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《经济学人》:英国2011年财政预算,束手束脚

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This was not the radical reforming budget it had been billed as. But its heart was in the right place

虽不如它所标榜的“激进的、革新的预算”,但其动机还是积极的。

“THIS is not a tax-raising budget. But nor can we afford a giveaway.” Thus George Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer, drew the narrow parameters of his second budget on March 23rd. The broad sweep of the coalition government’s fiscal policy was set in Mr Osborne’s emergency budget last June, and in October’s four-year public-spending review. His task then was to fashion a deficit-reduction plan of tax increases and spending cuts to reassure bond markets of Britain’s creditworthiness. This time the chancellor was restricted to finding small pockets of extra revenue to finance modest but eye-catching tax breaks or subsidies.

“这不是一个增税的计划,但我们也负担不起减税了。”在3月23日,现任英国财政大臣乔治奥斯本,提出了他的第二套财政紧缩预算。早在去年六月奥斯本的紧急减赤预案中,已经全面地回顾了联合政府的财政政策,并于十月核查了四年公共支出。奥斯本的任务是旨在减少赤字的加税和减少公共开支,以保证英国在债券市场的信用。这次财政大臣能做的事情有限,只能计划收入小笔预算外融资,但适度、却醒目地提出减税优惠或补贴。

At least he did not come back for more money from taxpayers and spending departments. Nine months in, the plan to eliminate the structural deficit during this parliament is broadly on track. Public-sector net borrowing will be ??146 billion ($237 billion) or 9.9% of GDP this financial year, a few billion less than the Treasury estimated in June. The deficit in 2011-12 and beyond will be a shade higher as a share of GDP than on previous forecasts, but not much.

至少他没有向纳税人和消费部门要更多的钱。在今后九个月中,本届国会将全面出击致力于消除结构性赤字。在这一财务年,政府公共净举债1460亿英镑(毛2370亿英镑)GDP增长达9.9%,比财政部6月预计略低。在2011-2012年度及以后,GDP中赤字占比将高于先前预测,但相去不远。

This higher path reflects a slower pace of economic recovery rather than any let-up in the chancellor’s zeal for fiscal austerity. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the fiscal watchdog set up by Mr Osborne last year, has revised its forecast for this year’s GDP growth to 1.7% from 2.1% (the forecast for 2012 was nudged down to 2.5%). That change reflects the momentum lost in the 0.6% fall in GDP in the final quarter of 2010. The OBR reckons some of the drop in output will have been recovered during a sprightly first quarter in 2011 (it forecasts a 0.8% increase), though it has not revised up GDP growth in subsequent quarters. The OBR judges that the chancellor will meet his self-imposed fiscal targets.

这根赤字增加的扬线反映了经济复苏步伐放缓,但并不能说明财政大臣热衷于财政紧缩政策。奥斯本去年组建的预算责任办公室(OBR)履行着财政监督职责,其将今年的GDP增长从之前预测的2.1%,修订至1.7%(2012年预测微幅下调至2.5%)。这一变化反映了在2010年第4季度因增长乏力而使GDP降低0.6%。 OBR预测在11年第1季度将出现小幅攀升,预计为0.8%,但它并没有调整GDP在后几季度增长预期。OBR判断财政大臣将达成他制定的每一个财政年度目标。

With the big-picture stuff in place, Mr Osborne could administer a few small balms to the economy’s sorest spots. The costliest measure—and the one designed to capture the headlines—was the suspension of planned real-term increases in fuel duties for the life of the current parliament, together with an immediate one-penny per litre cut. That change will cost the Treasury ??1.9 billion in 2011-12, but will be more than paid for by an increased levy on North Sea oil producers, to capture the windfall gains from high crude prices. Mr Osborne justified this transfer from producers to consumers by noting that other oil-producing countries have tax systems that squeeze profits harder when oil prices are high. He said a sustained fall in the oil price below, say, $75 a barrel would prompt a reversal in the balance of taxation towards consumers.

正如图表显示,奥斯本的政策对英国经济阵痛点有些小疗效。其中最昂贵的一个举措、如同不少新闻头条报道的,他暂停了现有国会通过一项长期增加燃油税的决议,使汽油价格立竿见影地每公升跌了一便士。这项决定在2011-12年度将使英国财政额外支出19亿英镑,但向北欧石油生产商调高的增税预期会取得更多收益。奥斯本给生产商的理由是,其他石油生产国的税收制度,可以在原油涨价时调低利润值来保证油价,会从把利润从生产者向消费者转移。他说在下一个季度油价格将持续下跌,每桶75美元的原油价格将会进一步拉低单位油价,马上会使生产商和消费者之间的税收产生一个平衡。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
redundant [ri'dʌndənt]

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adj. 多余的,失业的

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designated ['deziɡ,neitid]

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adj. 特指的;指定的

 
scrap [skræp]

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n. 碎片,废品
vt. 舍弃,报废

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shade [ʃeid]

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n. 阴影,遮蔽,遮光物,(色彩的)浓淡
vt

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accelerate [æk'seləreit]

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vt. 加速,提前,跳级
vi. 加速

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treasury ['treʒəri]

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n. 国库,宝库 (大写)财政部,国债

 
track [træk]

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n. 小路,跑道,踪迹,轨道,乐曲
v. 跟踪

 
lasting ['læstiŋ]

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adj. 永久的,永恒的
动词last的现在分

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equity ['ekwəti]

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n. 权益,产权,(无固定利息的)股票,衡平法

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strict [strikt]

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adj. 严格的,精确的,完全的

 


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