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克鲁格曼:奥巴马议程(译文完成)

克鲁格曼:奥巴马议程(译文完成)

克鲁格曼

今年的诺贝尔经济学奖获得者保罗·克鲁格曼教授是奥巴马的支持者。奥巴马当选后,克鲁格曼于11月7日发表文章,表达对非裔首次当选美国总统的激动和自豪。更重要的是,他敦促奥巴马切勿听信要他延缓政策变化的建议,分析了坚持选战中提出的激进改革议程的可能性和必须性,并提出了奥巴马新政或者说新新政(the new New Deal)的口号。(高乐成译,人文与社会编辑小组校订)。--人文与社会

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2008年11月7日《国际先驱论坛报》

高乐成译,人文与社会编辑小组校订

新泽西,普林斯顿:2008年11月4日将是一个在荣耀中永存的日子。如果你是个美国人的话,要是第一个非裔美国总统的当选没有感动你,要是你没有热泪盈睫,为你的国家感到自豪,那么你一定是出了什么问题了。

但这次选举是否将标志着实质性的政策转变呢?巴拉克•奥巴马是否能真正开创一个进步政策的新时代?是的,他能。

现在有很多评论员在敦促奥巴马从小处着眼。有些人从政治角度出发,认为美国还是个保守主义的国家,民主党如果偏向左翼,选民将惩罚他们。另外有些人则认为当前的金融经济危机没有给卫生改革这样的行动留下余地。

让我们祈愿奥巴马有足够的见地来忽略这些建议。

关于这种从政治角度出发的建议,任何人在了解到国会的情况以后,都不应该怀疑美国已经发生了一次重大的政治重组。2004的选举后,很多人声称我们进入了一个长期的(甚至是永远的)共和党主政时期。那以后,民主党获得了至少12个参议院议席,50多个众议院议席。民主党现在在两院的优势比共和党在过去12年中的任何时候都大。

请记住,今年的总统大选也是一次对政治哲学的全民投票:结果是进步政治哲学获胜。

也许强调这个事实的最好办法是对比2004年的大选与今年的大选。2004年,布什总统隐藏了他的真实议程。他事实上是做为保护美国不受同性恋婚姻和恐怖分子困扰的形象当选的,当他在当选后马上提出他的首要工作是把公共保障私有化的时候,即便是他的支持者也觉得困惑 。这不是那些投票给他的选民认为他打算做的事情,而且这次私有化很快就从一场彻底毁灭变成了一场闹剧。

然而今年,奥巴马的竞选基础是面对中产阶级的均享卫生计划和削减税率,这些将通过提高对富人征税来支付。约翰•麦凯恩指责奥巴马是个社会主义者,是“再次分配者”,但是美国人民依然投票给了奥巴马。这是一个真实的委任。

那么关于经济危机使得进步政策显得太奢侈的说法呢?

毫无疑问,要解决危机必定消耗巨大。拯救金融系统可能需要已经投入的资金以外的更大量费用。除此以外,美国还需要政府增加开销,以便支撑产出和雇佣。明年的联邦赤字可能达到1万亿吗?是的。

但是标准的经济学教材说在经济萧条时,这样做是可以的,甚至是合适的。而且一两年的赤字虽然会增加联邦利息负担,但绝不应该阻碍卫生计划的施行,因为即便是现在就马上立法,也要到2011年才能生效了。 

此外,对经济危机的回应本身就是一个推行进步政策的契机。

奥巴马政府决不能模仿布什政府,他们把所有事和任何事都变成推行自己偏好的政策的借口。如果是不景气,那么布什政府就会说经济需要帮助,让我们削减富人的税率!如果是恢复,那么布什政府就会说,削减富人的税率能帮助经济恢复,让我们继续削减!

但对新政府来说,指出这种保守主义的意识形态,也就是说贪婪总是不错的这种信念,助成了经济危机的产生。正如罗斯福在他的第二次当选讲演中所言:“我们一直都知道无所顾忌的私利心是不良的道德品质;现在我们知道它是不良的经济。”

现在恰恰是这句话的另一面也是正确的时候:良好的道德品质是良好的经济。在危机中通过扩大卫生计划和失业救济来帮助那些最需要帮助的人们,是道德正确的事;这也是比削减资本利得税更加有效的经济刺激。给困境中的州和地方政府提供援助,让它们能够维持基本的公共服务,这对任何依靠这些服务生存的人来说,都是很重要的;这也是避免工作减少和限制经济继续下滑的手段。

因此一个真正进步的议事日程――就把它叫做新新政(the new New Deal)――并不仅仅在经济上是可能的,它也正是经济所需要的。

那么底线就是,那些试图把他吓唬得变成“不作为总统”(do-nothing president)的人,他们的意见奥巴马不应该听。他已经获得政治委任;他站在良好经济的那边。你也许可以说,他应该惧怕的只有惧怕本身。

高乐成译,人文与社会编辑小组校订

人文与社会:: Http://humanities.cn

英文原文:

KRUGMAN: THE OBAMA AGENDA

By Paul Krugman 

Published: November 7, 2008

International Herald Tribute

PRINCETON, New Jersey: Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008, is a date that will live in fame (the opposite of infamy) forever. If you're an American and the election of the first African-American president didn't stir you, if it didn't leave you teary-eyed and proud of your country, there's something wrong with you.

But will the election also mark a turning point in the actual substance of policy? Can Barack Obama really usher in a new era of progressive policies? Yes, he can.

Right now, many commentators are urging Obama to think small. Some make the case on political grounds: America, they say, is still a conservative country, and voters will punish Democrats if they move to the left. Others say that the financial and economic crisis leaves no room for action on, say, health care reform.

Let's hope that Obama has the good sense to ignore this advice.

About the political argument: Anyone who doubts that America has had a major political realignment should look at what's happened to Congress. After the 2004 election, there were many declarations that we'd entered a long-term, perhaps permanent era of Republican dominance. Since then, Democrats have won back-to-back victories, picking up at least 12 Senate seats and more than 50 House seats. They now have bigger majorities in both houses than the Republican Party ever achieved in its 12-year reign.

Bear in mind, also, that this year's presidential election was a clear referendum on political philosophies - and the progressive philosophy won.

Maybe the best way to highlight the importance of that fact is to contrast this year's campaign with what happened four years ago. In 2004, President Bush concealed his real agenda. He basically ran as the nation's defender against gay married terrorists, leaving even his supporters nonplussed when he announced, soon after the election was over, that his first priority was Social Security privatization. That wasn't what people thought they had been voting for, and the privatization campaign quickly devolved from juggernaut to farce.

This year, however, Obama ran on a platform of guaranteed health care and tax breaks for the middle class, paid for with higher taxes on the affluent. John McCain denounced his opponent as a socialist and a "redistributor," but America voted for him anyway. That's a real mandate.

What about the argument that the economic crisis will make a progressive agenda unaffordable?

Well, there's no question that fighting the crisis will cost a lot of money. Rescuing the financial system will probably require large outlays beyond the funds already disbursed. And on top of that, America badly needs a program of increased government spending to support output and employment. Could next year's federal budget deficit reach $1 trillion? Yes.

But standard textbook economics says that it's O.K., in fact appropriate, to run temporary deficits in the face of a depressed economy. Meanwhile, one or two years of red ink, while it would add modestly to future federal interest expenses, shouldn't stand in the way of a health care plan that, even if quickly enacted into law, probably wouldn't take effect until 2011.

Beyond that, the response to the economic crisis is, in itself, a chance to advance the progressive agenda.

Now, the Obama administration shouldn't emulate the Bush administration's habit of turning anything and everything into an argument for its preferred policies. (Recession? The economy needs help - let's cut taxes on rich people! Recovery? Tax cuts for rich people work - let's do some more!)

But it would be fair for the new administration to point out how conservative ideology, the belief that greed is always good, helped create this crisis. What FDR said in his second inaugural address - "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics" - has never rung truer.

And right now happens to be one of those times when the converse is also true, and good morals are good economics. Helping the neediest in a time of crisis, through expanded health and unemployment benefits, is the morally right thing to do; it's also a far more effective form of economic stimulus than cutting the capital gains tax. Providing aid to beleaguered state and local governments, so that they can sustain essential public services, is important for those who depend on those services; it's also a way to avoid job losses and limit the depth of the economy's slump.

So a serious progressive agenda - call it a new New Deal - isn't just economically possible, it's exactly what the economy needs.

The bottom line, then, is that Barack Obama shouldn't listen to the people trying to scare him into being a do-nothing president. He has the political mandate; he has good economics on his side. You might say that the only thing he has to fear is fear itself.

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