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  • Translator: Morton Bast Reviewer: Thu-Huong Ha

    譯者: Chengrui Wang 審譯者: Jamie Wang

  • So a friend of mine who's a political scientist,

    我有個朋友是政治學家

  • he told me several months ago

    幾個月前 他告訴我

  • exactly what this month would be like.

    這個月大概是什麼光景

  • He said, you know, there's this fiscal cliff coming,

    他說:「財政懸崖快來了。」

  • it's going to come at the beginning of 2013.

    估計在 2013 年初到來

  • Both parties absolutely need to resolve it,

    兩黨都必須解決這問題

  • but neither party wants to be seen as the first to resolve it.

    但沒有一方願意先採取行動

  • Neither party has any incentive to solve it a second before it's due,

    也沒有一方想要在危機到來以前解決

  • so he said, December, you're just going to see lots of

    所以他說,在十二月時你會看到一堆

  • angry negotiations, negotiations breaking apart,

    激烈爭執、協商破局

  • reports of phone calls that aren't going well,

    一些在電話上相談不歡的報導

  • people saying nothing's happening at all,

    有人說什麼結果都沒有

  • and then sometime around Christmas or New Year's,

    到了聖誕節或是新年的時候

  • we're going to hear, "Okay, they resolved everything."

    我們會聽說:「他們解決所有問題了。」

  • He told me that a few months ago. He said he's 98 percent positive they're going to resolve it,

    他幾個月前告訴我 他有98%的把握 他們會解決問題

  • and I got an email from him today saying, all right,

    今天我收到他的電子郵件說

  • we're basically on track, but now I'm 80 percent positive

    「好吧,大致上猜的沒錯 但現在我只有80%的把握

  • that they're going to resolve it.

    他們會解決這件事情。」

  • And it made me think. I love studying

    所以我開始思考,我喜歡研究

  • these moments in American history

    美國歷史上這種分歧的時期

  • when there was this frenzy of partisan anger,

    不同黨派彼此爭論不休

  • that the economy was on the verge of total collapse.

    經濟正值崩盤的邊緣

  • The most famous early battle was Alexander Hamilton

    早期最有名的爭論是 亞歷山大•漢彌爾頓

  • and Thomas Jefferson over what the dollar would be

    和湯瑪斯•傑弗遜對於美元會如何

  • and how it would be backed up, with Alexander Hamilton

    以及 該用什麼方式儲存而爭論

  • saying, "We need a central bank, the First Bank of the United States,

    亞歷山大•漢彌爾頓說 「我們需要一個中央銀行,美國第一銀行

  • or else the dollar will have no value.

    不然美元就毫無價值了」

  • This economy won't work,"

    湯瑪斯•傑弗遜則說

  • and Thomas Jefferson saying, "The people won't trust that.

    「這經濟體系行不通,人民不信這一套」

  • They just fought off a king. They're not going to accept some central authority."

    「他們才剛推翻一個王朝 才不會接受一個中央集權組織。」

  • This battle defined the first 150 years of the U.S. economy,

    這個爭論奠定了美國前期 一百五十年的經濟

  • and at every moment, different partisans saying,

    每一次,當不同黨派說

  • "Oh my God, the economy's about to collapse,"

    「老天,經濟要崩盤了。」

  • and the rest of us just going about, spending our bucks

    有些人就開始盡情揮霍

  • on whatever it is we wanted to buy.

    把錢花在所有想買的東西上

  • To give you a quick primer on where we are,

    先來了解一下我們現在的處境

  • a quick refresher on where we are.

    快速地回顧一下

  • So the fiscal cliff, I was told

    有人叫我別叫它財政懸崖

  • that that's too partisan a thing to say,

    因為黨派色彩太重

  • although I can't remember which party it's supporting or attacking.

    我記不得 到底誰贊成誰反對

  • People say we should call it the fiscal slope,

    有人說 應該叫財政斜坡才對

  • or we should call it an austerity crisis,

    或稱為緊縮危機

  • but then other people say, no, that's even more partisan.

    但就有人反對 說這樣反而更不中立

  • So I just call it the self-imposed, self-destructive

    所以我乾脆叫它設立自我導致 自我毀滅

  • arbitrary deadline about resolving an inevitable problem.

    沒有明確期限的方案 來解決不可避免的問題

  • And this is what the inevitable problem looks like.

    這就是一個不可避免的問題的真實模樣

  • So this is a projection of U.S. debt as a percentage

    這是美國國債百分比圖

  • of our overall economy, of GDP.

    佔整體經濟 國內生產毛額(GDP)的比例高低

  • The light blue dotted line represents

    藍色虛線代表

  • the Congressional Budget Office's best guess

    國會預算局最樂觀的估計

  • of what will happen if Congress really doesn't do anything,

    如果國會什麼都沒做的情形

  • and as you can see, sometime around 2027,

    可以看到 大概在2027年

  • we reach Greek levels of debt,

    我們的債務會跟希臘有得拚

  • somewhere around 130 percent of GDP,

    債務約佔GDP的130%

  • which tells you that some time in the next 20 years,

    顯示出未來20年內

  • if Congress does absolutely nothing,

    如果國會什麼事都沒做

  • we're going to hit a moment where the world's investors,

    我們在國際上的地位會動搖

  • the world's bond buyers, are going to say,

    全球的投資人 債券買家 將會說

  • "We don't trust America anymore. We're not going to lend them any money,

    「我們再也不信任美國人了 也不會借他們錢」

  • except at really high interest rates."

    「除非利率真的夠高」

  • And at that moment our economy collapses.

    到時我們的經濟就崩盤了

  • But remember, Greece is there today.

    但記得 這是希臘現在的狀況

  • We're there in 20 years. We have lots and lots of time

    我們要過20年才會到那 我們有十分充裕的時間

  • to avoid that crisis,

    來避免危機

  • and the fiscal cliff was just one more attempt

    而財政懸崖 再次

  • at trying to force the two sides to resolve the crisis.

    逼迫兩黨一起解決危機

  • Here's another way to look at exactly the same problem.

    其實可以換個角度來看同樣的問題

  • The dark blue line is how much the government spends.

    藍色實線是政府的開銷

  • The light blue line is how much the government gets in.

    淺藍色線是政府收入

  • And as you can see, for most of recent history,

    由此可見 近幾年來

  • except for a brief period, we have consistently spent

    除了短暫的時期 我們一直

  • more than we take in. Thus the national debt.

    入不敷出 所以國債才會這麼高

  • But as you can also see, projected going forward,

    但可以看出 隨著時間的增長

  • the gap widens a bit and raises a bit,

    收支的落差也越來越大

  • and this graph is only through 2021.

    這張圖只統計到2021年

  • It gets really, really ugly out towards 2030.

    到了2030年 數據會變得很難看

  • And this graph sort of sums up what the problem is.

    從圖表中可以總結出問題所在

  • The Democrats, they say, well, this isn't a big deal.

    民主黨認為 這沒啥大不了

  • We can just raise taxes a bit and close that gap,

    只要稍微提高稅率 縮短收支差就好

  • especially if we raise taxes on the rich.

    提高有錢人的賦稅尤其有效

  • The Republicans say, hey, no, no, we've got a better idea.

    共和黨則說:「不 我們有更好的方法」

  • Why don't we lower both lines?

    「為何不要讓兩種數據都降低?」

  • Why don't we lower government spending and lower government taxes,

    「何不降低政府支出和賦稅?」

  • and then we'll be on an even more favorable

    如此一來 就有更完善的

  • long-term deficit trajectory?

    長期赤字規劃

  • And behind this powerful disagreement between

    而在彼此爭論不休

  • how to close that gap,

    該如何縮小收支差距的背後

  • there's the worst kind of cynical party politics,

    有種最糟 最憤世嫉俗的政黨政治

  • the worst kind of insider baseball, lobbying, all of that stuff,

    最醜陋的內幕 遊說政治 等黑暗面

  • but there's also this powerfully interesting,

    但這場爭論也有非常有趣

  • respectful disagreement between

    正大光明的一面

  • two fundamentally different economic philosophies.

    因為這包含兩種截然不同 的經濟理念

  • And I like to think, when I picture how Republicans

    而我希望 在我描繪出共和黨

  • see the economy, what I picture is just some amazingly

    對經濟的看法時 所描出的只是

  • well-engineered machine, some perfect machine.

    一台構造完整的機器 一台傑作

  • Unfortunately, I picture it made in Germany or Japan,

    不幸的是 這是德國或曰本製

  • but this amazing machine that's constantly scouring

    但這完美的機器不斷地侵蝕

  • every bit of human endeavor and taking resources,

    人類的每分努力並拿走資源

  • money, labor, capital, machinery,

    錢財 勞工 資本和機械等

  • away from the least productive parts and towards the more productive parts,

    把它們從最沒生產力的部份 移到生產力最高的地方

  • and while this might cause temporary dislocation,

    雖然會造成短暫的混亂

  • what it does is it builds up the more productive areas

    卻能增強生產力較高的區塊

  • and lets the less productive areas fade away and die,

    讓低生產力的區塊 慢慢地淘汰

  • and as a result the whole system is so much more efficient,

    如此一來 整個系統就更有效率

  • so much richer for everybody.

    所以大家就更富有了

  • And this view generally believes that there is a role for government,

    此觀點也認為政府佔有一席之地

  • a small role, to set the rules so people aren't lying

    一個訂定規則的小角色 以免人們

  • and cheating and hurting each other,

    說謊 欺騙及傷害彼此

  • maybe, you know, have a police force and a fire department

    政府機關像是警察 消防隊

  • and an army, but to have a very limited reach

    或軍隊等 但這些機關影響很有限

  • into the mechanisms of this machinery.

    難以深入此機器內部

  • And when I picture how Democrats and Democratic-leaning

    而當我描繪民主黨或偏民主黨

  • economists picture this economy,

    經濟學家對此種經濟的看法時

  • most Democratic economists are, you know, they're capitalists,

    大部份的民主黨派經濟學家是資本主義者

  • they believe, yes, that's a good system a lot of the time.

    他們深信:「對 以目前情況來說 這是理想的體制」

  • It's good to let markets move resources to their more productive use.

    讓市場自動把資源做有效的利用是很好

  • But that system has tons of problems.

    但這體制有一大堆的問題

  • Wealth piles up in the wrong places.

    財富都聚集在不對的地方

  • Wealth is ripped away from people who shouldn't be called unproductive.

    那些被不當稱為沒有生產力的人們被剝奪了財富

  • That's not going to create an equitable, fair society.

    這樣沒法創造一個合理公平的社會

  • That machine doesn't care about the environment,

    這種運作模式沒考慮到周遭環境

  • about racism, about all these issues

    例如種族歧視等負面議題

  • that make this life worse for all of us,

    這些讓我們的生活更糟的問題

  • and so the government does have a role to take resources

    所以政府有義務從

  • from more productive uses, or from richer sources,

    較高生產力或擁有較多資源的地方

  • and give them to other sources.

    將其資源分配給其它地方

  • And when you think about the economy through these two different lenses,

    如果你用這兩種不同的觀點 來探討經濟的話

  • you understand why this crisis is so hard to solve,

    你就懂為何危機這麼難解決

  • because the worse the crisis gets, the higher the stakes are,

    因為情況如果越嚴重 風險就越高

  • the more each side thinks they know the answer

    兩方都認為自己有解決之道

  • and the other side is just going to ruin everything.

    並對彼此嗤之以鼻

  • And I can get really despairing. I've spent a lot

    我感到絕望

  • of the last few years really depressed about this,

    過去幾年 我對此感到沮喪

  • until this year, I learned something that

    直到今年 我發現了一些使我非常興奮的事

  • I felt really excited about. I feel like it's really good news,

    我認為這是很好的消息

  • and it's so shocking, I don't like saying it, because I think

    而且非常震撼 我不常談論它

  • people won't believe me.

    因為我覺得沒人會相信我的話

  • But here's what I learned.

    我所發現的是

  • The American people, taken as a whole,

    整體來說 當美國人

  • when it comes to these issues, to fiscal issues,

    遇到跟財政有關的問題時

  • are moderate, pragmatic centrists.

    就變成溫和 務實的中立派

  • And I know that's hard to believe, that the American people

    沒錯 很不可思議 美國人

  • are moderate, pragmatic centrists.

    竟會是溫和 務實的中立派

  • But let me explain what I'm thinking.

    但讓我解釋一下我的看法

  • When you look at how the federal government spends money,

    當你看看聯邦政府的支出比例

  • so this is the battle right here,

    這裡是問題所在

  • 55 percent, more than half, is on Social Security,

    55% 超過一半用在社會福利

  • Medicare, Medicaid, a few other health programs,

    醫療保險 醫療補助 及其他的健保

  • 20 percent defense, 19 percent discretionary,

    20%國防 19%自由支配支出

  • and six percent interest.

    利息則是6%

  • So when we're talking about cutting government spending,

    所以我們在討論如何 減少政府支出時

  • this is the pie we're talking about,

    就是看這統計圖

  • and Americans overwhelmingly, and it doesn't matter

    絕大多數的美國人 無論

  • what party they're in, overwhelmingly like

    支持哪一黨 大都喜歡

  • that big 55 percent chunk.

    55%這一塊

  • They like Social Security. They like Medicare.

    他們喜歡社會福利 醫療健保

  • They even like Medicaid, even though that goes to the poor and indigent,

    甚至喜歡醫療補助 (低收入戶用) 即使這些支出只補助貧困的人

  • which you might think would have less support.

    你本來可能以為 醫療補助的支持度較低

  • And they do not want it fundamentally touched,

    他們都不希望以上支出比例變動

  • although the American people are remarkably comfortable,

    雖然美國人民對此非常滿意

  • and Democrats roughly equal to Republicans,

    兩黨選民基本上意見一致

  • with some minor tweaks to make the system more stable.

    只要稍做調整 系統會更穩定

  • Social Security is fairly easy to fix.

    社會福利很好調整

  • The rumors of its demise are always greatly exaggerated.

    社會福利會倒的謠言 往往都是誇大的說法

  • So gradually raise Social Security retirement age,

    所以對於把逐漸提高退休福利年齡的政策

  • maybe only on people not yet born.

    加諸到未出世的下一代人的這個方法

  • Americans are about 50/50,

    不管是支持民主黨還是共和黨

  • whether they're Democrats or Republicans.

    贊成和反對人數都差不多

  • Reduce Medicare for very wealthy seniors,

    減少高收入老人健保支出

  • seniors who make a lot of money. Don't even eliminate it. Just reduce it.

    就是給老富翁的福利金 根本不用廢除 減少即可

  • People generally are comfortable with it, Democrats and Republicans.

    人們大都接受這個政策 不管哪一黨的都如此認為

  • Raise medical health care contributions?

    提高健保費呢?

  • Everyone hates that equally, but Republicans

    大家都恨死了此方法 可是共和黨

  • and Democrats hate that together.

    和民主黨支持者都一致反對

  • And so what this tells me is, when you look at

    所以這個事實告訴我

  • the discussion of how to resolve our fiscal problems,

    當我們仔細探討 如何解決財政問題

  • we are not a nation that's powerfully divided on the major, major issue.

    我們的國民在主要議題方面並沒有意見分歧

  • We're comfortable with it needing some tweaks, but we want to keep it.

    做點改變的話我們能接受 但卻不想廢除整個系統

  • We're not open to a discussion of eliminating it.

    不太可能去討論是否要廢除整個系統

  • Now there is one issue that is hyper-partisan,

    針對一個議題 政黨的意見分歧非常嚴重

  • and where there is one party that is just spend, spend, spend,

    有一黨說花錢消災就好

  • we don't care, spend some more,

    多花點錢無傷大雅

  • and that of course is Republicans

    這當然是共和黨對於

  • when it comes to military defense spending.

    減少國防預算的看法

  • They way outweigh Democrats.

    他們的反對聲浪就比民主黨還強勢

  • The vast majority want to protect military defense spending.

    多數共和黨支持者贊成不改變國防支出

  • That's 20 percent of the budget,

    國防支出佔了國家預算的20%

  • and that presents a more difficult issue.

    而它代表一個更複雜的議題

  • I should also note that the [discretionary] spending,

    我也要提一下自由性支出的部份

  • which is about 19 percent of the budget,

    佔了預算的19%

  • that is Democratic and Republican issues,

    這是兩黨共同的議題

  • so you do have welfare, food stamps, other programs

    福利 食物券等種種福利制度

  • that tend to be popular among Democrats,

    在民主黨眼裡較受重視

  • but you also have the farm bill and all sorts of Department of Interior

    但農田法案等以及 內政部的福利制度

  • inducements for oil drilling and other things,

    例如石油鑽探之類的

  • which tend to be popular among Republicans.

    就比較受共和黨青睞

  • Now when it comes to taxes, there is more disagreement.

    至於納稅方面 分歧就比較嚴重

  • That's a more partisan area.

    這方面黨派色彩比較嚴重

  • You have Democrats overwhelmingly supportive

    民主黨民眾大力支持

  • of raising the income tax on people who make 250,000 dollars a year,

    提高年收入25萬元以上 高收入族群的所得稅

  • Republicans sort of against it, although if you break it out by income,

    共和黨支持者基本上是反對的 但如果用收入分開來看的話

  • Republicans who make less than 75,000 dollars a year like this idea.

    年收入在7萬5以下的支持者 還滿喜歡這提議的

  • So basically Republicans who make more than 250,000 dollars a year don't want to be taxed.

    也就是說 年收入高於25萬的 共和黨民眾不想多繳稅

  • Raising taxes on investment income, you also see

    提高投資所得稅 你也看得出

  • about two thirds of Democrats but only one third of Republicans

    贊成的人數 民主黨大約2/3 共和黨只有1/3

  • are comfortable with that idea.

    接受這個主意

  • This brings up a really important point, which is that

    這反映出非常重要的迷思 就是

  • we tend in this country to talk about Democrats

    在美國 我們往往只討論民主黨和共和黨

  • and Republicans and think there's this little group

    剩下有一小部分的人

  • over there called independents that's, what, two percent?

    也就是獨立派所組成 獨立派大概只有2%吧

  • If you add Democrats, you add Republicans,

    只要你把共和黨與民主黨支持者加起來

  • you've got the American people.

    就等於全美國人民了

  • But that is not the case at all.

    但事實並非如此

  • And it has not been the case for most of modern American history.

    美國近代歷史裡也沒這樣的情況

  • Roughly a third of Americans say that they are Democrats.

    大約有1/3的美國人說 他們支持民主黨

  • Around a quarter say that they are Republicans.

    大概1/4的人則說他們是共和黨的

  • A tiny little sliver call themselves libertarians, or socialists,

    另有一小區塊的人則傾向 是自由或社會主義黨

  • or some other small third party,

    或是支持其他小黨派

  • and the largest block, 40 percent, say they're independents.

    而最大的區塊占了40% 這裡的人 認為自己是獨立派

  • So most Americans are not partisan,

    所以大多美國人都不特別支持哪一黨

  • and most of the people in the independent camp

    大多屬於獨立陣營的人

  • fall somewhere in between, so even though we have

    都沒有偏向某一黨 即使我們

  • tremendous overlap between the views on these fiscal issues

    在這些財政議題上 從支持民主及共和黨的民眾來看

  • of Democrats and Republicans,

    大家有很多一致的想法

  • we have even more overlap when you add in the independents.

    一旦你把獨立派的人加進來 就會有更多共同的想法

  • Now we get to fight about all sorts of other issues.

    我們常常為其他問題起爭執

  • We get to hate each other on gun control

    我們因為槍枝管制 而厭惡彼此

  • and abortion and the environment,

    墮胎還有環境議題也是

  • but on these fiscal issues, these important fiscal issues,

    但講到財政問題時 重要的財政議題

  • we just are not anywhere nearly as divided as people say.

    我們並沒有像其他人說的那樣 彼此意見不合

  • And in fact, there's this other group of people

    事實上 有另外一群人

  • who are not as divided as people might think,

    並沒有我們想像中 內部分裂的那麼嚴重

  • and that group is economists.

    那群人就是經濟學家

  • I talk to a lot of economists, and back in the '70s

    我跟很多經濟學家談過 在70年代

  • and '80s it was ugly being an economist.

    到80年代時 當經濟學家非常不好過

  • You were in what they called the saltwater camp,

    當時你會被貼上一個「鹹水學派」的標籤

  • meaning Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, Berkeley,

    指的是哈佛 普林斯頓 麻省 史丹佛 柏克萊等學派

  • or you were in the freshwater camp, University of Chicago,

    或者你被標為「淡水學派」 例如芝加哥大學

  • University of Rochester.

    羅徹斯特大學等派

  • You were a free market capitalist economist

    你可能是個支持市場資本主義的經濟學家

  • or you were a Keynesian liberal economist,

    或是支持凱恩斯自由派主義的經濟學家