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中英对照:渥太华以“庞氏”拖债手段应付巨额疫情救援支出
Ottawa runs a rational "Ponzi" scheme to afford the massive pandemic spending


 
 
渥太华在新冠流行期间推出大手笔援助计划,其花费高达数千亿元。除了增加数十亿美元的一揽子援助计划以延长工资补贴和育儿服务外,渥太华还宣布了向陷入财务困境人士提供的数百亿美元的新临时福利计划,其中包括370亿的CERB过渡福利。联邦政府的大幅财政支出引起了许多信奉财政紧缩的加国人士的关注,也引发了人们对日后税收增长的担忧。
 
Ottawa has taken extraordinary spending measures to fight the pandemic crisis as the relief program costs reach hundreds of billions. Apart from additional multibillion aid packages to extend the wage subsidy and childcare in the throne speech, Ottawa announced new temporary benefits in tens of billions for individuals struggling in the financial hardship –including $37 billion in CERB transition benefits. Ottawa's spending spree has raised many Canadians' eyebrows who believe in fiscal restraint, causing concerns over higher taxes down the road.

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但这种担忧大可不必。其实加国政府能通过合理地实施某种类似“庞氏骗局”计划对付这些支出而不给纳税人造成额外负担。渥京会通过发行债券来为这些紧急计划筹集资金。当债券在日后偿还期到来时,它并不需要通过增加赤字或税收,而是通过发行新债券来筹措资金偿还债务,既通过借新债来还旧债。渥京的债务在过去的几十年中一直是这么“滚”下去的。战争结束后的30年里,加国国债不断从旧债主转移到新债主而从未增加一分赤字。
 
These concerns are unnecessary if the government successfully runs a rational "Ponzi" scheme without incurring undue hardship to Canadians. Ottawa issues bonds as it borrows its way to fund the relief programs.  When the bonds mature in the future, it can borrow more to pay off the debt by issuing new bonds without paying down a penny through increased taxes. Ottawa has been running this scheme over the past decades. In the 30 years after the war, it allowed the national debt to roll over year after year without increasing deficit.
 
当然这种局面能维持下去的前提是联邦政府必须保持良好的财政信誉,且债券市场对其信心满满。渥太华实现这一目标的先决条件就是利率低于经济增长率,因为在这种经济环境下,渥太华的债务维持成本,既债券利息支出的涨幅会低于整体经济的增长,这就给债券市场发出强有力的信号,那就是联邦政府是有足够能力支付利息并借钱还债的。享有最高债券评级的渥京政府就可放心大胆地继续用卖新债券偿还旧债券的方式把债务拖下去。
 
The scheme is sustainable only if Ottawa can maintain fiscal credibility that gives reassurance to the bond market. An interest rate lower than the economic growth rate goes a long way, allowing the bonds' interest payments and the debt servicing costs to grow more slowly than the overall economy --  a reaffirming sign the bonds will not default. With high-grade bond ratings, Ottawa can keep paying off the bondholders by selling new bonds.

 

经济学家使用包括债务与GDP的比率以及债务维持成本等某些财政指标来控制政府的债务成本,并确保联邦政府的财政信誉。尽管政府目前支出庞大,债务与GDP的比例达到50%,但在七国集团(G7)国家中是最低的,且低于经济学家建议的60%的上限。由于目前利率处于历史最低位,且很可能在新冠消失后仍低于经济增长率,因此国债占GDP的百分比将处下降趋势。
 
Economists use fiscal anchors – including debt to GDP ratio and the cost of debt service-- to keep the government's debt servicing costs under control and ensure the feds' fiscal credibility. Despite the massive spending, the debt to GDP ratio has reached 50% today, the lowest among G7 nations, and below the 60% recommended target. With the interest rate at historic lows, it is highly likely that it remains below the post-pandemic economic growth rate, making the national debt declined as a percentage of GDP.
 
低利率同时还降低了债务维持成本。10年债券的收益率目前仅为0.6%,2500亿元追加债务的利息支出每年仅15亿元。即使将今年的巨额赤字算入其中,渥太华的债务维持支出仅占其总收入的7%,仍低于所制定的10%的上限目标。
 
The low-interest-rate also brings down debt service costs. With the 10-year bond yield at 0.6%, an extra $250-billion of debt costs a mere $1.5-billion a year in interest payment. With this year's deficit added to the debt, Ottawa will spend 7% of its revenue on debt servicing, still below the 10% anchor target.

 
但是如果渥太华不能将债务支出控制在限定范围内,那么加国的债券评级就会受到影响,其转移债务的手段也就难以维持下去。有些学者认为渥太华已没有太多的花钱空间,担心长此以往的支出增加将使其债务与GDP比率不断攀升,使其债券等级受挫,到那时联邦政府就没其他选择而只好增加税收了。
 
However, breaking these fiscal anchors may hurt Ottawa's credit ratings, threatening the debt rollover scheme's sustainability.  Some scholars say Ottawa does not have too much fiscal room, worrying that continued overspending over the next several years would send the debt-to-GDP ratio on a rising trajectory, reducing its bond ratings and leaving the government no choice but to raise taxes. 
 
可是渥太华认为目前其有足够的财务火力应对大手笔的援救项目,并引用加国政府债券的AAA的最高信用评级来来说明其财务管理政策是明智且审慎的。虽然短期内出现大幅增长,但其债务并不会直接触及纳税人的利益。
 
However, Ottawa believes in its fiscal firepower to doll out the massive spending programs, citing its AAA credit rating to reassure that the government is wise and prudent in its fiscal management. The temporary increase in debt, despite massive, can permanently roll over without leaving the taxpayers on the hook.   
 
加国财务部长方慧兰表示:“紧急救援支出是非常必要的,有助于避免商业大批破产并刺激经济增长,并使加国财政系统得以维持和不断壮大。”
 
"The emergency spending is necessary, which will help avoid bankruptcies and help grow the economy and keep our finance strong and sustainable," says the Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.


    

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