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2009-04-20 22:50:52|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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And when does this study come out?



Whoknows. I mean, it's a big project, we've been working on it for a while. Partof it is just measuring, back since 1913, the effect of the tax rate that thefederal government or the total government is levying on people. Measuring thatwas a big project. But we've sort of finished that.



I just have two more questions,quickly. One is that you've mentioned that monetary policies sort of seem to bestuck. And I guess there have been a couple of people -- Robert Lucas is onethat comes to mind and maybe Greg Mankiw too -- who say there are other kindsof monetary policy that can still be pursued.



OhI agree with that. There are things that they can still do. The sort ofstandard stuff. They drove the nominal rates on the usual government paper downto zero, and they drove down the federal funds rate, so they don't have anymore leeway on that. But there is plenty of other stuff that they can do andthat they are doing.



And what is that?



TheFederal Reserve is buying up all kinds of other assets, like long-term governmentbonds. But they are also buying a lot of private stuff, and that willpresumably have a substantial impact. I mean there's a downside to doing allthis, but it should certainly have effects. So in that sense they haven't runout of ammunition. I agree with that.



The last thing is just about thestimulus bills as it stands. Two things here. One thing is what do you thinkabout the ratio of spending to tax relief in the bill. And the second is, ifyou judge it by Larry Summers standard -- that stimulus be temporary, timelyand targeted -- does it clear the bar?



Thisis probably the worst bill that has been put forward since the 1930s. I don'tknow what to say. I mean it's wasting a tremendous amount of money. It has somesimplistic theory that I don't think will work, so I don't think the expenditurestuff is going to have the intended effect. I don't think it will expand theeconomy. And the tax cutting isn't really geared toward incentives. It's notreally geared to lowering tax rates; it's more along the lines of throwingmoney at people. On both sides I think it's garbage. So in terms of balancebetween the two it doesn't really matter that much.



Well,presumably Larry Summers is not an idiot.



[laughs]That is another conversation. I have known him for 25 years, and I haveopinions about that.



Well, presumably Christina Romer is notan idiot if you're...



They'vebrought in some reasonable people in terms of economic advisors. I don't knowwhat impact they're having, and I suppose they have different views onKeynesian macroeconomics than I have. But I'm giving you my opinion about it.



Ithink Geithner is a good appointment. I think he's going to focus on whatreally matters, which is the financial system and the housing market. That'swhere they should be putting their efforts. That's where the problems camefrom.



Fixing the credit market, you mean?



Thatwas the main problem in the Great Depression, too. Though then it wasconcentrated on commercial banks which were the main credit vehicle. That wasthe main problem in the depression and fixing that was the main thing thatended the depression.



Well since you brought it up... I haveno idea what your views are on financial economics, but it seems like there'sgoing to be another round of TARP-like bailouts. Do you have an opinion on howthat should be structured?



That'sa hard problem. I mean, they're basically floundering around -- the crew of theprevious administration more than the current one. But I admit they're having agood effect by putting more resources into assistance. The exact way to do itis pretty tricky. It's not clear what the best thing to do is. Larry Summersdid bring in Jeremy Stein, who is probably one of the best people in the area.I think he's going to have a lot of impact on that design. I hope so. That'sanother person they hired recently.

答:这个问题,很难。我是说,他们本质上都在那儿盘旋了——上一届政府的人们,而不是这一届政府。但是,我承认,将更多的资源投入援助,是具有很好的效果的。具体的做法,是很难办的。最少的办法,还不清楚。萨默斯确实带进了Jeremy Stein,他可能是这个领域里最好的。我认为,他对这个设计有很大的影响。我希望如此。他们最近,又用了另一个人。

From Harvard?



Yeah,he's a Harvard economics department person. He's in the White House. Summersbrought him in to advise particularly on the financial and housing issues, thedesign of the new regulations structure. That was an excellent appointment.That's the stuff that's really going to count. Not this spending thing. I meandemocrats were waiting with all these ridiculous projects, and now they've gotan excuse to bring it through politically.



Just one last thing. I think Joe Bidenand a couple other people have said there's a fairly wide consensus amongeconomists that fiscal stimulus in the form of a large spending bill is the wayto go, and...

问:最后一件事。我觉得Joe Biden和其他一些人,曾经说过:经济学家中,有一个非常广泛的共识,认为大型支出方案的财政刺激,是要做的事,而且……


Hesaid first that every economist thought that.



Well, that's Joe Biden hyperbole. Butwhat is the lay of the land there? Presumably there are economists out therethat take this seriously. And then there are economists out there who thinkthere's a one-for-one crowding out with any government spending. And I guess,where does the profession fall on that spectrum?

问:哈,这是Joe Biden的夸张。但是,情况究竟是怎样的呢?大概有一些经济学家是严肃思考的。也有一些经济学家认为,政府支出具有一对一的挤出效应。我猜,在这个地方,经济学界是怎么分野的呢?


Mosteconomists haven't really been thinking about this issue, they haven't reallyfocused on it. It's not their specialty. Most economists today, they haven'treally been thinking about this kind of multiplier issue. Which goes back tothat first question you asked about how come now we're so worried about this. Idon't think most economists are focused on this, or that they're familiar withthe empirical evidence. I don't think they've really worked on the theory. So Idon't know, maybe they have some opinion that they got from graduate school orsomething.



Ithink my sense is that the sentiment has been moving against this kind ofapproach both within the economics profession and more broadly. I think theinitial view was that "yeah, this is a terrible situation" -- which Iagree with -- "and we've got to do something about this, and maybe thiswill work." I think there was support in that sense.



Are there any conditions under whichyou might think spending could have a positive effect on output or is it alwaysgoing to be the case that as a relative matter that tax cuts are going to bebetter?



Taxcuts are bound to be better. I think the best evidence for expanding GDP comesfrom the temporary military spending that usually accompanies wars -- wars thatdon't destroy a lot of stuff, at least in the US experience. Even there I don'tthink it's one for one, so if you don't value the war itself it's not a goodidea. You know, attacking Iranis a shovel-ready project. But I wouldn't recommend it.



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