提升和利率上升——以及因此导致的债务相对GDP比率上升是无可避免的(国会预算办公室和其他机构对此已有明确预测)。大量有资格领取社会保障福利的美国老年人将在未来30年使得社会保障计划支出相对GDP的比例从当前的4.9%上升至6.3%。各项主要联邦医疗保健计划的成本从现在相对GDP5.5%上涨至2046年的8.9%,一半归因于受益人寿命和人数的双双提升,另一半归因于为治疗他们而产生的额外医疗技术费用。

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