穿好财政这根针

帕罗奥图—经济通常会左右选举,特别是在世道不景气的时候。当增长和就业走下坡路的时候,选民就会把现任政府赶下台,不管是西班牙左翼、法国右翼还是荷兰中间派。美国也不例外。大萧条爆发三年后,胡佛被富兰克林·罗斯福取而代之。1980年,在经历了严重的经济停滞后,里根把卡特赶下了总统宝座。

与此同时,经济表现在很大程度上取决于经济政策。大萧条因拙劣的货币政策、增税和保护主义贸易政策而恶化。类似地,过去十年中期美国宽松的货币政策大大提高了经济的杠杆率,助长了房地产泡沫,这个泡沫在2007—2008年破裂,引发了大衰退。

两大相关政策之争将对美国和欧洲的经济和政治前景形成关键影响。第一个政策之争是“紧缩”和“增长”,即短期赤字削减和增加财政刺激。大西洋两岸的左派均认为,增加(而不是减少)政府支出对于将经济拉出衰退是必不可少的。右派则认为,政府的第一要务应该是财政整合。

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