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基思·亨尼西(Hennessey)的博客

美国前国家经济委员会主任、乔治·布什的首席经济顾问Keith Hennessey

 
 
 

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刺激方案的效果是否会来得太晚?  

2009-06-05 11:06:34|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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摘要:我认为政府在刺激方案的立法实施上犯了极大的错误。结果,国内生产总值的提高比它需要的时间要延迟6到9个月(可能更多)。

 

我从三月底开始在这个博客上写文章,那个时候关于刺激内需的议案已经立法通过。我十分讶异自此以来关于该法案的争论很大一部分集中在讨论其是否已产生效果。(很显然答案是否定的。)而对于此刺激法案接下来是否会发生作用、以及宏观经济的安排却较少讨论。

每个人都想知道,何时美国经济会开始增长。我将集中探讨一个相关问题:什么时候,这个刺激法案将会对美国经济的增长发挥重大积极影响?并且,如果政府做了不同的决策,它是否能来得更快一些?

    我认为政府在刺激方案的立法实施上犯了极大的错误。结果,国内生产总值的提高比它需要的时间要延迟69个月(可能更多)。鉴于总统希望给以大量的财政刺激,再考虑到他的政策偏好,他本来可以有不同的法案,使之从现在开始产生显著的国内生产总值增长,而不是在明年年中时期。这是一个给美国和全球经济带来实际后果的巨大错误。

为了说明这一点,让我将财政刺激划分为四种类型:

1.      永久性减税

2.      临时性减税

3.      一次性地核查纳税人独立的应纳税额。

4.      通过联邦和州行政机构增加政府的开支(基础设施,能源开支等)

当然有第五个选择:没有财政刺激法。

如果你打算实行一项财政刺激政策(如果比较大),最好的一种方法是永久性地减税。这是有效的,高效的和快捷的:

      有效 大众将永久性税免的很大一部份用来消费。这是来自米尔顿·弗里德曼的《永久收入假说》”。

      高效 人们将钱花在自己身上,因此他们很少会浪费钱财,而且他们会将钱花在要紧事上。同上,来自米尔顿·弗里德曼的《永久收入假说》

      快捷

支票可以迅速交付,而且人们在得到支票后,很快会花掉自己大部分的钱。

这是我们所设计的2003年减税政策背后的短期逻辑的一部份,该政策旨在促进短期和长期经济增长。对于公共政策,我也强烈倾向于降低税收而不是增加更多政府开支,但对于它如何有效地短期刺激经济,这是另外一个问题.

2008年,我们知道我们无法获得民主党控制的国会颁布一项永久性减税。问:你是选择临时减税,还是什么也不做?总统认为2008年经济放缓的风险如此重要以至于它对追求(第二最佳)国会的临时减税很重要。

2003年的法案类似,08年的法案也旨在通过预支下一年税款同时国税局以支票形式返给纳税人的形式来刺激短期国内生产总值的增加。正如在2003年,支票在夏季(6月中旬初至8月)被送到纳税人,这些消费者就立即开始花费他们的一部分回扣。

因为法律是2008年是临时减税,纳税人花费比任何人希望的都要小的比例,虽然设计的法律,我们推断的大约1 / 3将被花掉,并且大部分会被花的相当快。其余的将被节省下来,这也是很好的,但不利于短期GDP增长。经济学家一致认为,因为在2008年刺激法国内生产总值在2008年第三季度和第四季度的会比它本来应该达到的数据要高。这是高效,快速,但只是部分有效,以较小的国内生产总值的提高与我们本来希望比较:

l      高效 ———人民再次花费自己的钱自己。没用的东西很少,人们知道自己想要什么和需要什么。

l      快捷 —— 支票交付迅速,大部分的支出确实发生在第三季度,有一些在第四季度,很少一部分留到2009年的第一季度。

l      部分有效 ——因为这是一个临时减税,人们像预期的那样节省了很多支票,我们仍然在第三季度和第四季度得到了一个国内生产总值的凸点,事后看来我们当然需要它。

2008年法,主要是(2)我上面列举的——临时减税。一些钱去了(3),包括给那些不缴纳所得税的人的支票。与民主党国会领导在高度重视的法律分配效应方面达成折中是很有必要的。议长佩洛西坚持这样一个观点,那些没有所得税的穷人也能得到回扣支票,而且高收入的纳税人什么也得不到。因此2008年刺激法,主要是(2)和一点点(3

现在,快进到20091月,当总统奥巴马提出了一个巨大的财政刺激方案。总统的错误是在很大程度上听从国会的刺激法案构成,而不是通过减少开支和低效率的官僚机构让国会抽出数千亿美元,,总统应该坚持认为美国国会应该把所有的资金直接送给美国人民让他们快速有效地消费掉。鉴于他的政策偏好,他本应该把这些资金的很大比例直接给那些没支付所得税的穷人。他本来可以再次的这些支付的款项错标成减税的标签 ,或只是把它们正确地标示为一次性领取款项。我不会喜欢这项政策,但它将比他允许国会所做的那些决定产生了更快的宏观经济刺激。

让我们比较了两个情景。 2009年颁布的刺激方案是:

l     有效(最终) —大部分开支将通过政府官僚机构(最终)增加国内生产总值。

l     有效的(最终)-7870亿美元的部分,最终将增加国内生产总值到一个高峰,远比把所有的资金提供给个人和家庭要高。

l     低效率 这将是两层意思上的低效。开支代表立法者的政策偏好(和所有的丑恶立法的交易和妥协),而不是那些大概知道如何更好地把钱花在他们自己身上的亿万美国人的选择。支出也将浪费,我们开始在新闻里看到这种迹象。

l     非常慢 -国会预算办公室说, 250亿美元支出已经在522日进入了美国经济。这是不到该法案总预算的影响的4%。其他新闻报道表明,如果包括税收方面大约400亿美元是在经济。请记住,到81日几乎2008年的所有财政刺激是在私人手中的。从2009年的第三季度的财政刺激中我们的国内生产总值会得到很小的增长,第四季度也没有多少增长。刺激将开始在明年第一季度加大,并在2010年的第二和第三季度全面展开。

如果总统不是坚持认为7870亿美元刺激应该直接进入人们手中,而人民包括那些谁支付所得税和没有支付的,我们现在将可以看到一个这样的刺激:

l     部分有效但仍相当大 因为这是居民收入的一个临时,7870亿美元中只有一小部分将花掉。但是即使是7870亿美元中的 1 / 41 / 3仍然是很多倒出门外的钱。相对无效临时收入的变化将被大量的现金流抵消。

l     高效 人们将把钱花到自己身上。其中有些人将把别人的钱花到自己身上,但至少他们花在了自己需要的地方,而不是花在强大的美国国会议员的各地区多年供水项目上。你会减少很多浪费。

l     快捷 国内生产总值的提高将集中在2009年的第三季度和第四季度,从2010年第一季度急剧减少。

 

为什么总统不这样做?与国会的讨论在他上任前从一月份就开始了,并且他面临着一个控制并给众议院拨款委员会主席欧贝(名D -威斯康星)大量离职基金的强大议长 。我想到了三个貌似可信的解释:

1.            总统和他的团队都没有意识到这样一个分析点,基础设施方面的支出对于国内  生产总值的影响很缓慢。 

2.            他们杂乱无章

3.            他们不想在最初几天里与他们的新国会盟友对抗。

认为政府现在认识到这个问题。上个月,当他们发布了一个CEA文件“2009年美国经济复苏与再投资法案就业发展评估报告”,文件主要围绕增加就业的时间和2009年和2010年的政府支出方面进行分析。对媒体的提示:(1)要求政府给你对刺激法案季度现金流的管理和预算评估;(2)请他们给你的季度国内生产总值和这份CEA文件背后的就业增长的估计。我知道的第一个存在,我打赌第二个肯定也存在。

   
幸运的是,国会预算办公室主任道埃尔门多夫在讨论关于财政政策的国际货币基金组织会议上做了一个题为执行滞后的财政政策的报告。以下所有数据都来自他的报告。

最终的2009年刺激法案是这样破裂的:

 

十年总计(亿美元)

总百分比

随意支出(高速公路,轨道交通,能源效率,宽带,教育,国家援助)

3080

39%

应享权利(食品券,失业,医疗,退还税收抵免)

2670

34%

减税

2120

27%

总计

7870

100%

 

问题是,只有第一行(可自由支配的个人开支)的11 %的将用于到今年的101日的开支。与此相反, 31-32 %的应享权利和减税线将会在那个时候被拒之门外。 (我对权力部分的速度有疑问,大部分是医疗开支,并且我不太明白,联邦支付对一个洲来说意味着现金立即流入私营经济。)
   
如果我们放宽期限到2010101号,那么不到一半的开支将流向市场,而近3 / 4的权利开支和所有的减税将流向市场,并影响经济。所以刺激法的最大部分也是最缓慢的开支部分。如果您设法在未来2-4年增加国内生产总值的增长,这样是很好的。如果你是为了短期国内生产总值的增长,它没有任何意义。

负责人埃尔门多夫进一步降低可自由支配的个人开支,并指出国防开支迅速发生作用,公路和供水却极为缓慢:

l     如果您拨出1美元到国防开支,在一年之内会花掉65美分。

l     如果您拨款1到公路开支,在一年之内会花掉27美分。

l     如果您分配1美元到供水项目中,在一年内只花了4美分。

事实上,刺激法案的基础设施开支将在2011年财政年度达到顶峰,财政年度从2010101930日至2011年。从宏观角度来说为时已晚。

主管进一步指出, 2009年刺激法案生成很多新项目,这些钱慢慢花出,因为生成和扩大新项目需要花费时间。
行政部门已经与联邦和州官僚机构做了许多工作,以找到大量预备性投入项目,以加快基础设施支出。我所有关于预算分析的言论认为这种说法非常夸张,并且主管埃尔门多夫问道:这是否大规模地实用?

2009年刺激法案将促进美国经济增长。但现实将与预算分析家们对实际复苏速度的预测相一致。

我不会喜欢刺激法案,它把现金给了那些不缴纳收入所得税的人。但是,从宏观经济角度来看,我们现在需要更快的经济增长。如果总统和他的团队坚持把钱给这样一些人(纳税的或不纳税的),而不是给政府机构,我们将在今年的第三季度和第四季度看到一个巨大的爆发式的增长。

遗憾的是,我们却要等到明年年中,因为白宫听从国会的意愿把钱花在了基础建设上。这一战略性错误本是可以避免的,而经济复苏将因此而被推迟。

 

 (翻译纠错。读者发现任何翻译错误请发邮件给我们,谢谢:caijingblog#126.com 将#改为@)


英文原文(地址:http://keithhennessey.com/2009/06/03/will-the-stimulus-come-too-late/):

Posted Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009, at 11:10 pm

I began this blog at the end of March after the stimulus bill had become law.  I had been struck by how much the stimulus debate had focused on whether the bill was efficient.  (It clearly was not.)  There was much less discussion of whether the stimulus would be effective, and of the timing of the macroeconomic boost.

Everyone wants to know when the U.S. economy will start growing.  I will focus on a related question:  when will the stimulus law begin to have a significant positive effect on U.S. economic growth?  And could it have come sooner if the Administration had done something different?

I believe the Administration made an enormous mistake in its legislative implementation of the stimulus.  As a result, the boost to GDP will come six to nine months later than it needed to (maybe more).  Given the President’s desire to do a large fiscal stimulus, and given his policy preferences, he could have had a different bill that would have been producing significant GDP growth beginning now, rather than in the middle of next year.  That’s a huge mistake with real consequences for the U.S. and global economies.

  1. a permanent tax cut;
  2. a temporary tax cut;
  3. one-time checks to people independent of their tax liabilities; and
  4. increased government spending through federal and state bureaucracies:  infrastructure, energy spending, etc.

There is of course a fifth option:  no fiscal stimulus law.

If you’re going to do a fiscal stimulus (big if), the best kind is a permanent tax cut.  It is effective, efficient, and fast:

  • effective – People spend a large proportion of a permanent tax cut.  This is derived from Milton Friedman’s “permanent income hypothesis.”
  • efficient – People spend their own money on themselves, so they waste very little of it, and they spend it on things that matter to them.  Again, see Milton Friedman.
  • fast – Checks are delivered quickly, and people spend most of their own money soon after they get the check.

This was part of the short-term logic behind the 2003 tax cut, which we designed to foster both short-term and long-term economic growth.  I also have a strong general policy preference for lower taxes rather than more government spending, but that’s a separable question from how it works as short-term stimulus.

In 2008 we knew we could not get a Democratic Congress to enact a permanent tax cut.  Q:  Do you then go for a temporary tax cut, or do nothing?  The President thought the risks of an economic slowdown in 2008 were significant enough that it made sense to pursue a (second best) temporary tax cut with the Congress.

Like the 2003 law, the 2008 law got the bulk of its short-term GDP boost by advancing tax refunds from the year to come, and delivering them as checks from the IRS to taxpayers.  As in 2003, the checks were delivered to taxpayers in the summer (mid-June to early-August), and consumers immediately started spending a portion of their rebates.

Because the 2008 law was a temporary tax cut, taxpayers spent a smaller proportion of it than anyone would have liked.  While designing the law, we assumed about 1/3 would be spent, and much of that fairly quickly.  The rest would be saved, which is also good but doesn’t help short-term GDP growth.  Economists agree that GDP in Q3 and Q4 of 2008 was higher than it otherwise would have been because of the 2008 stimulus law.  It was efficient, fast, yet only partially effective, with a smaller GDP boost than we would have liked:

  • efficient – People were again spending their own money on themselves.  You get very little waste, and people know what they want and need.
  • fast – Checks were delivered quickly, and much of the spending that did occur happened in Q3, with some in Q4, and with very little left by Q1 of 2009.
  • only partially effective – Because it was a temporary tax cut, people saved a lot of their checks, as we expected.  Still we got a GDP bump in Q3 and Q4, and in retrospect we certainly needed it.

The 2008 law was mostly (2) from my list above – a temporary tax cut.  Some of the money went to (3), checks to people who didn’t pay income taxes.  This was necessary to reach a compromise with a Democratic Congressional leadership that placed a high priority on the distributional effects of the law.  Speaker Pelosi insisted that poor people who owed no income taxes still get “rebate” checks, and that high-income taxpayers get nothing.  So the 2008 stimulus law was mostly (2) with a little bit of (3).

Now fast forward to January of 2009, when President Obama proposed an enormous fiscal stimulus.  The President’s mistake was in largely deferring to Congress on the composition of the stimulus bill. Rather than allowing Congress to pump hundreds of billions of dollars through slow-spending and inefficient bureaucracies, the President should have insisted that Congress instead send all the funds directly to the American people and let them spend it quickly and efficiently.  Given his policy preferences, he could have directed a large share of those funds to poor people who don’t pay income taxes.  He could have again mislabeled these payments as “tax cuts,” or just correctly labeled them as one-time entitlement payments.  I would not have liked that policy, but it would have generated a faster macroeconomic boost than what he allowed Congress to do instead.

Let’s compare the two scenarios.  The enacted 2009 stimulus is:

  • effective (eventually) – Most of the spending through government bureaucracies will (eventually) increase GDP.  Some of the funds transferred to State governments will be used to offset State spending or tax cuts that otherwise would have occurred, so there’s a loss.  But clearly the proportion of the $787 B that will eventually increase GDP will be high, and much higher than if all the funds were given to individuals and families.
  • inefficient – It will be inefficient in two senses.  The spending represents the policy preferences of legislators (and all their ugly legislative deals and compromises), rather than the choices of hundreds of millions of Americans who presumably know better how they would like money spent on them.  The spending will also be wasteful, and we are starting to see signs of this in the press.
  • s-l-o-o-o-w – CBO says that $25 B of spending had gone into the economy by May 22nd.  That’s less than 4% of the total budgetary impact of that bill.  Other news reports suggest that about $40 B is in the economy if you include the revenue side.  Remember that almost all of the 2008 stimulus was in private hands by August 1.  We will get very little GDP boost from fiscal stimulus in Q3 of 2009, and not much in Q4 either.  The stimulus will begin to ramp up in Q1 of next year, and be in full swing by Q2 and Q3 of 2010.

Had the President instead insisted that a $787 B stimulus go directly into people’s hands, where “people” includes those who pay income taxes and those who don’t, we would now be seeing a stimulus that would be:

  • partially effective but still quite large – Because it would be a temporary change in people’s incomes, only a fraction of the $787 B would be spent.  But even 1/4 or 1/3 of $787 B is still a lot of money to dump out the door.  The relative ineffectiveness of a temporary income change would be offset by the enormous amount of cash flowing.
  • efficient – People would be spending money on themselves.  Some of them would be spending other people’s money on themselves, but at least they would be spending on their own needs, rather than on multi-year water projects in the districts of powerful Members of Congress.  You would have much less waste.
  • fast – The GDP boost would be concentrated in Q3 and Q4 of 2009, tapering off heavily in Q1 of 2010.

Why did the President not do this?  Discussions with the Congress began in January before he took office, and he faced a strong Speaker who took control and gave a huge chuck of funding to House Appropriations Chairman Obey (D-WI).  I can think of three plausible explanations:

  1. The President and his team did not realize the analytical point that infrastructure spending has too slow of a GDP effect.
  2. They were disorganized.
  3. They did not want a confrontation with their new Congressional allies in their first few days.

I think the Administration now recognizes this problem.  Last month when they released a CEA paper “Estimates of Job Creation from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009,” the paper danced around the timing of job growth and government outlays in 2009 and 2010.  Tips for reporters:  (1) ask the Administration to give you OMB estimates of quarterly cash flows for the stimulus law, and (2) ask them to give you the quarterly GDP and job growth estimates behind this CEA paper.  I know the first one exists, and I’d bet heavily the second does as well.

Fortunately, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf just gave a presentation titled “Implementation Lags of Fiscal Policy” to the IMF’s conference on fiscal policy.  All of the following data are from his presentation.

The final 2009 stimulus law broke down like this:

10-yr total

% of total

Discretionary spending (highways, mass transit, energy efficiency, broadband, education, state aid)

$308 B

39%

Entitlements (food stamps, unemployment, Medicaid, refundable tax credits)

$267 B

34%

Tax cuts

$212 B

27%

Total

$787 B

100%

The problem is that only 11% of the first line (discretionary spending) will be spent by October 1 of this year.  In contrast, 31-32% of the entitlement and tax cuts lines will be out the door by that time.  (I have questions about the speed of the entitlement part.  The bulk of that is Medicaid spending, and it’s not clear to me that a Federal payment to a State means the cash is immediately flowing into the private economy.)

If we extend our window to October 1, 2010, then less than half the discretionary spending will be out the door, while almost 3/4 of the entitlement spending and all of the tax cuts will be out the door and affecting the economy.  The largest part of the stimulus law is therefore also the slowest spending part.  This is fine if you’re trying to increase GDP growth over the next 2-4 years.  If you’re going for short-term GDP growth, it makes no sense.

Director Elmendorf drills down further into discretionary spending and shows that defense spending happens quickly, highways and water extremely slowly:

  • If you allocate $1 to defense spending, 65 cents has been spent within one year.
  • If you allocate $1 to highway spending, 27 cents has been spent within one year.
  • If you allocate $1 to water projects, only 4 cents has been spent within one year.

In fact, the infrastructure spending in the stimulus law will peak in fiscal year 2011, which goes from October 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011.  That’s too late from a macro perspective.

The Director further points out that the 2009 stimulus law created many new programs.  This slows spend-out, as it takes time to create and ramp up the new programs.

The Administration has made much of working with federal and state bureaucracies to find “shovel-ready” projects to accelerate infrastructure spending.  All of my conversations with budget analysts suggest this claim is tremendously overblown, and Director Elmendorf asks, “Is this practical on a large scale?”


The 2009 stimulus law will increase U.S. economic growth.  But the actuals are matching the budget analysts’ projections for the speed at which that effect will occur.

I would not have liked a stimulus law that would have given cash to people who didn’t pay income taxes.  But from a macroeconomic perspective, we need the faster economic growth now.  Had the President and his team insisted on giving money to people (taxpayers or not) rather than to bureaucracies, we would be seeing a huge growth spurt in Q3 and Q4 of this year.

It is sad that instead we have to wait until the middle of next year because the White House deferred to Congressional desires to spend on infrastructure.  This strategic mistake was avoidable, and the recovery will be delayed because of it.

 [点击查看Keith Hennessey的英文博客]  [Keith Hennessey的中文博客] 

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