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美国赤字增速远超预期

Erik Sherman 2019年04月15日

美国财政部的月度收支报告显示,美国政府的支出速度要比收入快得多。

美国财政部公布了月度政府收支报告。对主张控制政府预算的政坛人士来说,这份报告透露的信息并不好。美国政府的支出速度要比收入快得多。

美国政府的财政年度为当年10月到第二年9月。在本财年上半年,美国政府年化赤字已达6921亿美元,而上一财年同期数字为5997亿美元,2018年的总赤字为7790亿美元。

官方估算的本财年赤字略低于1.09万亿美元。如果保持目前的速度,这个数字就有可能逼近1.4万亿美元。

美国经济研究院总裁、康涅狄格州哈特福德三一学院经济组织和创新专业教授爱德华·斯丁汉姆告诉《财富》杂志:“人们一直在说要让政府支出和赤字变得更合理,但每次我们都会听到政客们说:‘不用担心这个。’他们实际上一直在踢皮球。现在美国政府的债务达到了历史最高水平,而且还看不到要怎样对其进行调整的征兆。”

虽然民主、共和两党都会谈论赤字问题,但他们往往是在不掌权时才这样做,因此情况并没有出现实质性变化。

美国政府问责局今年4月10日发布的报告指出,“联邦政府目前的财政情况不可持续”,而且“拖延的时间越长,要做的改变就越大、越剧烈。”

支付政府债务利息所需的资金越来越多。政府债务是政府所有收支的总和,而美国政府支出过多,收入则不足。今年,美国政府债务的利息开支为每天8.96亿美元。

有人说政府可以不断地印钱,进而偿还债务。但在历史上,这样做的国家出现了超级通胀和经济灾难。

应付利息不断增多造成其他支出的空间减少,在联邦预算全面上升以及2017年《减税与就业法》显著降低政府税收收入之际,这可不是什么好事。美国财政部的报告称,2018年10月到2019年3月,美国政府征收的个人所得税约为7238亿美元,企业所得税为700亿美元。而在上一财年,同期个人所得税收入为7363亿美元,企业所得税收入为796亿美元。减税支持者表示经济增速加快将足以抵消税收减少的影响,但到目前为止情况并非如此。

至少现在来看,美国政府的赤字还没有任何节流迹象。(财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

The Treasury Department issued its monthly report on receipts and outlays of the government and, for deficit hawks, the news is not good. Money is flowing out far faster than it is coming in.

The first six months of the federal government’s fiscal year, which runs from October through September, saw the annual deficit already reach $691.2 billion dollars. At the same point last year, the deficit was $599.7 billion and the entire deficit for 2018 was $779 billion.

The official estimated deficit for the year is supposed to be just under $1.09 trillion. If the current pace keeps up, the total could run to almost $1.4 trillion.

“People have been talking about bringing government spending and deficits into more reasonable rates, but every time we hear politicians say, ‘Don’t worry about it,'” Edward Stringham, president of the American Institute for Economic Research, also a professor of economic organizations and innovation at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. told Fortune. “They’ve been essentially kicking the can down the road and we are now in the situation where United States government debt is at record levels and there are no signs in sight of how this is going to be rectified.”

Although both Democrats and Republicans talk about the problems of deficits, they tend to do so when they are out of power, so no meaningful change happens.

According to a Government Accountability Office report of April 10, 2019, the “federal government’s current fiscal path is unsustainable,” and “the longer action is delayed, the greater and more drastic the changes will have to be.”

Increasingly more money must go into paying interest on the national debt, which is the collected total of all deficits and surpluses, with too many of the former and not enough of the latter. This year, the cost of interest on the debt has run $896 million every day.

Some argue that the government could keep printing money to pay its debts. Historically, however, that has led to hyperinflation and economic disaster in other countries.

As the owed interest payments grow, there is less room for other spending, which isn’t good at a time when all parts of the federal budget keep climbing and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 has significant reduced income from taxes. According to the Treasury report, in the October 2018 through March 2019 period, individual income taxes received were about $723.8 billion and corporate income taxes were $70 billion. For the same period in the previous fiscal year, individual taxes were $736.3 billion and corporate taxes, $79.6 billion. Proponents of the tax cuts argued that increased economic growth would more than make up the reduction in tax levels, but it hasn’t thus far.

At least for now, the flow of red ink shows no signs of stopping.

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