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拯救经济:克林顿为奥巴马支招

Andy Serwer 2011年10月10日

前任总统给疾病缠身的美国经济开出了怎样的药方呢?——大力抓好就业和抵押贷款减免工作,同时整顿税收体制。

    比尔•克林顿总统任期内的美国经济是美国历史上最强势的经济之一。尽管他的部分成就源于机缘和运气,但是他的领导才干和能力无疑也发挥了很突出的作用,因此一些人至今仍对于克林顿经济学念念不忘。【克林顿的关于经济的新书《回归工作》(Back to Work)将于11月8日面世】《财富》杂志(Fortune)主编赛安迪采访了这位正在纽约参加“克林顿全球行动”(Clinton Global Initiative)年会的第42届美国总统,并讨论了时下的经济形势。节选如下:

    如何才能挽救经济颓势,创造就业机会?

    首先,国会和奥巴马总统可以实施相关措施来盘活一大笔资金,这笔资金目前作为存量,并没有用于投资。美国银行系统目前有2.2万亿美元未用于放贷的现金。除开其中几千亿美元的现金应作为预留来应付不良贷款,但还有近2万亿美元可以作为现金储备募集20万亿美元左右的贷款。因此,理论上,这笔资金可以让世界经济走出衰退阴影。另外,美国各大公司决定不用于投资的资金大约有2万多亿美元。

    第二件要做的事就是要加快解决房贷危机。这样,企业将更愿意参与借贷和拓展业务,消费者也更愿意花钱消费。解决这种类型的金融危机一般需要5年左右的时间。我们真正要做的就是打破历史常规,缩短解决周期。要做到这一点,我们必须重拾当初应对储蓄贷款危机(S&L crisis)时所采取的措施,并加大行动力度,才能尽快摆脱债务。

    第三件要做的事将有利于加强我们当下和今后的战略地位。我们需要重拾制造业,抓好出口,发展绿色技术。只要我们肯做,创造就业机会的门路有很多。

    按揭减免

    在房主能够偿付的前提下,如果我们的体制能允许房产价值低于房贷总额的房主们根据房产价值来调低房贷总额,这对经济的促进作用是不言而喻的。或者我们也可以延长按揭期限,同时降低利率。我认为我们能继续将房产交由已然极度低迷的市场来消化。这种做法会有人投赞成票吗?我不是很清楚。当初茶党形成的时候,他们似乎对于拯救大型银行持反对意见,声称这些银行是自作自受,没有必要保护。这话千真万确,但却没有关联性。一旦经济崩盘,所有人都得付出代价。现在很多人认为不能更改房贷,原因是那些人一开始就不应该贷款。这种想法存在很大的问题。市场现在很不景气,大家的日子都不不会好过。

    税收改革

    目前唯一能做的事就是效仿我们在80年代对个税所做的改革。我们需要缩减课税减免和信贷,降低利率,以此扩大税基。我认为国会在一年之内就会推出相关政策。我还希望从现在开始海外资金能够被自由回流,无需承担税费负担。世界强国当中,只有美国还在对本土企业在海外的经营所得征税。我认为,如果这些企业将这些钱投入生产,应该允许他们无偿地将资金带回本土。如果他们将钱花在补偿、股票回购或分红上面,则可以要求他们支付长期资本收益税金。

    “巴菲特准则”(对富人征收重税)

    如果我们确实需要增加财政收入,公平的做法就是拿我们这样的高收入群体开刀,他们在过去10年中是经济发展的主要受益者。美国的收入增长有40%落入了1%最有钱人的口袋。这个数据着实惊人。过去10年中小布什总统所推行的大规模税收削减使我们一部分人群受益匪浅。问题是,不管我们缴多少税,政府收支也难以得到平衡。我并不介意多交些税。但是与恢复眼下经济增长的有力措施和10年计划相比,应该征多高的税这个问题就显得微不足道了。

    President Bill Clinton presided over one of the most robust economies in American history. And while some of his success may have been a result of timing and some luck, his leadership his ability to create a consensus, in particular surely had a role and has some people waxing nostalgic over Clintonomics. (Clinton has a new book on the economy, Back to Work, coming out Nov. 8.) Fortune managing editor Andy Serwer met to discuss current economic events with the 42nd President, who was in the midst of his annual Clinton Global Initiative extravaganza in New York City. Edited excerpts:

    How to fix the economy and create jobs

    First, Congress and President Obama can adopt strategies designed to unleash the massive amount of capital that is accumulated but not being invested. There's some $2.2 trillion in cash in American banks that is not committed to loans. A couple hundred billion has to be held back for bad mortgages, but there's about $2 trillion that could be used in cash reserves for up to $20 trillion in loans. So, in theory, that would take the world out of recession. And U.S. corporations have about $2 trillion more that they have decided not to invest.

    The second thing is to accelerate the resolution of the home mortgage crisis, which would make businesses more eager to borrow, expand and consumers more willing to spend. These kinds of financial crises typically take about five years to get over. What we're really trying to do is beat the historical trend by getting over it more quickly. We can't do that unless we do on a larger scale what we did in the S&L crisis, which is to flush the debt quicker.

    The third category includes things that will strengthen our position today and tomorrow. We need to bring back manufacturing. We need to focus on exports. We need to focus on green technologies. There are dozens of things we could do that would create jobs.

    Mortgage relief

    I cannot emphasize the boost I think it would give the economy if we had a system that said to people whose homes are worth less than the mortgages that you can write down your mortgages to the value of your home if you can make the payment. Or you can extend the mortgage out and lower the interest rate. I don't think we ought to keep dumping these houses on the market when it's so depressed. Can we get the votes to do it? I don't know. When the Tea Party started, they seemed to object to the bailout of the big banks, claiming they were being protected from their own mistakes. That was true, but irrelevant. If a financial collapse had happened, we would have all paid. Now a lot of people argue that you shouldn't rewrite these mortgages because people never should have taken them out in the first place. There's a big problem with that thinking. The market is so depressed that it's hurting everyone else.

    Tax reform

    The only fair thing to do is a version of what we did with individual tax reform back in the '80s. We need to broaden the tax base by cutting down on deductions and credits and lower rates. I think Congress will do that within a year. I would also like to see money repatriated now for free, with no taxes. We're the only rich country in the world that still imposes taxes on corporations on money they earn overseas. I think they ought to bring it back for nothing if they put people to work with it. And if they want to spend it on compensation or stock buybacks or dividends, let them pay the long-term capital gains rate.

    "The Buffett Rule" (The rich pay more)

    If we had to raise revenues, it's fair to ask those of us in high-income groups, who got the primary benefit of growth over the last decade. More than 40% of the income growth went to the top 1% of us. That's a stunning statistic. The lion's share of the tax cuts in the last decade, under President Bush's tax cuts, benefited us. The problem is, no matter how much tax we pay, it won't get the budget in balance. I don't mind paying more. But how much is not nearly as important as our having both an aggressive effort to restore growth today and a 10-year plan.

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