修正美国的财政问题

美国剑桥—距离美国总统大选只有不到六周的时间了,是时候认真思考一下大选之后怎样对付美国财政乱象了。不管谁获胜,都不能再拖延解决问题的时间了。

美国人正确地把注意力集中在可能从2013年开始的“财政悬崖”,根据当前立法,那时几乎所有税率都会上升,从家庭和企业手中夺走相当于GDP的3%以上的钱。此外,防务和非防务政府支出的自动削减将在2013年再砍去GDP的近1%,以后各年也是如此。国会预算办公室警告说,跌下财政悬崖会在明年将美国经济拖入严重衰退。

而财政悬崖只是必须解决的问题的一部分。最大的问题是美国巨大的财政赤字——目前占GDP的约7%,而随着老龄化和医保成本的上升,在未来几十年中,面向中产阶级老年人的“福利计划”政府支出部分将大增,因此,预计财政赤字占GDP比重也会快速上升。尽管左翼和右翼政客均已认识到这些计划规模的增势必须有所放缓以避免巨额赤字或大幅增税,但不可能让其放缓到能够阻止国民债务/GDP比率不再上升的地步。

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