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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Old Speeches, New Policies

故纸堆里的新政策……

For academics, it always a delight when some old, obscure thing we've written suddenly gets noticed. So I was pleased when econoblogger Mark Thoma decided to draw attention yesterday to a speech I gave six years ago (pdf version) to the National Association of Business Economists. I had not looked at that speech in years, but looking back at it today, I think that it holds up pretty well. So, please, feel free to follow the link and read the whole thing.

对于学者来说,最高兴的就是一些我们写过的过时的东西,又突然被人注意起来了。所以当昨天,经济博客作者 Mark Thoma注意到我六年前给“全美精英经济学家联合会”的演讲时,我实在是太高兴了。我已经好久不看那篇讲稿了,但当我今天回头看看,我想它恰到好处。因此,请大家,随便沿着划线的地方,阅读以下整件事情。

The part of the speech that Mark highlights on his blog is the defense of running budget deficits during a recession. I am a bit puzzled about why Mark picked up that piece, however. Mark seems to be suggesting that my speech can somehow be construed as a defense of Obama fiscal policy. Yet I don't think that aspect of current economic policy is controversial. As I wrote in the NY Times in March of this year, "Few economists would blame either the Bush administration or the Obama administration for running budget deficits during an economic downturn."

在Mark的博客里,他着重强调的部分就是我演讲中的,关于在经济衰退期如何防止流动预算赤字。然而,我却搞不明白Mark为什么要挑出这一部分。

Mark似乎以为我的演讲可以被解读成反对奥巴马财政政策的依据。然而,我还不认为这一部分,是最近财政政策的有争议的地方。就像我在纽约时报上写的一样,“在经济衰退期,不会有经济学者去责怪布什政府或者奥巴马政府的流动预算赤字”。

The controversial parts of current fiscal policy are, first, the relative reliance on spending hikes versus tax cuts as short-run stimulus and, second, the long-term picture. On the short-run issue, I explained my preferences here. On the long-run issue, the apparent willingness of the congressional leadership to give away most of the allowances under a cap-and-trade system for carbon is the most recent symptom suggesting either a lack of concern about the long-term fiscal imbalance or a willingness to allow distortionary taxes to rise significantly in the future to close the fiscal gap.                

 关于近期的财政政策的争议,首先是作为短期刺激计划中的消费增加与税收减少之间的联系。其次是在长期的局面如何。对于短期的话题,我曾经在这里阐述过我的看法了。而在长期,国会领导者们很积极地在总量管制与排放交易体系下对碳排放奉送更多的补贴,就是一个明显的征兆——不是对长期财政失衡的漠视,就是希望用扭曲性课税的显著增长能够在将来消除赤字鸿沟。

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