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Lance Roberts
兰斯·罗伯茨

Summary摘要

  1. As we will discuss in Part-1 of this two-part series, MMT falls flat when faced with reality.
  2. 正如我们将在这个由两部分组成的系列的第1部分中讨论的那样,当面对现实时,MMT陷入了困境。
  3. With economic growth sluggish, unemployment high, and the wealth gap widening, politicians will be increasing pressure to delve deeper into MMT to cure our economic woes.
  4. 在经济增长乏力、失业率居高不下、贫富差距不断扩大的情况下,政客们将面临越来越大的压力,需要更深入地研究MMT以解决我们的经济困境。
  5. For MMT, the problem is government spending has shifted away from productive investments.
  6. 对于MMT来说,问题在于政府支出已经从生产性投资转移。
  7. This idea was discussed in more depth with members of my private investing community,Real Investment Advice PRO.
  8. 这个想法与我的私人投资社区Real Investment Advice PRO成员进行了更深入的讨论。

If you haven't heard of Modern Monetary Theory, or "MMT," you will soon. If you recently lost your job due to the economic shutdown, and received a stimulus check, you are already a beneficiary. As we will discuss in Part-1 of this two-part series, MMT falls flat when faced with reality.
如果你还没听说过现代货币理论(MMT),那么你很快就会知道了。如果你最近因为经济停滞而失业,并且收到了刺激支票,那么你已经是受益者了。正如我们将在这个由两部分组成的系列的第1部分中讨论的那样,MMT在面对现实时会陷入困境。

With economic growth sluggish, unemployment high, and the wealth gap widening, politicians will be increasing pressure to delve deeper into MMT to cure our economic woes. However, to understand more about the premise of MMT, economist Stephanie Kelton recently produced a video explaining the concept.
在经济增长乏力、失业率居高不下、贫富差距不断扩大的情况下,政客们将面临越来越大的压力,需要更深入地研究MMT以解决我们的经济困境。但是,为了进一步了解MMT的前提,经济学家斯蒂芬妮·科尔顿(Stephanie Kelton)最近制作了一段视频,以解释了这一概念。

The Government Isn't A Household
政府不是家庭

"MMT starts with a simple observation, and that is that the US dollar is a simple public monopoly. In other words, the United States currency comes from the United States government; it can't come from anywhere else. So, what that means is that the federal government is nothing like a household.
“MMT开始于一个简单的观察,即美元是一个简单的公共垄断。换句话说,美元来自美国政府;它不能来自其他地方。所以,这意味着联邦政府不像一个家庭。

For households or private businesses to be able to spend, they've got to come up with the money, right? And the federal government can never run out of money. It cannot face a solvency problem with bills coming due that it can't afford to pay. It never has to worry about finding the money to be able to spend."
对于家庭或私人企业来说,要想花钱,他们必须拿出钱来,对吧?但是联邦政府永远不会缺钱用。即时它不能面对无法支付到期账单的偿付能力问题。它永远不用担心找不到足够的钱来使用。”

There is nothing untrue about that statement. While the government can indeed "print money to meet all obligations," it does NOT mean there are no consequences. The chart below really tells you all you need to know.
这种说法并没有不真实的地方。虽然政府确实可以通过“印制钞票来履行所有义务”,但这并不意味着没有后果。下面的图表告诉了你需要了解的信息。

In reality, just like households, debt matters. When debt is used for "non-productive" purposes, the debt diverts dollars from productive purposes into servicing of the debt. The concept of "productive investments" is critically important to understanding why MMT fails the "litmus" test.
实际上,就像对于家庭一样,债务也很重要。当债务用于“非生产性”目的时,债务会将美元从生产性目的转移到偿还债务上。“生产性投资”的概念对于理解MMT为何未能通过“石蕊试纸”测试至关重要。

American Gridlock美国的僵局

Dr. Woody Brock, in American Gridlock, explained the importance of the productive use of debt. To wit:
在《美国的僵局》(American Gridlock)一书中,伍迪·布洛克(Woody Brock)博士解释了债务生产性使用的重要性。即:

"The word 'deficit' has no real meaning.
“‘赤字’这个词没有真正的意思。

'Country A spends $4 Trillion with receipts of $3 Trillion. This leaves Country A with a $1 Trillion deficit. To make up the difference between the spending and the income, the Treasury must issue $1 Trillion in new debt. That new debt is used to cover the excess expenditures, but generates no income leaving a future hole that must be filled.
“A国支出4万亿美元,收入3万亿美元。这使得A国面临1万亿美元的赤字。为了弥补支出和收入之间的差额,财政部必须发行1万亿美元的新债券。这些新债务被用来弥补超额支出,但没有产生任何收入,留下了一个必须被填补的未来窟窿。

Country B spends $4 Trillion and receives $3 Trillion income. However, the $1 Trillion of excess, which was financed by debt, was invested into projects and infrastructure that produced a positive return rate. There is no deficit as the return rate on the investment funds the 'deficit' over time.'
B国花费4万亿美元,收入3万亿美元。然而,由债务融资的1万亿美元过剩资金被投资于项目和基础设施,产生了正回报率。投资基金的回报率没有赤字,因为投资基金的回报率会随着时间的推移出现“赤字”。

There is no disagreement about the need for government spending. The argument is with the abuse and waste of it.
对于政府支出的必要性没有分歧。争论的焦点是滥用和浪费。

For government "deficit" spending to be effective, the "payback" from investments being made through debt must yield a higher return rate than the interest rate on the debt used to fund it.
要使政府的“赤字”支出有效,通过债务进行的投资的“回报”必须产生高于用于融资的债务利率的回报率。

MMT's Root Problem
MMT的根本问题

For MMT, the problem is government spending has shifted away from productive investments. Instead of things like the Hoover Dam, which creates jobs (infrastructure and development), spending shifted to social welfare, defense, and debt service, which have a negative rate of return.
对于MMT来说,问题在于政府支出已经从生产性投资转移了。与创造就业(基础设施和发展)的胡佛水坝不同,支出转向了社会福利、国防和债务偿还,而这些领域的回报率是负的。

According to the Center On Budget & Policy Priorities, nearly 75% of every tax dollar goes to non-productive spending.
根据预算与政策优先中心(Center On Budget & Policy Priorities)的数据,近75%的税收都流向了非生产性支出。

In other words, the U.S. is "Country A."
换句话说,美国是“A国”。

To clarify, in 2019, the federal government spent $4.8 trillion, which was equivalent to 22% of the nation's entire nominal GDP. Of that total spending, ONLY $3.6 trillion came from federal revenues, the remaining $1.1 trillion came from debt.
为了澄清这一点,2019年,联邦政府支出4.8万亿美元,相当于美国名义GDP总额的22%。在全部支出中,只有3.6万亿美元来自联邦收入,其余1.1万亿美元来自债务。

If 75% of all expenditures go to social welfare and interest on the debt, those payments required $3.6 trillion, or roughly 99% of the total revenue coming in.
如果所有支出的75%用于社会福利和债务利息,这些支出需要3.6万亿美元,约占总收入的99%。

Measuring With The Wrong Yardstick
用错误的标尺来衡量

"So, the deficit definitely matters; it's just that it matters in ways that we're not normally taught to understand. Normally I think people tend to hear deficit and think it's something that we should strive to eliminate; that we shouldn't be running budget deficits; that there is evidence of fiscal irresponsibility. And the truth is the deficit can be too big. Evidence of a deficit that's too big would be inflation." - Kelton
“因此,赤字肯定很重要;只是它以我们通常不会理解的方式起作用。通常我认为人们倾向于听到赤字并认为这是我们应该努力消除的东西;我们不应该出现预算赤字;财政不负责任的证据。事实是,赤字可能太大了。证明赤字过大的证据就是通货膨胀。”——凯尔顿(Kelton)

Yes, Ms. Kelton does acknowledge the deficit can be too big, and the consequence would be inflation.
是的,凯尔顿承认,赤字可能会太大,其后果将是通货膨胀。

There are two problems with her argument. The first is that if the government was running a massive deficit funding productive investments, then "inflation" would indeed be a problem. However, increasing deficits for non-productive purposes slows economic growth and is deflationary. Even a cursory glance at GDP, the deficit, and inflation shows the error in MMT's premise.
她的论点表明两个问题。首先,如果政府以巨额赤字为生产性投资提供资金,那么“通胀”将确实是个问题。然而,出于非生产目的的赤字增加会减缓经济增长,并导致通货紧缩。即使粗略地浏览GDP、赤字和通货膨胀,也显示出MMT的前提的错误。

The second, and more important problem is the measure of inflation.
第二个,也是更重要的问题就是通货膨胀的衡量。

How Should MMT Measure Inflation?
MMT应该如何衡量通货膨胀?

Prior to 1998, inflation was measured on a basket of goods. However, during the Clinton Administration, the Boskin Commission was brought in to recalculate how inflation was measured. Their objective was simple - lower the rate of inflation to reduce the amount of money being paid out in Social Security.
在1998年之前,通货膨胀是根据一篮子商品来衡量的。然而,在克林顿执政期间,博斯金委员会(Boskin Commission)被引入来重新计算衡量通胀的方式。他们的目标很简单——降低通胀率,以减少社保支出。

Since then, inflation measures have been tortured, mangled, and abused to the point where it scarcely equates to the inflation that consumers deal with. For example, home prices were substituted for "homeowners equivalent rent," which was falling at the time, and lowered inflationary pressures, despite rising house prices.
从那以后,通货膨胀的衡量标准被扭曲、破坏和滥用,以至于它几乎不能与消费者应对的通货膨胀相提并论。例如,房价被当时正在下降的“房主等价租金”所取代,尽管房价在上涨,但这降低了通胀压力。

Since 1998, homeowners equivalent rent has risen 72% while house prices, as measured by the Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, has almost doubled the rate at 136%. House prices which currently comprise almost 25% of CPI has been grossly under-accounted for. In fact, since 1998, CPI has been under-reported by .40% a year on average. Considering that official CPI has run at a 2.20% annual rate since 1998, .40% is a big misrepresentation.
自1998年以来,房主租金上涨了72%,而根据席勒美国全国住房价格指数(Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index)衡量的房价几乎翻了一番,达到136%。目前占CPI近25%的房价被严重低估。事实上,自1998年以来,CPI平均每年少报0.40%。考虑到官方CPI自1998年以来的年增长率为2.20%,0.40%是一个很大的误报。

Innovation, technology, and the exportation of labor has lowered stated inflation rates. The chart below compares inflation today measured with both the 1990 computations and current ones.
创新、技术和劳动力的输出降低了规定的通货膨胀率。下表比较了今天用1990年计算和当前计算得出的通货膨胀率。

Whether you agree with the calculations, weightings, and hedonics, the measure of inflation MUST be defined if it is the governor of economic policy.
无论你是否同意这些计算、权重和享乐主义,如果通货膨胀是经济政策的管理者,就必须对它进行定义。

It currently isn't.
很显然,它并没有。

Deficits Are Others Surpluses
赤字就是其他国家的盈余

"In other words, their deficits become our surpluses and so when we talk about the government having all this red ink, we have to remind ourselves that their red ink becomes our black ink and their deficits are our surpluses and the question is then should you expand fiscal policy? Should you run bigger budget deficits in order to boost growth?" - Kelton
“ 换句话说,他们的赤字变成了我们的盈余,所以当我们谈到这些赤字的时候,我们必须提醒自己,他们的赤字变成了我们的黑墨水,他们的赤字就是我们的盈余,那么问题是,我们是否应该扩大财政政策?是否应该通过增加预算赤字来刺激经济增长?”——凯尔顿Kelton

In theory, the concept is correct; in economic reality, it hasn't functioned that way.
理论上,这个概念是正确的;但是,在经济现实中,它并没有那样运作。

If used for productive investments, debt can be a solution to stimulating economic growth in the short term and providing a long-term benefit. The current surge in deficit spending only succeeds in giving a temporary illusion of economic growth by "pulling forward" future consumption, leaving a void to fill continually.
如果用于生产性投资,债务可以在短期内刺激经济增长并提供长期利益。当前赤字支出的激增,只是通过“拉动”未来消费,成功地制造了一种暂时的经济增长幻觉,实际上,却留下了一个需要不断填补的空白。

Jerome Powell previously stated the economy should grow faster than the debt. Yet, each year, the debt continues to grow faster than the economy.
杰罗姆•鲍威尔(Jerome Powell)此前曾表示,经济增长应该快于债务增长。然而,债务的增长速度每年都超过经济的增长速度。

Economy Can't Grow Faster Than Debt
经济增长不能超过债务

The relevance of debt growth versus economic growth is all too evident, as shown below. Since 1980, the overall increase in debt has surged to levels that currently usurp the entirety of economic growth. With economic growth rates now at the lowest levels on record, the growth in debt must continue to maintain current economic growth.
债务增长与经济增长的相关性非常明显,如下所示。自1980年以来,债务的总体增加已飙升至目前篡夺整个经济增长的水平。由于目前的经济增长率处于有记录以来的最低水平,债务的增长必须继续保持当前的经济增长。

However, merely looking at federal debt levels is misleading.
然而,仅看联邦债务水平是具有误导性的。

It is the total debt that weighs on the economy.
债务总额给经济带来压力。

It now requires nearly $3.00 of debt to create $1 of economic growth.
现在需要近3美元的债务才能创造1美元的经济增长。

Another way to view the impact of debt on the economy is to look at what "debt-free" economic growth would be. In other words, without debt, there has actually been no organic economic growth.
另一种看待债务对经济影响的方法是看什么是“无债务”的经济增长。换句话说,没有债务,实际上就没有有机的经济增长。

The economic deficit has never been more enormous. For the 30 years from 1952 to 1982, the economic surplus fostered a rising economic growth rate, which averaged roughly 8% during that period. With the economy expected to grow below 2% over the long term, the economic deficit has never been greater.
经济赤字从未如此巨大。从1952年到1982年的30年间,经济过剩促进了经济增长率的上升,经济增长率平均约为8%。由于长期经济增长预期将低于2%,经济赤字从未如此之大。

Such is why MMT will ultimately fails.
这就是为什么MMT最终会失败。

Interest rates and inflation MUST remain low, and debt MUST grow faster than the economy, just to keep the economy from stalling out.
“ 利率和通货膨胀必须保持在较低水平,债务增长必须快于经济增长,这样才能避免经济陷入停滞。

The current environment is the very essence of a "liquidity trap."
当前的环境正是“流动性陷阱”的本质所在。

Productivity Loss
生产力损失

"So, what is the objective, what is the proper policy goal, and I think the right policy goal is to maintain a balanced economy where you're at full employment. You're guarding against an acceleration and inflation risk. And economists tend to understand that the kinds of things that you can do to boost longer term growth are investments in things like education, infrastructure, R&D. Those are the sorts of things that tend to accelerate productivity growth so that longer term real GDP growth can be higher.
“所以,目标是什么,正确的政策目标是什么,我认为正确的政策目标是在充分就业的情况下保持均衡的经济。您要防范加速和通货膨胀的风险。经济学家倾向于要了解您可以采取的促进长期增长的措施是对教育,基础设施,研发等领域的投资,这些都是倾向于加速生产率增长的措施,以便长期的实际GDP增长可以更高。

So, there are ways in which the government can make investments today that increase deficits today that produce higher growth tomorrow and build in the extra capacity to absorb those higher deficits." Kelton
因此,政府可以通过一些方式在现在进行投资,从而增加当前的赤字,进而在明天产生更快的增长,并建立额外的能力来吸收这些更高的赤字。”——Kelton

There is clear evidence that increasing debts and deficits DO NOT lead to either stronger economic growth or increasing productivity. As Michael Lebowitz recently showed:
有明确的证据表明,债务和赤字的增加既不会带来更强劲的经济增长,也不会带来生产率的提高。正如Michael Lebowitz最近展示的那样:

"Since 1980, the long-term average growth rate of productivity has stagnated in a range of 0 to 2% annually, a sharp decline from the 30 years following WWII when productivity growth averaged 4 to 6%. While there is no exact measure of productivity, total factor productivity (TFP) is considered one of the best measures. Data for TFP can found here.
“ 自1980年以来,生产率的长期平均增长率一直停滞在每年0 - 2%的范围内,与二战后生产率平均增长4 - 6%的30年相比大幅下降。虽然生产力没有确切的衡量标准,但全要素生产率(TFP)被认为是最好的衡量标准之一。有关TFP的数据可以在这里找到。

The graph below plots a simple index we created based on total factor productivity (TFP) versus the ten-year average growth rate of TFP. The TFP index line is separated into green and red segments to highlight the change in the trend of productivity growth rate that occurred in the early 1970's. The green dotted line extrapolates the trend of the pre-1972 era forward."
下面的图表绘制了我们基于全要素生产率(TFP)和TFP十年平均增长率创建的一个简单指数。TFP指数线被分成绿色和红色部分,以突出70年代初生产率增长率趋势的变化。绿色的虚线推断了1972年以前的趋势。”

"The graph below plots 10-year average productivity growth (black line) against the ratio of total U.S. credit outstanding to GDP (green line)."
“ 下图绘制了10年平均生产率增长(黑线)与美国信贷余额占GDP的比率(绿线)的对比图。

"This reinforces the message from the other debt related graphs - over the last 30 years, the economy has relied more upon debt growth and less on productivity to generate economic activity.
“这强化了来自其他债务相关图表的信息——在过去30年里,经济更多地依赖债务增长,而较少依赖生产力来产生经济活动。

Ill-conceived policies, like MMT, which impose an over-reliance on debt and demographics, have mostly run their course and failed.
那些考虑不周的政策,比如过度依赖债务和人口结构的MMT,大多已经走到了尽头,并以失败告终。

Let's Be Like Japan
像日本一样

"So, it's impossible really to put a number on it. Nobody can know how much debt is too much debt. If you look at Japan today, you see a country where the debt to GDP ratio is something like 240%, orders of magnitude above where the US is today or even where the US is forecast to be in the future. And so the question is, how is Japan able to sustain a debt of that size?
“因此,不可能真正给出一个数字。因为没有人知道多少债务是太多的债务。如果你看看今天的日本,你会发现这个国家的债务占GDP的比例大约是240%,比今天的美国高一个数量级甚至比美国未来的预测高一个数量级。所以问题是,日本如何能够承受并维持如此规模的债务?

Wouldn't it have an inflation problem? Would it lead to rising interest rates? Wouldn't this be destructive in some way? The answer to all those questions as Japan has demonstrated now for years is simply, no. Japan's debt is close to 240% of GDP, almost a quadrillion. That's a very big number. Again, long-term interest rates are very close to zero. There's no inflation problem, and so despite the size of the debt, there are no negative consequences as a result. I think Japan teaches us a really import lesson." - Kelton
它不会有通胀问题吗?它会导致利率上升吗?这不会在某种程度上造成破坏么?正如日本多年来所证明的那样,所有这些问题的答案都是“不”。日本的债务接近GDP的240%,几乎达到了万亿美元。这是一个很大的数字。然而,其长期利率非常接近于零。没有通货膨胀的问题,因此尽管债务规模很大,也不会因此产生负面影响。我认为日本给我们上了非常重要的一课。”——Kelton

Ms. Kelton is correct. Japan does indeed teach us that running massive debts and deficits have not fostered stronger economic growth, beneficial inflation, or prosperity.
凯尔顿女士是对的。日本确实告诉我们,巨额债务和赤字并不会促进更强劲的经济增长、带来有益的通胀或繁荣。

There Is More To The Story
故事还有很多

Japan has been running a massive "quantitative easing" program starting in 2008, which is more than 3-times the size of that in the U.S. While stock markets did rise with ongoing central bank interventions, long-term performance has remained muted.
日本从2008年开始实施大规模的“量化宽松”政策,其规模是美国的三倍多。尽管股市在中央银行持续干预下有所上涨,但长期表现仍然不佳。
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More importantly, economic prosperity is only slightly higher than it was before the turn of the century.
更重要的是,经济繁荣程度仅略高于世纪之交之前的水平。

Despite the Bank of Japan consuming 80% of the ETF market and a sizable chunk of the corporate and government debt market, Japan has been plagued by rolling recessions, low inflation, and low interest rates. (Japan's 10-year Treasury rate fell into negative territory for the second time in recent years.)
尽管日本央行占据了ETF市场80%的份额,以及相当大一部分公司和政府债券市场,但日本长期受到周期性衰退、低通胀和低利率的困扰。(日本10年期国债收益率近年来第二次跌至负值。)

Clearly, Ms. Kelton has not studied the impacts of MMT on Japan. The consequences for its citizens has been less than beneficial.
显然,凯尔顿女士没有研究过MMT对日本的影响。对其公民来说,其后果是不利的。

Japan Is A Template
日本就是模板

Should we worry about the debt? If Japan is indeed a template of what we will eventually face, the simple answer is "yes."
我们应该担心债务吗?如果日本确实是我们最终将面对的答案模板,那么它的答案是“是”。

As global growth continues to slow, the negative impact of debt expands economic instability and wealth inequality. Likewise, the hope central bank's monetary ammunition can foster economic growth, or inflation has been misplaced.
随着全球增长继续放缓,债务的负面影响扩大了经济不稳定和财富不平等。同样,央行的货币政策弹药能够促进经济增长或通胀的希望也放错了地方。

"The fact is that financial engineering does not help an economy, it probably hurts it. If it helped, after mega-doses of the stuff in every imaginable form, the Japanese economy would be humming. But the Japanese economy is doing the opposite. Japan tried to substitute monetary policy for sound fiscal and economic policy. And the result is terrible." - Doug Kass
“事实是,金融工程不会帮助一个经济,甚至可能会伤害它。如果有帮助的话,在以各种可以想象的形式进行了大量的试验之后,日本经济将会蓬勃发展。但日本经济的表现却恰恰相反。日本试图用货币政策替代稳健的财政和经济政策。结果是可怕的。”——道格。卡斯(Doug Kass)

Japan is a microcosm of what the U.S. will face in the coming years as the "3-D's" of debt, deflation, and the inevitability of demographics continue to widen the wealth gap. What Japan has shown us is that financial engineering doesn't create prosperity, and over the medium to longer-term, it has negative consequences.
日本是未来几年美国将面临的一个缩影,债务、通货紧缩和不可避免的人口结构将继续扩大贫富差距。日本向我们展示的结果是,金融工程不会创造繁荣,而且从中期到长期来看,它会带来负面后果。

Such is a key point.
这是一个关键。

What is missed by those promoting the use of more debt, is the underlying flawed logic of using debt to solve a debt problem.
那些提倡使用更多债务的人忽略了利用债务解决债务问题的潜在逻辑错误。

At some point, you simply have to stop digging.
在某些时候,你必须停止深陷。

Original Post

Editor's Note: The summary bullets for this article were chosen by Seeking Alpha editors.
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编者注:本文的摘要符号是通过寻找Alpha编辑来选择的。