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拖延战术解决不了美国的根本问题

Mohamed A. El-Erian 2013年10月16日

美国可能会再次依靠拖延战术来走出这次的政府停摆困境,但缓兵之计解决不了根本问题。它不仅对美国的经济复苏起不到作用,还会促使世界其他国家想办法进一步降低对美国的依赖,进而威胁到美国在全球的核心地位和美国的国家安全。

    如果你是联邦公务员、到国家级景点观光的游客或者投资者,你就一定感受到了近来这场国会大戏所产生的影响。如果无法打破目前的僵局,整个美国以及世界上很多国家和地区迟早都会发现,美国政府停摆不仅是一出可悲的闹剧,它还会直接影响人们的信心、就业前景以及养家糊口的能力。即使国会同心协力,但却只是搞拖延战术(似乎越来越有可能出现这种情况),这种风险也有可能成为现实。

    现在,人们已经相当清楚政府关门会有哪些直接影响。无论是否暂时下岗,大多数联邦公务员都无薪可领。政府办公能力已降至最低水平,公私交流和跨部门合作也都是如此。

    进入第二周后,政府停摆的影响开始成倍扩大。

    尽管相信自己最终会拿到工资,一些联邦公务员仍然自然而然地想到减少开支。有些地区的旅游业受到了重创,让一些平时以旅游业为可靠收入来源的当地企业入不敷出。同时,众多政府职能部门(比如审核法定地位)不再向公司开放这就延缓了企业招聘员工的计划。就连按揭公司都难以确认现有和潜在借款人的具体情况。

    对大多数没有直接受到影响的美国人以及世界上其他国家和地区来说,这些问题目前似乎还相当遥远。此外,只要联邦政府重新投入运作(这是肯定的),大多数不利影响就都只是暂时的,基本上也是可以挽回的。但很可惜,我们仍然有理由担心,本次国会停摆过后,美国经济可能不会出现强劲复苏。此前美国经济增长率原本就不高,也没有创造出足够的就业机会。

    现在,我们选出的议员正要让政府停摆和主权债务违约风险撞车。寻找政治解决方案从本质上讲已经变成了一种短期的片面措施。在少数成员特别能影响共和党谈判立场的情况下,现实一点儿来说,我们最多也只能期望民主、共和两党就应急措施达成一些蹩脚的协议。

    美国可能会再次依靠拖延战术走出本次国会停摆困境。

    虽然消除美国债务违约引发全球经济衰退这样迫在眉睫的风险是件好事,但它几乎不会增强企业和消费者的信心,而这种信心对经济强劲复苏来说非常关键。实际上,个人和公司可能都想让自己更安全一些,这种想法会进一步抑制经济活动。

    美国的全球地位也不会完全不受影响。

    不错,美国无须担心别人会很快取代自己而成为超级大国,成为全球储备货币发行国,成为希望和世界上最完善、最有深度的金融系统建立沟通渠道的那些人的目的地。美国在大部分国际经济互动(包括贸易、金融和多边政策协调)中都发挥着定海神针的作用,但美国国会现在却在让其他国家想方设法降低对美国的依赖程度。如果连这一点都想不到,国会就真是蠢到家了。这个问题和美国在世界上的整体地位有着直接联系,因而也影响着美国的国土安全。

    If you are a federal employee, a tourist visiting our national sites or an investor, you've already felt the consequences of the latest Congressional theatrics. If the current deadlock continues, it is just a matter of time before the rest of the nation – and also much of the rest of the world – would find that this latest political debacle is more than a sad spectacle; instead, it would directly impact confidence, job prospects and the ability to provide for family members. And this risk could materialize even if Congress gets its act together, but only does so by kicking the can down the road (as seems increasingly likely).

    The immediate effects of the government's shutdown are quite well known by now. Most federal employees – whether furloughed or not – are receiving no pay. Government services have been reduced to a minimum, as have both private-public interactions and multi-agency initiatives.

    Two weeks into the shutdown, the consequences have started to multiply.

    Some federal employees are naturally tempted to slow their spending, even if they are confident that they will be paid eventually. Tourism has been hit hard in some places, starving local businesses from a normally-reliable source of revenue. Meanwhile, companies are no longer able to access a range of government services, including the verification of legal-status, thus slowing their hiring plans. Even mortgage companies are facing difficulties in confirming the particulars of actual and prospective borrowers.

    For most Americans who are not directly impacted, and for the rest of the world, these issues may seem quite distant for now. Moreover, once the federal government reopens (as it will), most of the effects would end up being both temporary and largely reversible. Yet, unfortunately, there are still reasons to worry that our economy may not bounce back as buoyant from this latest Congressional debacle. And it is not as if it was growing at a high rate and creating sufficient jobs.

    With our elected representatives on Capitol Hill now combining the government shutdown with the threat of a sovereign debt default, the search for political solutions has become more short-term and partial in nature. And with a minority being particularly effective at influencing the negotiating position of the Republican party, the best that can be realistically hoped for is some clumsy agreement on stop-gap measures.

    America is likely emerge from this latest phase of Congressional dysfunction with yet another "kick the can down the road" outcome.

    While removing the immediate threat of a global recession associated with a U.S. debt default -- a good thing -- this would do little to strengthen business and consumer confidence that is so critical to a strong economic recovery. Indeed, both individuals and companies may be tempted to increase their self-insurance, thus further dampening economic activity.

    Our global standing would also emerge less than fully intact.

    Yes, America need not worry about being replaced any time soon as the world's superpower, the provider of the global reserve currency, and the destination for those wishing to outsource financial intermediation to what remains the most sophisticated and deepest financial system in the world. But Congress would be foolish not to recognize that it is tempting other countries to explore ways to reduce their reliance on the U.S. as the anchor for the bulk of international economic interactions (including trade, finance and multilateral policy coordination). And this directly speaks to our overall standing in the world, thus also impacting national security.

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