President Donald Trump makes a statement to the media Tom Williams/Getty Images

降低美国企业税利大于弊

发自剑桥——美国国会即将通过一项重大税务改革,而这项改革中最重要的规定是要将企业所得税率从35%降至20%——从所有经合组织国家中的最高水平减至最低——并允许美国企业在无需额外向美国缴税的情况下将其国外子公司的利润回流本土。立法的反对者指出此举会导致联邦预算赤字增加,并在未来十年为政府增添1.5万亿美元负债。

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我可不喜欢财政赤字,也早就警告过它们的风险。不过我相信公司税收变动所带来的经济效益将超越债务增加的不利影响。

较低的利率将把资金吸引到美国的企业部门。美国公司也将加大在本土的投资,因为税率较国外更低,同时将让其外国子公司的利润回流而不是留在国外。他们还将带回从前在美国以外留存的一些利润,据财政部统计总规模达2.5万亿美元。此外外国公司也将扩大在美国的投资 ——甚至将业务转移到美国——以利用较低的税率。而在美国,资本将从农业和房地产流向企业部门中生产力更高的地方。

虽然很难估算企业部门的资本增加总额,但我认为在未来十年内至少达到5万美元是个合理的数字。流入企业部门的资金增量将提升生产力和实际工资。一旦成为现实,它将在2027年令美国的年实际GDP提高约5000亿美元,相当于该年GDP的1.7%,意味着在当前的美元币值下每户家庭增收4000美元。

这些有利效应直接关系到如何平衡那些通常与财政赤字有关的主要不利影响:政府借贷挤压私人资本形成空间;支付高利息通常需要提高税收或削减防务和非防务项目支出;预算赤字意味着经济处于充分就业状态时总需求的不必要增加;债务比率越高,政府拿出延长性紧急支出的能力就越小。

但我相信在未来十年间这些问题都不会出现。下面请让我们逐个分析:

尽管未来十年税收法案所引起的1.5万亿美元政府借款可能挤压掉等量的私人借款,但资本存量的增长会更多。1.5万亿美元的企业减税将直接进入美国企业,同时由于世界其他地区的资金流入,企业资本存量将进一步增长。即使政府借款增加,目前提议的税收改革也可以在未来十年将企业资本存量金额提高约5万亿美元。

此外,至2027年合共增加的5000亿美元年收入将在每年带来1000~1500亿美元的额外税收。这足以支付1.5万亿美元额外债务所带来的600亿美元利息支出,剩下的钱则用于增加政府支出或减少个人所得税。

同样,认为财政赤字增加会不合时宜地刺激总需求的看法这是错误的。事实上,财政赤字的刺激作用和企业投资的增加应该是受欢迎的,原因有二:首先,它们将抵消联邦基金利率预期上涨和美联储资产负债表规模缩小所产生的紧缩效应。其次,经过九年的经济扩张,大部分专家预计美国会在未来五年内的某个时候进入衰退。

同理,针对过去十年来政府债务相对GDP的比例翻了一番(目前已达到77%)的忧虑被夸大了。根据国会预算办公室的测算,就算不进行进一步立法,到2027年负债比率也将上升到91.2%。而税制改革所隐含的那1.5万亿美元赤字的直接影响会将这个数字提高到97%。军事紧急状态或经济下滑将要求额外的债务融资支出或税收减免。但即便是像2009年《美国复苏与再投资法案》这类总额达9000亿美元的大规模开支项目也只会使债务比率增加3个百分点。因此也很难相信97%的负债比率跟92%的负债比率有多大区别。

基于以上四点,我认为削减企业税率的好处远远抵消了通常归因于预算赤字的不利影响。 但展望未来,我相信在2018年国会选举后削减财政赤字应该是重中之重。二氧化碳排放税或联邦津贴项目支出增长放缓可能使债务比率回落至2008~09年经济下滑前时常维持的50%水平。但首要事项是确保提议的税制改革能顺利通过。

http://prosyn.org/76rIJXN/zh;

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