经济学家的点金石

发自剑桥——今年是美国两项重大经济政策制度创新的100周年纪念:开征联邦收入所得税以及成立美联储。这两项创新都是值得铭记的——哪怕只是因为我们很可能会忘却了当年学到的东西。

最初,所得税与美联储都与财政及货币政策的基本概念无关。事实上,直到经历了1930年代后它们才被看作是管理宏观经济的潜在工具。约翰·梅纳德·凯恩斯(John Maynard Keynes)指出在大萧条这类情况下财政刺激手段是有优势的。而米尔顿·弗里德曼(Milton Friedman)则把大萧条的责任推到美联储的头上,因为当时它允许货币供给下降。

凯恩斯相信应该执行激进的经济政策来对经济波动现象作出逆周期回应——即在经济衰退期实施扩张政策,回升时实施紧缩政策。弗德里曼则相反,他反对任意的政策决定,他认为政府机构缺乏捕捉时机的能力。但两人都反对顺周期政策,比如误入歧途的美国1937年财政与货币紧缩:在经济尚未完全恢复前,罗斯福总统提高税收并削减开支,而美联储提高存款准备金率,结果这些举措延长并恶化了经济大萧条。

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