怎样的政府债务是危险的?

伯克利—如果一国政府无法征收足够的税覆盖它的支出,那么最终必然会陷入债务引发的麻烦中。随着债券持有人担心通货膨胀,其名义利率会上升。其商业领袖会保持低调,默默把财富移出他们所经营的公司以防止未来公司税高企。

此外,真实利率也会上升,因为政策不确定性使许多具有真正社会生产力的投资无法盈利。当通胀居高不下时,劳动分工也会减弱。原本由脆弱货币联系结合在一起的大网络将分裂为许多微笑网络,各自以深厚的人际信任和社会责任相联系。而低程度的劳动分工意味着低水平的生产率。

所有这些都是最终注定发生之事——如果政府无法征得足够的税收覆盖其支出的话。但这在利率保持低位、股市欣欣向荣、通胀得到抑制时也会发生吗?我和其他经济学家——包括拉里·萨默斯、劳拉·泰森、保罗·克鲁格曼和其他许多人——认为不会。

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