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量化宽松不是给穷人的福利

量化宽松不是给穷人的福利

Stephen Gandel 2014年01月21日
有观点认为,美联储推出量化宽松政策、购买债券给穷人带来的好处多于富人,这是个愚蠢的观点。实际情况是,根据最新的研究,本轮经济衰退以来,美国贫富差距扩大的速度已经超过了此前近20年的水平。

    这份报告认为,量化宽松并未助推股市上行的另一项证据是市盈率。如果量化宽松提高的是股价而非盈利,市盈率就应该上升。报告指出,市盈率并没有超出历史正常水平,它还通过一幅图表来证明这一点。

    但那是在11月份。我和理查德•多布斯进行了交流,他是这篇报告的作者之一。我请他更新了这幅图。现在它是这个样子: 

    Another piece of evidence, according to the report, that QE has not boosted stock prices is the price-to-earnings ratio. If QE had been giving stocks a boost and not earnings, you would expect P/E ratios to go up. But the report says the stock valuation metric is not above historic norms. The report has a chart that shows that fact.

    But that was in November. I talked to one of the McKinsey report's authors, Richard Dobbs, and I had him update the chart in the report. Here's what it looks like now:   

    看到上扬的曲线末端了吗?现在的市盈率远高于正常水平,就算剔除了通胀的影响也是如此。多布斯说,市盈率在2013年陡然上升印证了他的观点——尽管美联储削减购债规模的意图已经显而易见,但投资者仍在追捧股票。然而,量化宽松现在并未结束。目前,美联储每个月仍买入750亿美元的债券,低于此前每个月850亿美元的水平,但降幅不大。我认为,实际情况是利润增速已经放慢,但投资者对股票依然热情不减。原因是因为量化宽松吗?外界众说纷纭。

    对于量化宽松怎样让穷人受益,多布斯的最后一条依据是:量化宽松让利率下降,带来了更低的借贷成本。因此,政府没有马上紧缩开支,福利支出得以保全。非也。美国和欧洲政府都已削减了社会性支出。多布斯认为,如果没有量化宽松,削减幅度将更大。我不知道他是怎样得出这个结论的。没错,利率上升可能意味着更高的赤字,但美国政府未必会因此决定削减开支。

    量化宽松是金融危机以来美国政府规模最大、持续时间最长的促增长措施。美联储购买的债券已经达到约3万亿美元。如果穷人从中获得的好处真的多于富人,财富的分配就应该比以前更均衡。然而,实际情况正好相反。本周早些时候,斯坦福(Stanford)大学公布的研究结果表明,本轮经济衰退以来,美国贫富差距扩大的速度已经超过了此前近20年的水平。

    这种观点的真正危险性在于,有些人可能会说,有了量化宽松,我们就不需要食品券,也不需要失业保险这样的措施,而只有这些措施的受益者才是穷人、而不是富人。换句话说,讨厌量化宽松或许有许多正当理由,比如它正在催生泡沫,它实际上并没有促进借贷。但说它让穷人有钱了不该是其中之一。(财富中文网)

    译者:Charlie   

    See that spike at the end? P/E multiples are now well above norms, even when you exclude periods of inflation. Dobbs says the fact that the P/E ratio spike came in 2013 is proof of his point. Investors still bid up stocks even after it became clear that the Fed was going to pull back on bond purchases. But QE hasn't ended. The Fed is still buying $75 billion in bonds a month, which is less than the $85 billion a month it had been purchasing, but not by much. What I think you are really seeing here is that earnings growth has slowed, but investors' appetite for stocks has not. Is that because of QE? It's as good a guess as any.

    Dobbs' final point on how QE has benefited the poor: It has driven down interest rates, and QE has made it cheaper to borrow. That has put off austerity efforts that would cut spending on welfare programs. But it hasn't. Both the U.S. and Europe have cut back on social spending. Dobbs argues that without QE the cuts would have been deeper. But I'm not sure how he gets to that. Yes, higher interest rates would have meant higher deficits, but that doesn't necessarily mean Washington would have decided to cut any more.

    QE has been one of the largest and most persistent stimulus program that the government has enacted since the financial crisis. The Fed has bought roughly $3 trillion in bonds. So if it really benefited the poor more than the rich, then you would expect some rebalancing of wealth. But, in fact, the opposite has occurred. Earlier this week, a Stanford study found that wealth inequality has risen faster since the recession than it had in the nearly two decades before.

    The real danger in this thinking is that with QE in place some may say we don't need programs like food stamps or unemployment insurance, programs that do actually benefit the poor and not the rich. Put another way: There may be a lot of valid reasons to dislike like QE. It's creating a bubble. It's not actually boosting lending. But the argument that it makes the poor richer should not be one of them.

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