布什的“破产试验”经济

十五年前,美国正处于所谓的“期望贬值”时代:生产力增长停滞;能源价格高昂;经济大萧条时期被积压的潜能技术已经枯竭;规模经济导致的收益渐亏使得几乎每一位经济学家做出这样的预测:经济增长速度在未来将远远落后于过去。由于生产力增长停滞将近二十年,人们又开始议论美国政府的社会保险支出(社会保障体系、医疗保险、医疗补助制度)过于庞大,应该被缩减。

那是过去的事情了,下面要说的是现在。在这十五年期间,我们见证了技术革新大爆炸把美国总的生产力增长速度推回到减速前的水平。的确,今天美国经济正处在生物科技的边缘,或者说是大规模、大范围的纳米科技的边缘。但缩减社会性支出的呼声依旧持续。

社会保障体系的精算师们可能并没有完全认识到如今技术革命带来的冲击力,而是显而易见地继续推进了这一政府能够负担得起的体制的规模。十五年前,大多数人认为:美国的社会保障体制存在严重问题,解决它相当于重建一台机车。而现在解决这个问题看起来,就像布鲁金学院经济学家彼得·奥斯杰葛说的那样,更像修理一个漏气的轮胎:最终你必须要修好它,但这并不难而且不那么棘手。

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