立即打开
越来越多美国人陷入危机,或许这项政策能帮他们

越来越多美国人陷入危机,或许这项政策能帮他们

Rajiv J. Shah 2021年10月07日
扩大收入所得税抵免范围可以帮助数百万低收入工人免于陷入贫困。

图片来源: COURTESY OF GETTY IMAGES

今年8月,美国经济新增就业岗位23.5万个,低于预期,也低于6月和7月每月新增大约100万个的数据。而且,8月调整后的数据可能会更低,因为现在采集的数据没有反映出德尔塔变种病毒迅速蔓延、西部火灾,以及墨西哥湾和东海岸的飓风带来的影响。

种种危机及其对最弱势群体的工作和生活的影响给我们敲响了警钟:美国人正生活在一个新时代。美国的政策工具必须演化,才能够应对这一挑战。幸运的是,我们有一些解决方案已经在新冠疫情期间证明了自己的有效性,其中包括大幅扩大收入所得税抵免(Earned Income Tax Credit)。9月中旬,关于是否永久扩大收入所得税抵免范围的辩论更加焦灼,美国人必须明白,为什么收入所得税抵免可以提升美国经济的公平性,提升我们在这个充满危机的时代的适应性。

50年前,理查德·尼克松总统提出了收入所得税抵免的理念。在其继任者杰拉尔德·福特总统任内,收入所得税抵免成为法律。罗纳德·里根总统扩大了它的范围,称之为“美国国会出台的措施中能够减少贫困、扶持家庭、创造就业的最有力措施。”这是最具两党合作的法案之一,研究表明,这也是扩大并加固美国安全网的最有效方式之一。收入所得税抵免通过增加低收入工人的收入来鼓励工作,为公众的健康、教育和生活质量带来实实在在的好处。

然而,多年来,这项措施过于严格,受益人群远远不够。这么多年来,我们的税法造成了种种不公,让人们反而更容易受到伤害,加深了不平等,这只是其中一个方面。新冠疫情之前,联邦政府对580万劳动人口征税,让他们愈发贫困,导致近四成美国成年人的储蓄甚至无法支付400美元的意外开支,无法应付去趟医院或其他突发情况的开销。

对许多美国人来说,新冠肺炎疫情就是一个这样的突发状况,这也是为什么新冠疫情加剧了不公平:去年以来,有2000万美国人因为新冠疫情而失去了工作,而美国亿万富翁的净资产增加了1万亿美元以上。新冠疫情并不是唯一的突发状况:三分之一的美国人至少直接受到今年夏天一场气候变化灾难的影响,包括飓风亨利(Hurricanes Henri)和艾达(Hurricanes Ida),以及加州和俄勒冈州的野火。这些灾害对最弱势群体的伤害最大,部分原因是美国最贫穷群体的工作高度依赖天气,或者需要暴露在病原体中、不断变化的环境中等等。

今年早些时候,“美国救援计划”(American Rescue Plan)扩大了收入所得税抵免的范围。无子女成年人的收入上限从大约1.6万美元提高到至少2.1万美元,平均抵免从大约540美元提高到1500美元。扩大收入所得税抵免将使大约1740万美国工人受益,让他们可以支付房租和其他账单、购买食物、获得医保。

试想一下,一位25岁的单身女性,工作是收银员,每周大约工作30个小时,年收入13800美元。在美国救援计划实施前,即使她能够享受非常小额的收入抵免,但扣除她的联邦收入和工资税后,她也位于12880美元的贫困线以下961美元。但随着收入所得税抵免的扩大,在扣除联邦收入和工资税后,她的收入将比贫困线高出38美元。再加上儿童税收抵免(也在美国救援计划框架下扩大了范围),收入所得税抵免让更多的美国人摆脱了贫困,比社会保障计划(Social Security)以外的任何项目都多。

不幸的是,这名收银员和其他弱势人群将面临下一阶段的疫情和下一场危机,而得到的支持却变少了。9月中旬,800多万美国人失去了疫情联邦失业救济金,还有270万人失去了300美元的联邦其他失业救济金。美国最高法院最近还驳回了拜登政府的暂停驱逐令,令情况雪上加霜。

当前形势下,危机重重,紧急救济措施却画上句号,再加上长期看来,中低收入工人的前景未来越来越不容乐观,美国人民以及仍然脆弱的美国经济被置于危险之中。为了提升二者的适应性,美国需要使收入所得税抵免政策永久化。

毕竟,新冠疫情已经证明了美国经济是多么的不公平,以及美国经济因此变得多么脆弱。收入所得税抵免制度正在帮助许多美国人从新冠疫情中恢复过来,如果可以永久化,将有助于他们在应对未来危机时更具韧性。此外,迈出这重要一步,我们能够使美国经济更好地反应美国价值观,可以让我们所有人更加强大。(财富中文网)

拉吉夫·沙阿是洛克菲勒基金会(The Rockefeller Foundation)的主席。

译者:Agatha

今年8月,美国经济新增就业岗位23.5万个,低于预期,也低于6月和7月每月新增大约100万个的数据。而且,8月调整后的数据可能会更低,因为现在采集的数据没有反映出德尔塔变种病毒迅速蔓延、西部火灾,以及墨西哥湾和东海岸的飓风带来的影响。

种种危机及其对最弱势群体的工作和生活的影响给我们敲响了警钟:美国人正生活在一个新时代。美国的政策工具必须演化,才能够应对这一挑战。幸运的是,我们有一些解决方案已经在新冠疫情期间证明了自己的有效性,其中包括大幅扩大收入所得税抵免(Earned Income Tax Credit)。9月中旬,关于是否永久扩大收入所得税抵免范围的辩论更加焦灼,美国人必须明白,为什么收入所得税抵免可以提升美国经济的公平性,提升我们在这个充满危机的时代的适应性。

50年前,理查德·尼克松总统提出了收入所得税抵免的理念。在其继任者杰拉尔德·福特总统任内,收入所得税抵免成为法律。罗纳德·里根总统扩大了它的范围,称之为“美国国会出台的措施中能够减少贫困、扶持家庭、创造就业的最有力措施。”这是最具两党合作的法案之一,研究表明,这也是扩大并加固美国安全网的最有效方式之一。收入所得税抵免通过增加低收入工人的收入来鼓励工作,为公众的健康、教育和生活质量带来实实在在的好处。

然而,多年来,这项措施过于严格,受益人群远远不够。这么多年来,我们的税法造成了种种不公,让人们反而更容易受到伤害,加深了不平等,这只是其中一个方面。新冠疫情之前,联邦政府对580万劳动人口征税,让他们愈发贫困,导致近四成美国成年人的储蓄甚至无法支付400美元的意外开支,无法应付去趟医院或其他突发情况的开销。

对许多美国人来说,新冠肺炎疫情就是一个这样的突发状况,这也是为什么新冠疫情加剧了不公平:去年以来,有2000万美国人因为新冠疫情而失去了工作,而美国亿万富翁的净资产增加了1万亿美元以上。新冠疫情并不是唯一的突发状况:三分之一的美国人至少直接受到今年夏天一场气候变化灾难的影响,包括飓风亨利(Hurricanes Henri)和艾达(Hurricanes Ida),以及加州和俄勒冈州的野火。这些灾害对最弱势群体的伤害最大,部分原因是美国最贫穷群体的工作高度依赖天气,或者需要暴露在病原体中、不断变化的环境中等等。

今年早些时候,“美国救援计划”(American Rescue Plan)扩大了收入所得税抵免的范围。无子女成年人的收入上限从大约1.6万美元提高到至少2.1万美元,平均抵免从大约540美元提高到1500美元。扩大收入所得税抵免将使大约1740万美国工人受益,让他们可以支付房租和其他账单、购买食物、获得医保。

试想一下,一位25岁的单身女性,工作是收银员,每周大约工作30个小时,年收入13800美元。在美国救援计划实施前,即使她能够享受非常小额的收入抵免,但扣除她的联邦收入和工资税后,她也位于12880美元的贫困线以下961美元。但随着收入所得税抵免的扩大,在扣除联邦收入和工资税后,她的收入将比贫困线高出38美元。再加上儿童税收抵免(也在美国救援计划框架下扩大了范围),收入所得税抵免让更多的美国人摆脱了贫困,比社会保障计划(Social Security)以外的任何项目都多。

不幸的是,这名收银员和其他弱势人群将面临下一阶段的疫情和下一场危机,而得到的支持却变少了。9月中旬,800多万美国人失去了疫情联邦失业救济金,还有270万人失去了300美元的联邦其他失业救济金。美国最高法院最近还驳回了拜登政府的暂停驱逐令,令情况雪上加霜。

当前形势下,危机重重,紧急救济措施却画上句号,再加上长期看来,中低收入工人的前景未来越来越不容乐观,美国人民以及仍然脆弱的美国经济被置于危险之中。为了提升二者的适应性,美国需要使收入所得税抵免政策永久化。

毕竟,新冠疫情已经证明了美国经济是多么的不公平,以及美国经济因此变得多么脆弱。收入所得税抵免制度正在帮助许多美国人从新冠疫情中恢复过来,如果可以永久化,将有助于他们在应对未来危机时更具韧性。此外,迈出这重要一步,我们能够使美国经济更好地反应美国价值观,可以让我们所有人更加强大。(财富中文网)

拉吉夫·沙阿是洛克菲勒基金会(The Rockefeller Foundation)的主席。

译者:Agatha

In August, the U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs—below expectations and below the numbers from June and July, which hovered around one million new jobs apiece. Unfortunately, the adjusted assessment for August will likely be even lower, since the data collected did not reflect the surging COVID-19 Delta variant, wildfires in the west, or hurricanes in the Gulf and East Coast.

These crises—and their impact on the jobs and lives of the most vulnerable—are a reminder that Americans are living in a new era. U.S. policy tools must evolve to meet it. Fortunately, some solutions have proven useful in responding to the COVID pandemic—including a significant expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). As the debate intensifies in mid-September over making the EITC expansion permanent, Americans must appreciate why it makes our economy more equitable and thus more resilient in a crisis-rich era.

Fifty years ago, President Richard Nixon proposed what has become known as the EITC. It became law under his successor, Gerald Ford. President Ronald Reagan expanded the EITC, calling it “the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress.” It is one of the most bipartisan and, studies have made clear, effective ways to expand and strengthen the American safety net. The EITC encourages work by increasing earnings for low-wage workers while generating substantial benefits in health, education, and quality of life.

Yet for years, the measure was too tightly drawn, not benefiting nearly enough people. That was just one way our tax code has long been inequitable—making people more vulnerable, not less, and deepening inequality. Before the pandemic, the federal government was taxing 5.8 million working people deeper into poverty. As a result, nearly 40% of American adults did not have enough savings to cover a unexpected $400 expense, like a hospital visit or some other emergency.

For many Americans, COVID has been that emergency, which is why the pandemic’s impact has been so inequitable: Since last year, 20 million Americans lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, while America’s billionaires saw their net worth increase by more than $1 trillion. And Covid is not the only emergency: A third of Americans were directly affected by at least one of this summer’s climate change disasters—Hurricanes Henri and Ida as well as wildfires in California and Oregon. Events like these will hurt the most vulnerable—the poorest in the United States—far worse, in part, because so many of their jobs depend on weather or require exposure to pathogens, a changing environment, and more.

Earlier this year, the American Rescue Plan expanded EITC eligibility. The income cap for adults without children increased from about $16,000 to at least $21,000, and the average credit increased from roughly $540 to $1,500. The EITC expansion will benefit an estimated 17.4 million American workers—increasing their ability to pay rent and other bills, afford enough food, access health care, and more.

Consider a 25-year-old single woman earning $13,800 annually while working roughly 30 hours per week as a cashier. Prior to the American Rescue Plan, her combined federal income and payroll taxes, even accounting for her very small EITC, would have pushed her income $961 below the poverty line of $12,880. But with the expanded EITC, her income after federal income and payroll taxes will be $38 above the poverty line. Together with the Child Tax Credit, which also expanded under the American Rescue Plan, the EITC has lifted more Americans out of poverty than any program except Social Security.

Unfortunately, that cashier, and the rest of the most vulnerable Americans, will face the next stage of COVID-19 and the next crisis with less support. In mid-September, more than 8 million Americans lost their federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits, and 2.7 million more lost a $300 federal supplement to other unemployment benefits. In addition, the Supreme Court recently blocked the Biden administration’s eviction moratorium.

The end of these emergency measures amid multiple, concurrent crises, combined with the long-term decline in the prospects of low- and middle-income workers, puts the American people—and the still-fragile American economy—at risk. To make both more resilient, the country needs make permanent the EITC.

After all, the pandemic has proven how inequitable and, as a result, how fragile the American economy has become. The EITC is helping many Americans recover from the pandemic and, if made permanent, it will help them become far more resilient for the crises ahead. Even more, it would be an important step toward making the economy better reflect American values—and make us all stronger as a result.

Rajiv Shah is president of The Rockefeller Foundation.

最新:
  • 热读文章
  • 热门视频
活动
扫码打开财富Plus App