《经济学人》:美国债务真丢人
日期:2011-07-14 10:19

(单词翻译:单击)

America's debt
美国债务

Shame on them
真丢人!

The Republicans are playing a cynical political game with hugely high economic stakes
共和党人见利忘义,不顾巨大经济风险,玩弄政治游戏

Jul 7th 2011 | from The Economist print edition

IN THREE weeks, if there is no political deal, the American government will go into default. Not, one must pray, on its sovereign debt. But the country will have to stop paying someone: perhaps pensioners, or government suppliers, or soldiers. That would be damaging enough at a time of economic fragility. And the longer such a default went on, the greater the risk of provoking a genuine bond crisis would become.

倘若在三个月内没有政治交易,美国政府将出现违约(无力偿还债务)。但希望违约的不是主权债券。无论如何,美国将不得不停止向一些人支付:也许是退休人员,或是政府供应商们,抑或军人们。在经济脆弱不堪的时候,那将具有足够的破坏性。并且,像这样的的违约状态持续越久,引发实际债务危机的风险越大。

There is no good economic reason why this should be happening. America’s net indebtedness is a perfectly affordable 65% of GDP, and throughout the past three years of recession and tepid recovery investors have been more than happy to go on lending to the federal government. The current problems, rather, are political. Under America’s elaborate separation of powers, Congress must authorise any extension of the debt ceiling, which now stands at $14.3 trillion. Back in May the government bumped up against that limit, but various accounting dodges have been used to keep funds flowing. It is now reckoned that these wheezes will be exhausted by August 2nd.

没有一个合理的经济理由可以来解释为什么会这样。美国的净负债额占国内生总值的65%, 是完全可以负担得起的,加之过去三年来的衰退和缓慢的恢复,投资者们已十分乐意继续把钱借给联邦政府。当前的问题,更确切地说,应该是政治问题。在美国煞费苦心的权力分割之下,任何债务上限的提高必须经过国会批准(现在的债务限额处于14.3万亿美元的高位)。5月份美国政府债务剧增,颇有冲破上限之势。但各种账目伎俩使资金得以自由流转。现在估计到8月2日,黔驴将要技穷。



The House of Representatives, under Republican control as a result of last November’s mid-term elections, has balked at passing the necessary bill. That is perfectly reasonable: until recently the Republicans had been exercising their clear electoral mandate to hold the government of Barack Obama to account, insisting that they will not permit a higher debt ceiling until agreement is reached on wrenching cuts to public spending. Until they started to play hardball in this way, Mr Obama had been deplorably insouciant about the medium-term picture, repeatedly failing in his budgets and his state-of-the-union speeches to offer any path to a sustainable deficit. Under heavy Republican pressure, he has been forced to rethink.

由于去年十一月的中期选举而受控于共和党的众议院已经无法通过必要的议案。那是完全合理的:直至近期,共和党人一直在利用他们明确的选举授权将责任推给奥巴马政府,坚持认为在达成一项扭转削减公共支出的协议前,他们将不会批准更高的债务限额。在他们以这种方式表明强硬态度之前,奥巴马一直对中期选举漠不关心,他的预算及国情咨文演说屡屡失败,未能提出任何方案使赤字达到可持续水平,着实令人遗憾。在共和党重压之下,他被迫重新考虑自己的做法。

Now, however, the Republicans are pushing things too far. Talks with the administration ground to a halt last month, despite an offer from the Democrats to cut at least $2 trillion and possibly much more out of the budget over the next ten years. Assuming that the recovery continues, that would be enough to get the deficit back to a prudent level. As The Economist went to press, Mr Obama seemed set to restart the talks.

然而,现在共和党人做的太过分了。上月共和党人终止了与奥巴马及其内阁的对话,尽管民主党人承诺在未来10年削减至少2万亿美元甚至更多的预算。倘若经济持续恢复,那将足够能使赤字达到审慎水平。就在本期《经济学人》出版时,奥巴马似乎要动真格了,他要重启对话。

The sticking-point is not on the spending side. It is because the vast majority of Republicans, driven on by the wilder-eyed members of their party and the cacophony of conservative media, are clinging to the position that not a single cent of deficit reduction must come from a higher tax take. This is economically illiterate and disgracefully cynical.

症结点不在于开支。因为受其党内激进分子及立场保守媒体发出的不和谐之音驱使,绝大多数共和党人立场坚定,不会通过提高征税来削减赤字。这是对经济的无知和无耻的愤世嫉俗。

A gamble where you bet your country’s good name

以国家名誉为赌注

This newspaper has a strong dislike of big government; we have long argued that the main way to right America’s finances is through spending cuts. But you cannot get there without any tax rises. In Britain, for instance, the coalition government aims to tame its deficit with a 3:1 ratio of cuts to hikes. America’s tax take is at its lowest level for decades: even Ronald Reagan raised taxes when he needed to do so.

本报十分不看好所谓的“大政府”;长期以来,我们都认为让美国财政步入正轨的主要途径是通过削减开支。但要做到这点,不提税是不可能的。比如在英国,联合政府目标是将赤字控制在削减开支和提高税收的比率为在3:1。美国的征税为数十年来的最低:即便是罗纳德·里根(美国前总统)在必要时也会提高税收。

And the closer you look, the more unprincipled the Republicans look. Earlier this year House Republicans produced a report noting that an 85%-15% split between spending cuts and tax rises was the average for successful fiscal consolidations, according to historical evidence. The White House is offering an 83%-17% split (hardly a huge distance) and a promise that none of the revenue increase will come from higher marginal rates, only from eliminating loopholes. If the Republicans were real tax reformers, they would seize this offer.

越靠近看越是发现共和党的毫无原则。今年早些时候,众议院的共和党人发表的一份报告指出,历史证明,一般而言,成功的财政整顿支出削减率和税收提高率分别为85%和15%。白宫提出将支出削减率和税收提高率分别控制在83%和17%(和共和党提出的比率实在是没有多大差别),并且承诺只会通过消除漏洞而非提高边际税率来增加财政收入。如果共和党人真心税改,他们将接受这份要约。

Both parties have in recent months been guilty of fiscal recklessness. Right now, though, the blame falls clearly on the Republicans. Independent voters should take note.

最近几个月,共和党和民主党皆因财政鲁莽而愧疚不已。然而很明显,现在共和党成为了众矢之的。独立选民们应该引起注意。

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重点单词
  • evidencen. 根据,证据 v. 证实,证明
  • fundsn. 基金;资金,现金(fund的复数) v. 提供资金
  • recklessnessn. 鲁莽;轻率;不顾一切,不顾后果
  • provokingadj. 激怒人的,刺激人的 动词provoke的现在分
  • affordableadj. 支付得起的,不太昂贵的
  • independentadj. 独立的,自主的,有主见的 n. 独立派人士,无
  • administrationn. 行政,管理,行政部门
  • conservativeadj. 保守的,守旧的 n. 保守派(党), 保守的人
  • blamen. 过失,责备 vt. 把 ... 归咎于,责备
  • genuineadj. 真正的,真实的,真诚的