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美国人伤疤没好却忘了痛:加州的悲惨状况  

2009-05-29 02:58:10|  分类: 时事 热点 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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美国人伤疤没好却忘了痛:加州的悲惨状况              消息来源:华尔街日报

  在生活中不断学习,对吗?

  不过,美国不是这样。我们在这个国家生活、把事情搞砸,然后我们又重复着此前做过的蠢事。

  显然,要我们作出艰难的必然选择实在是太不容易了。

  看看我们状况最为糟糕的州──加州的悲惨状况。加州可能是全球第六或第八大经济体,但现在加州可不只是身无分文,而是破产了。

  是谁令加州沦落的?选民们会怪罪于州长。民主党人会归咎于共和党人,反之亦然。但真正的罪魁祸首,当然还是加州民众自己。加州民众否决了五项旨在削减该州213亿美元预算赤字的提案,加州如今已经成为了全美信用评级最为糟糕的州,他们可真是居功致伟。

  毫无疑问的是,加州怪异的政治体制没有带来帮助。特别选票制对治理任何一个州来说都不容易。尤其是加州议会还规定要有三分之二的选票才能通过一项预算案。

  加州州长施瓦辛格(Schwarzenegger)昨天说,我尊重民众的意志,他们对我们预算制度的运转失灵感到失望灰心。他谈到了这个体制一片混乱,这点说的没错。

  但施瓦辛格不应当只是归咎制度。归根结底,错就错在加州的民众以超过自己收入、违背经济学定律的方式生活。

  你不可能给警察开出一年19万美元的薪水和福利,或是给学校员工支付超过全国平均水平35%的工资,同时还要保证加州收支平衡。

  你不可能给300万非法移民提供社会福利──人均社会福利支出比美国平均水平高出70%──同时还要保证加州预算平衡。

  你也不能通过全美最高的个人所得税率来保证加州免予破产。

  这就是为什么加州预算赤字会在仅仅几个月内从150亿美元急剧膨胀至210亿美元,涨幅高达42%;也是加州赤字为什么还在继续扩大的原因。

  更夸张的是,或许加州民众没有吸取过去几年的经验教训,美国其他地方也一样没有。纽约州正忙着紧步后尘。该州给工会加了3%的薪水,还新增了一项针对百万富翁的税项。不过,纽约州的预算赤字只有大约60亿美元。

  再说联邦政府,它甚至都不必假装要平衡预算。因此,它为什么要阻止自己重犯过去的错误?

  上周,美国住房和城市发展部(Department of Housing and Urban Development)制定了一个计划,向首次购房者支付的头款提供至多8,000美元的现金抵税额。这样的话,一个准购房者只需要数千美元就可以贷款购买一座15万美元的房子了。

  这样的情形如此熟悉:拥有自己住房的美国梦,极少的先期付款,以及急切热心的放贷商。和五年前的情况没什么两样。

  在生活中不断学习?

  显而易见,加州不懂这个道理,美国其他地区也不懂。

 

The Sorry State of Our Sorriest State, California                                            Wall Street Journal 2009.05.21

You live, you learn. Right?

Well, not in America. Here we live, screw up and then go back to doing the same stupid things we did before.

Apparently, it is just too hard for us to make the tough, necessary choices.

Look at the sorry state of our sorriest state, California. It may be the sixth or eighth largest economy in the world, but it isn’t just broke, it’s broken.

And who broke it? The voters will blame the governor. And the Democrats will blame the Republicans and vice versa. But the real culprits, of course, are the people of California themselves.

By defeating the five propositions designed to close the $21.3 billion budget deficit, the citizens of California have richly earned their state’s abysmal credit rating, the worst of any state in the union.

There is no doubt California’s awkward political system hasn’t helped matters. Special ballot votes are a tough way to govern any state. Especially one that requires a two-thirds vote in the state Legislature to pass a budget.

So when Gov. Schwarzenegger said Wednesday that “…I respect the will of the people who are frustrated with the dysfunction in our budget system” he was right in noting that the system is messed up.

But he was wrong to just the fault the system. It really is the fault of the people of California, who live beyond their means–and the laws of economics.

You cannot pay police officers $190,000 a year in salary and benefits or pay your school employees 35% more than the national average and keep your state solvent.

You cannot provide three million illegal immigrants with social services–spending 70% more per capita on social services than the national average–and keep your state solvent.

And you cannot tax your state into solvency with the highest personal income tax rates in the country.

That is why the state’s deficit ballooned 42% to $21 billion from $15 billion in just a few months–and why it will continue to get bigger.

And here’s the kicker. Californians may not have learned the lessons of the past few years, but neither has the rest of America. New York is busy playing catch-up. The state can give unions a 3% raise and add a “millionaire’s” tax, but its budget is still $6 billion underwater.

As for the federal government, well, it doesn’t even have to pretend to balance a budget. So why should it stop itself from repeating past mistakes?

The Department of Housing and Urban Development last week set up a program to give first-time home buyers a tax credit of as much as $8,000 for a down payment. Using that cash, a would-be homeowner would need only a few thousand dollars to buy a $150,000 house.

It’s all there–the American dream of owning a home, very little up-front-money, an eager lender. Just like five years ago.

You live, you learn?

Apparently, not in California, nor the rest of the nation.                                        ~Evan Newmark ~


 

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