文章 » 政治

福山:“否决政治”让美国瘫痪

czy, FT
英文原题是:Oh for a democratic dictatorship and not a vetocracy 要民主专政不要否决政治

美国国会超级委员会未能就预算达成协议,悲哀地反映出当今美国国内的对立局面。但造成失败的并不是那些负责减赤计划的个人,而是美国政治制度的特性。尽管超级委员会不光彩地失败了,但它却指出了一个也许能让我们摆脱僵局的思路。

美国人对自己的宪法很自豪,这部宪法通过一系列制衡限制了行政权力。但这些制衡已经发生了变异。现在的美国奉行的是"否决政治"(vetocracy)。当这种体制遇上被意识形态化了的两个政党--其中一个政党甚至把堵住税收漏洞视作增税,因而不可接受--时,就会导致政治瘫痪。

与经典的英国"威斯敏斯特政体"相比,美国政治体制的问题尤其明显。英国采用的是简单多数票当选的议会制,没有联邦或分权制度,也没有成文宪法或司法复核【人文与社会:judicial review国内一般译为司法审查;感谢读者子瑜儿指出】。在这种体制下,政府一般会获得议会绝对多数票的支持。现任联合政府的形式在英国历史上极为罕见。一般来说,英国执政党在议会占据绝对多数。只要拥有英国下议院半数席位再加1票,就可以通过或推翻任何法律,这就是为什么英国有时会被称作"民主独裁"(democratic dictatorship)[人文与社会注:人民民主专政的英文译名是people's democratic dictatorship]。

相比之下,美国的政治制度在总统和拥有两院的国会之间分割权力,并把权力下放给各州和地方政府;允许法庭以宪法为由推翻法律。这是一套故意设计出来的体制,用以防止政府一意孤行,它背后是美国政治文化中,对"集权"的一种强烈怀疑。

在英国体制中,能用上"否决票"的机会不多,这个优势在预算这件事情上十分明显。英国财政大臣作为一个行政代理人,在对支出和税收进行艰难权衡之后,提出一个预算草案。议会通常会在一两周后,几乎不做修改地通过这个预算。

相比之下,在美国体制下,总统在一个财政周期开始时,就要宣布一个预算草案。这份草案更多地只是政府"想要"的一个预算,离"政治现实"差距甚远。根据美国宪法,国会拥有决定政府开支的绝对权力,535名国会议员都可以用手中握着的否决权来换取某种妥协。在经过几个月利益集团的游说之后,最终出台的预算法案不再是一个条理清晰的政府规划的产物,而是议员们相互角力的结果。而议员们发现,用增加支出来换取减税,总是更容易达成共识,所以美国财政永远更容易出现赤字。

除了宪法授予的制衡机制以外,美国国会还给了议员们其它许多机会,让他们可以使用否决权来要挟政府,比如100名参议员中的任何一人,都可以对行政部门的某项任命使用"匿名阻止表决权"。眼下就有一个极端的例子。奥巴马政府希望任命迈克尔•麦克福尔(Michael McFaul)为美国驻俄罗斯大使,但由于某些匿名共和党参议员的反对,参议院外交关系委员会无限期地推迟了表决。曾是斯坦福大学教授的麦克福尔在过去三年一直担任国家安全委员会(NSC)负责俄罗斯和欧亚事务的高级理事(也是笔者的一个老朋友)。他被广泛视为驻俄大使的合适人选,甚至共和党人也这么认为。根据《外交政策》(Foreign Policy)的报道,行使"匿名阻止表决权"的其中一位参议员之所以这么做,是想让联邦政府在自己所在的州建设一个设施。结果是,在明年3月俄罗斯选举新总统时,美国驻俄大使可能还没有上任。

要摆脱目前的政治僵局,我们不仅需要强大的领导层,还需要修改关系到美国政治机构的法律法规。修改美国宪法目前看上去不太可能,但美国可以实施一系列改革,来减少动用"否决票"的机会和简化决策程序。可以实施的改革,一是废除参议员的"阻止表决权",二是减少对常规立法的阻挠,第三是禁止通过不相干的修订案进行"立法要挟"。

但可能进行的最重要的一项改革,是把预算过程转变得更类似于"威斯敏斯特体系"。正如这次失败的超级委员会那样,预算应由一组精简得多的议员制定。委员会的成员中,应该有一大部分是来自非党派机构--比如美国国会预算办公室(CBO)--的技术专家,而不像现在这样充斥着党派斗争。技术专家们受到的来自利益集团的压力,要比现任议员们小得多。预算编制完成后,应该送交国会,在不允许修订的情况下进行一次要么通过、要么失败的直接表决。类似程序已有成功先例,比如为了规避利益集团之间的僵局而走"快速通道"的一些贸易立法;非党派委员会在决定关闭哪座军事基地时也使用了这种程序。

但在当前党派对立的氛围下,美国不可能接受这种建议。共和党总统提名候选人之一的纽特•金里奇(Newt Gingrich)最近将国会预算办公室称为"社会主义"机构。但美国的财政麻烦如此之大,而美国经济还在继续滞涨,使得实施上述改革看上去至关重要。现任议员们肯定不愿意很快放弃他们的否决权,正因为如此,我们首先必须通过广泛的基层动员来推动政治改革。

本文作者是美国斯坦福大学弗里曼•斯波利研究所(Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute)高级研究员,其最新著作是《政治秩序诸起源》(The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution)

译者/何黎

 

 

November 22, 2011 5:27 pm Financial Times

Oh for a democratic dictatorship and not a vetocracy

By Francis Fukuyama

The failure of the congressional supercommittee to reach a deal on the budget is a sad reflection of the polarisation in the US today. But this failure has roots that go well beyond the individuals charged with coming up with a plan to reduce the deficit; they go to the very nature of the political system. And while this committee has failed ignominiously, it contains the seed of an idea that might show us a way out of paralysis.

Americans take great pride in a constitution that limits executive power through a series of checks and balances. But those checks have metastasised. And now America is a vetocracy. When this system is combined with ideologised parties, one of which sees even the closing of tax loopholes as an unacceptable tax increase, the result is paralysis.

The problems of the US system are all too apparent when compared with the classic British Westminster system: parliamentary, with first-past-the-post voting, no federalism or decentralisation, and no written constitution or judicial review. Under such a system, governments are typically backed by a strong legislative majority. The present government's coalition is highly unusual for the UK, which typically gives the leading party a strong parliamentary majority. A simple majority plus one in the House of Commons can make or overturn any law in the land, which is why it has sometimes been referred to as a democratic dictatorship.

The American system, by contrast, splits power between a president and a two-chamber Congress; devolves power to states and local government; and permits the courts to overturn legislation on constitutional grounds. The system is deliberately engineered to put obstacles in the way of decisive government, which in turn is the result of a political culture strongly suspicious of centralised power.

The advantage of the British system with its fewer opportunities to cast vetoes is clear when it comes to passing budgets. The budget is written by the chancellor of the exchequer, who as an executive agent makes the difficult trade-offs between spending and taxes. This budget is passed by parliament, with little modification, a week or two after the government introduces it.

In the American system, by contrast, the president announces a budget at the beginning of the fiscal cycle; it is more an aspirational document than a political reality. The US constitution firmly locates spending authority in Congress, and indeed all 535 members of Congress use their potential veto power to extract concessions. The budget that eventually emerges after months of interest group lobbying is the product not of a coherent government plan, but of horse-trading among individual legislators, who always find it easier to achieve consensus by exchanging spending increases for tax cuts. Hence the permanent bias towards deficits.

In addition to the checks and balances mandated by the constitution, Congress has added a host of further opportunities for legislators to use their veto power to blackmail the system, such as the anonymous holds that any of 100 senators may place on executive branch appointments. A particularly egregious example of this is taking place today. The Obama administration has wanted to appoint Michael McFaul ambassador to Russia, but the foreign relations committee has put off action indefinitely due to the objections of certain unnamed Republican senators. Mr McFaul - formerly a professor at Stanford (and also a longtime friend) - has been senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs at the National Security Council for the past three years and is widely regarded even by the Republicans as well qualified for the job. Foreign Policy magazine has reported that one of the holds is due to a senator wanting the federal government to build a facility in his state. As a result, the US may not have an ambassador in place in Moscow next March as the Russians vote for a new president.

If we are to get out of our present paralysis we need not only strong leadership, but changes in institutional rules. If constitutional amendments are off the table for the moment, there is nonetheless a list of reforms the US could undertake to reduce the number of veto points and simplify decision-making. One would be to eliminate senatorial holds; another would be a rollback of the filibuster for routine legislation; and a third would be a rule that would prevent legislative blackmail through irrelevant amendments.

But the most important potential change would be to move the budgeting process towards something that looked more like the Westminster system. Budgets would be formulated, as in the case of the failed supercommittee, by a much smaller group of legislators. Unlike today's strongly partisan committee, it would have heavy technocratic input from a non-partisan agency like the Congressional Budget Office that would be insulated from the interest group pressures that afflict the sitting legislators. A completed budget would be put before Congress in a single, unamendable up-or-down vote. The procedure has already been used successfully to get around interest group deadlock in fast-track trade legislation and by the non-partisan commission that decided which military bases to close.

This proposal has no chance of being accepted in the current climate of polarisation. Newt Gingrich, one of the Republican contenders for the party's presidential nomination, recently called the CBO a "socialist" institution. But our unaddressed fiscal problem is so great that something like it would seem essential as our economy continues to stagnate. Serving legislators are unlikely to be willing to give up their veto power soon. That is why political reform must first and foremost be driven by popular, grassroots mobilisation.

The writer is a senior fellow at Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute. His latest book is 'The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution'

 

请您支持独立网站发展,转载请注明文章链接:
  • 文章地址: http://wen.org.cn/modules/article/view.article.php/c10/2983
  • 引用通告: http://wen.org.cn/modules/article/trackback.php/2983

杨荣文:重庆与中国模式 鲍昆、王庆松:从摄影到观念
相关文章
熊月之:晚清几个政治词汇的翻译与使用
王绍光:财政没有透明就不是民主
王绍光:民族主义与民主
刘洪涛:理解胡安·林兹的民主思想
王东宾:回乡调查之一:农村低保的民主治理
包雅钧:罗伯特·达尔论美国民主政治体制
赵汀阳:民主如何正当
赵汀阳:中国应比西方有更大胸怀
许章润:法治社会与良善生活
王绍光:“公民社会”袪魅
中组部党建所:国外主要政党关于党内民主建设的理论与实践
包华石:小心西方诡辩束缚中国话语
王绍光:谈民主和“选主”
冯象:下一站,renmin大学
赵刚:人不好绝望,但也不可乱希望 ——读陈映真的《一绿色之候鸟》
何鹏举:民主怎么了?从“市场政治”到“剧场政治”
米尔斯海默:帝国布局(全文)
汪晖:“代表性的断裂”:反思未来民主的进程
沈灏:追寻繁荣复兴,建设公共社会
福山:美国民主对中国没得可教
乔姆斯基:“阿拉伯世界失火了”--论埃及危机
伯索尔、福山:后“华盛顿共识”———危机之后的发展
林春:“中国模式”议
托马斯·迈尔:论民主
加布里尔与汪晖:金融危机时代的民主和正义
福山:历史的未来(中英文)
王绍光:民主为什么是个好东西
林沛理:民主的最大敌人
汉森:混合宪制vs.三权分立:现代民主的君主制与贵族制特征
王绍光:民主:独轮车还是四轮驱动
本明顿:政治与友谊--与雅克·德里达的座谈
乔姆斯基:美国民主新浪潮受到压制
福山:保守主义须重视政府作用
汪晖:世界政治制度中“代表性”的缺失(访谈)
冯象:法学的历史批判--答《北大法律评论》
海裔:与福山讨论《政治秩序的起源》
哈特、奈格里:《大众》序言:共同的生活
王绍光:抽选、代表、民主--关于民主运作形式的反思
李零:环球同此凉热--我的中国观和美国观
朗西埃:从胜利的民主到罪恶的民主--民主之恨第1-4章
王绍光:《超越选主:对当代民主的反思》前言
王绍光:失而复得的民主利器:抽选
陈燕谷:历史终结还是全面民主?
莱恩·穆勒森:从民主和平理论到强制性政权更迭
韩潮:保守者归来——读曾亦《共和与君主》
王绍光:另一个世界是可能的
苏力:作为制度的皇帝
王绍光:代表型民主与代议型民主
弗朗西斯·福山:美国政治制度的衰败
蔡美儿:《起火世界》序言:全球化与种族仇恨
福山:衰败的美利坚--政治制度失灵的根源(完整版)
API: 工具箱 焦点 短消息 Email PDF 书签
请您支持独立网站发展,转载本站文章请提供原文链接,非常感谢。 © http://wen.org.cn
网友个人意见,不代表本站立场。对于发言内容,由发表者自负责任。



Xoops 苏ICP备10024138 | © 06-12 人文与社会