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[克魯曼專欄] 來課稅吧 原文載於(2011/11/28)

作者:首領八奇│2011-12-07 21:02:34│巴幣:2│人氣:253
原文出於NY Times


Things to Tax 來課稅吧 (2011/11/28)


The supercommittee was a superdud — and we should be glad. Nonetheless, at some point we’ll have to rein in budget deficits. And when we do, here’s a thought: How about making increased revenue an important part of the deal?


超級委員會超沒用─而且我們都該為此感到高興。話雖如此,某方面來說我們還是要控制預算赤字。所以我有個想法,把增加稅收列為減赤方案的重要一部份如何?


And I don’t just mean a return to Clinton-era tax rates. Why should 1990s taxes be considered the outer limit of revenue collection? Think about it: The long-run budget outlook has darkened, which means that some hard choices must be made. Why should those choices only involve spending cuts? Why not also push some taxes above their levels in the 1990s?


我是說稅率不只調回柯林頓時代的水準,為什麼要把1990年代的稅率水準當成極限呢?想想看,長期預算前景看來黯淡無光,這表示一定要做出困難的抉擇。為何選項只包括刪減支出,不調升某些稅率到超過1990年代的水準呢?


Let me suggest two areas in which it would make a lot of sense to raise taxes in earnest, not just return them to pre-Bush levels: taxes on very high incomes and taxes on financial transactions.


調高稅收非常合理,而不是單純回到布希時代前的水準。讓我真心建議兩條路,就是對超高所得者還有金融交易收稅。


About those high incomes: In my last column I suggested that the very rich, who have had huge income gains over the last 30 years, should pay more in taxes. I got many responses from readers, with a common theme being that this was silly, that even confiscatory taxes on the wealthy couldn’t possibly raise enough money to matter.


首先是關於高收入戶。在上一篇專欄我有提議,過去三十年來收入遽增的巨富應該多繳點稅。對此我收到了很多讀者回應,大半的意見都是說加稅太瘋狂了,就算對富人徵收懲罰性的沒收稅也徵不到多少錢。


Folks, you’re living in the past. Once upon a time America was a middle-class nation, in which the super-elite’s income was no big deal. But that was another country.


大夥兒,你們還活在過去。美國曾經是個中產階級國家,超級精英的收入也沒什麼了不起,但那已經是另一個國家了。


The I.R.S. reports that in 2007, that is, before the economic crisis, the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers — roughly speaking, people with annual incomes over $2 million — had a combined income of more than a trillion dollars. That’s a lot of money, and it wouldn’t be hard to devise taxes that would raise a significant amount of revenue from those super-high-income individuals.


美國國稅局在2007年,也就是經濟危機前有份報告,最高百分之0.1的納稅人─大略來說就是年收入超過兩百萬元的人,所繳的稅综合起來超過一兆美元。這可是一大筆錢,我們可以針對收入超高的人設計一種稅,如此國庫收益肯定有顯著增長,而且一點也不難。


For example, a recent report by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center points out that before 1980 very-high-income individuals fell into tax brackets well above the 35 percent top rate that applies today. According to the center’s analysis, restoring those high-income brackets would have raised $78 billion in 2007, or more than half a percent of G.D.P. I’ve extrapolated that number using Congressional Budget Office projections, and what I get for the next decade is that high-income taxation could shave more than $1 trillion off the deficit.


例如跨黨派組織稅務政策中心前陣子出版的報告,報告指出超高收入者的稅率級次要比1980年還要低百分之35。根據稅務政策中心的分析,如果把稅率級次調回1980年的水準,那麼2007年稅收可以多780億美元,超過國內生產毛額(G.D.P.)的百分之0.5。我用國會預算處的預測來推算,該稅率可以在未來十年削減超過一兆美元的赤字。


It’s instructive to compare that estimate with the savings from the kinds of proposals that are actually circulating in Washington these days. Consider, for example, proposals to raise the age of Medicare eligibility to 67, dealing a major blow to millions of Americans. How much money would that save?


比起這幾天在華盛頓四處流傳的提案,前項稅率的建議不僅預估可以節省較多預算,也更具有意義。打個比方,有提案打算把聯邦醫療保險的資格提高到67歲,影響數以百萬的美國人。想想看,這可以省下多少錢呢?


Well, none from the point of view of the nation as a whole, since we would be pushing seniors out of Medicare and into private insurance, which has substantially higher costs. True, it would reduce federal spending — but not by much. The budget office estimates that outlays would fall by only $125 billion over the next decade, as the age increase phased in. And even when fully phased in, this partial dismantling of Medicare would reduce the deficit only about a third as much as could be achieved with higher taxes on the very rich.


嗯...以國家整體的角度來看,一毛也沒省。因為這樣做只會讓其他年紀較長的人離開聯邦醫療保險體系,轉而投向民營保險,實際上支出反而更多。沒錯,此舉會降低聯邦支出,但也沒降低多少。國會預算處估計,隨著階段性的提升限制年齡,在未來三十年可以省下1250億美元。就算最終達到目標的年齡限制,廢除部分的聯邦醫療保險,降低的赤字也只有先前所提,對富人增稅的三分之一而已。


So raising taxes on the very rich could make a serious contribution to deficit reduction. Don’t believe anyone who claims otherwise.


因此對非常富有的人增稅,可以為降低赤字做出巨大貢獻。如果有任何人聲稱不同的結果,千萬別相信。


And then there’s the idea of taxing financial transactions, which have exploded in recent decades. The economic value of all this trading is dubious at best. In fact, there’s considerable evidence suggesting that too much trading is going on. Still, nobody is proposing a punitive tax. On the table, instead, are proposals like the one recently made by Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Peter DeFazio for a tiny fee on financial transactions.


另外,還可以對這幾十年來爆增的金融交易課稅。就算往最好的方面想,此類金融交易的經濟價值還是頗令人懷疑,事實上相當多的證據都暗示這類交易已經過多了。儘管如此,依然沒有人針對金融交易提出嚴苛的稅金。近來真正有在檯面上討論的,只有如哈金參議員和德法西歐眾議員的提案,對金融交易收取小額費用。


And here’s the thing: Because there are so many transactions, such a fee could yield several hundred billion dollars in revenue over the next decade. Again, this compares favorably with the savings from many of the harsh spending cuts being proposed in the name of fiscal responsibility.


然而事實上由於金融交易眾多,對金融交易課稅在未來十年可以產生數千億美元的收益。比起目前許多以財政紀律為名,大砍支出的提案,課稅再次證明更為適當。


But wouldn’t such a tax hurt economic growth? As I said, the evidence suggests not — if anything, it suggests that to the extent that taxing financial transactions reduces the volume of wheeling and dealing, that would be a good thing.


可是這類稅金會傷害經濟成長嗎?如我先前所說,證據顯示並非如此,甚至對金融交易課稅反而還會減少投機炒作的交易,可說是好事一樁。


And it’s instructive, too, to note that some economies already have financial transactions taxes — and that among those who do are Hong Kong and Singapore. If some conservative starts claiming that such taxes are an unwarranted government intrusion, you might want to ask him why such taxes are imposed by the two countries that score highest on the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom.


更有啟發性的是,已經有其他經濟體對金融交易課稅,包含香港及新加坡。如果有保守派的人開始嚷嚷這類課稅是政府未經授權的侵權行為,可以反問他那為什麼有課相同稅金的兩個國家,反而在美國傳統基金會(譯註:保守派組織)公佈的經濟自由度指數得到最高分呢?


Now, the tax ideas I’ve just mentioned wouldn’t be enough, by themselves, to fix our deficit. But the same is true of proposals for spending cuts. The point I’m making here isn’t that taxes are all we need; it is that they could and should be a significant part of the solution.


要解決赤字問題,我所提的課稅方案還是不夠,可是削減支出的提案也是如此。我的用意不是說多課稅就可以完全解決赤字問題,但這可以,也的確是十分明顯的解決方案。



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