美 国等其他国家将高度关注此次全国人大会议中出炉的政策,因为它们都指望中国能通过唤醒国人的消费能力来...
The annual meeting of China's parliament, which begins Thursday, will reveal how far Beijing will go to support families
The annual meeting of China's parliam...
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  1. 1. 中国一年一度的全国人大会议定于本周四开幕,此次会议将揭示出中国政府将如何支撑那些在经济滑坡中受到冲 击的家庭,以及用什么办法来提振消费支出。 美 国等其他国家将高度关注此次全国人大会议中出炉的政策,因为它们都指望中国能通过唤醒国人的消费能力来 救全球经济于水火之中。经济学家说,为实现这一目 标,中国政府需要在医疗卫生、教育、社会福利等方面投入 更多资金,如此一来人们才有信心进行消费,而不是把钱都存进银行。 作为仅次于美国和日本的全球第三大经济体,中国在过去一年中的经济增速显著放缓,但它的贸易顺差仍居高不 下。中国的贸易伙伴都希望中国能够加大进口规模。 虽然中国全国人大的立法权力有限,但它仍是中国的年度政坛大事,会有许多重要的政策得到讨论及宣布。人们 普遍预计总理温家宝及其他官员将承诺显著增加对社会项目的投入。 康 乃尔大学(Cornell University)大学教授、国际货币基金组织(International Monetary Fund)中国区前负责人埃斯瓦尔 •普拉萨德(Eswar Prasad)说,中国有资源来激发经济,并使之改变航道;针对社会支出宣布的宏大计划将能够安抚 中国消费者,部分抵消此次危机带来的不确定感。 普拉萨德说,这也有可能在国际舞台上给中国带来回报,因为它表明了中国支持全球需求,而不只是依赖外界需 求来重振自己的经济增长。 中国政府已经公布了一项规模庞大的经济刺激方案,其主要目标是提振基础设施及建筑的支出规模。目前为止, 该方案中 1%的资金将用于医疗及教育领域,另有 7%调拨给了公共住房建设,其余的则将用做企业补助及基建支 出。 亚洲开发银行(ADB)经济学家庄健说,最初的经济刺激方案主要集中于投资和基建,中国政府需要对这一结构进行 调整;如果没有强劲的消费支出与之相匹配,那么过多的投资将带来问题,这一点在重工业及制造业尤为明显。 经 济学家说,加大社会服务支出将不仅能给那些失去工作和收入来源的家庭提供缓冲,还能为经济增长打下基 础。中国家庭将收入的逾四分之一用于储蓄,这一储蓄率 位列大型经济体前列;不过,一旦中国人肯定政府会为 养老提供帮助、并能降低教育及医疗费用的话,他们也是有可能进行更多消费的。 温家宝上 周六在和网民做在线交流时说,“取决于消费的不在于一般号召,而在于消费者口袋里是不是真的有 钱。”他在这次少有的直面网民的对话中承诺民生是政府支出之 本。温家宝承认政府未能付出足够的努力来提高医 疗保健水平。中国政府 1 月份宣布投入人民币 8,500 亿元(合 1,240 亿美元)来进行医药卫生体制改革。 现 在的问题是政府如何履行这些承诺。虽然中国的社会支出水平仍然较低,但在本届政府任内,此项开支占国内 生产总值(GDP)的比重已经从 2004 年时的 5% 升到了 2007 年时的 5.8%。然而,考虑到已有上千万人失去了工作, 而且今年的经济状况在好转到来之前可能继续走软,许多观察人士都认为中国已经来到了 一个转折点,需要采取 大的行动了。 中国发展研究基金会秘书长卢迈说,我们目前在提高公共支出方面正面临着选择:究竟是用于保障及相关政策、 还是用于社会福利? 提 高公共服务代价不菲。中国发展研究基金会上周发布的报告估算,为建设覆盖全民的社会福利体系,2012 年前 的第一阶段工作需要支出人民币 2.6 万亿元;到 2020 年前需要再投入 5.74 万亿元,用于完善医疗保健、教育、养 老、低收入家庭住房、残疾人福利、失业保障以及最贫穷者救助等社会福利体系。 和 许多国家不一样的是,此次危机袭来之时中国政府并未背负巨额赤字,因此它有更大的能力来采取一些大手笔 的行动。中国 2008 年时出现了小规模赤字,约占 GDP 的 0.4%,而且中国官员反复表示今年的赤字规模会因经济 刺激方案而有所扩大。中国媒体报导今年的赤字可能达到约 9,500 亿元,占 GDP 的比重将 近 3%。
  2. 2. The annual meeting of China's parliament, which begins Thursday, will reveal how far Beijing will go to support families hit by the economic downturn and to boost the nation's consumer spending. The policies rolled out at the National People's Congress session will be watched by the U.S. and other countries that want China to help the global economy by awakening the spending power of its vast population. To do that, economists say, Beijing needs to invest more in health care, education and social welfare, so people have the confidence to spend -- instead of adding to savings. China, the world's third-largest economy after the U.S. and Japan, has seen its growth slow sharply in the past year, but its trade surplus remains high. China's trading partners hope the country will import more. Despite the limited power of the legislature, its annual session is China's political event of the year, where major policies are discussed and announced. Expectations are high that Premier Wen Jiabao and other officials will make substantial new commitments to social programs. 'China has the resources to reinvigorate and reorient its economy,' said Eswar Prasad, a professor at Cornell University and former head of the International Monetary Fund's China division. Announcing an 'ambitious agenda' of higher social spending would reassure Chinese consumers, offsetting some uncertainty the crisis has brought, he said. 'This could also have a broader payoff for China in the international arena by providing support to global demand, rather than just relying on demand in the rest of the world to help the recovery of Chinese growth,' Mr. Prasad said. The government has already announced a major stimulus package aimed mainly at boosting spending on infrastructure and construction. Currently, 1% of the stimulus is allocated to health care and education spending and 7% to public housing, with the rest going to corporate subsidies and infrastructure. 'The original stimulus plan was heavily focused on investment and infrastructure. There needs to be some adjustment in the structure,' said Zhuang Jian, an economist with the Asian Development Bank. 'Excess investment, particularly in heavy industry and manufacturing, could cause problems if there isn't strong consumption to match it.' Greater spending on social services would not only cushion the blow to Chinese families who have lost jobs and income, economists say, but also lay a foundation for growth. Chinese households save more than a quarter of their income -- one of the highest rates of any major economy -- but could spend more if they were assured of government support for old age as well as lower education and medical costs. 'Consumption is not based on slogans, but on whether consumers really have money in their pockets,' Mr. Wen, the premier, said Saturday in a rare online exchange with Chinese citizens, promising that 'peoples' livelihoods will definitely be the top priority for government spending.' He conceded the government has not yet done enough to improve health care -- the target for an 850 billion yuan ($124 billion) overhaul announced in January. How the government follows through on those promises is the question. Although social spending remains low, under the current administration it has risen to 5.8% of gross domestic product in 2007 from 5% in 2004. But with tens of millions already jobless, and the economy likely to get worse this year before it gets better, many observers say China has reached a turning point that requires a big move. 'We are now facing a choice: Do we increase public spending on security and the police, or on social benefits?' asked Lu Mai, secretary-general of the China Development Research Foundation. Building up public services won't be inexpensive. Mr. Lu's organization published a report last week estimating that the government needs to spend 2.6 trillion yuan by 2012 to roll out the first phase of a social safety net that would cover all Chinese citizens. A further 5.74 trillion yuan is required by 2020 to complete the improvement of health care, education, pensions for the elderly, low-income housing, disability benefits, unemployment protections and welfare for the poorest. Unlike many other countries, China's government entered the crisis without large deficits, giving it a greater ability to take aggressive measures. China ran a small budget deficit of about 0.4% of GDP in 2008, and officials repeatedly have said this year's deficit will expand to accommodate the stimulus spending. Chinese media have reported that the budget deficit is likely to be around 950 billion yuan for 2009, or close to 3% of GDP.