财政悬崖的教训

美国剑桥—我从米尔顿·弗里德曼那里学到了很多东西,其中之一是,政府的真正成本是其支出,而不是其税收。换句话说,支出要么用当前税收融资,要么借钱融资,而借来的钱无非是未来的税收,它对经济表现的影响和当前税收无甚区别。

我们可以把这一原理用于美国不可持续的财政赤字。众所周知,消除这一赤字要么通过减支,要么通过增税。

传统观点认为合理、平衡的方法将兼顾两者。但是,正如弗里德曼所指出的,这两个方法是南辕北辙的。减支意味着政府变小。增税意味着政府变大。因此,偏好小政府者(比如某些共和党)希望完全通过减支来消除赤字;而偏好大政府者(比如总统奥巴马和大部分民主党)希望完全通过增税来消除赤字。

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