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《经济学人》:美国政府面临倒闭风险

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Time to stop play-acting and spit out the tea
是时候停止演戏,摒弃茶党思维了

The Republicans are not being serious about the deficit
共和党人没有认真对待赤字问题

THIRTY billion dollars is a lot of money for anyone except America’s government. In Washington it is a bagatelle: about what the feds spend in three days, or less than 2% of the predicted budget deficit for this year. Yet in the peculiar battle that is now raging over the budget for a fiscal year already half over, $30 billion is all that now separates the Republicans and the Democrats, who have been bickering for the past 14 months over the details. Because neither side thinks it can afford to back down, the risks of a government shutdown are rising fast; without an agreement, the government will run out of money on April 8th.

300亿美元对任何人来说都是一笔巨款,但对美国政府来说不是。对华盛顿来讲,300亿美元只是小菜一碟:大概相当于联邦政府三天的开销,预计还不到今年财政赤字的2%。然而在这场持续了将近半个财政年度的罕见战争中,就是这300亿美元成为了共和党人和民主党人的分歧所在,在过去的14个月中双方一直在为细节问题争吵不休。因双方均不想为之让步,政府倒闭的风险正迅速增加;如果达不成协议,到4月8日政府将无运转资金。

Some irresponsible people, on both sides of the political aisle, think that a temporary shutdown would not matter all that much. A fair few Democrats hope that the Republicans will be blamed for their intransigence, as they were at the time of the last shutdown, in 1995-96 (though they may be disappointed on that score, since public opinion swung against the Republicans in 1996 only after their leader, Newt Gingrich, made a fool of himself over a seat on Air Force One). Those of a tea-partyish persuasion imagine that they will be politically rewarded by their supporters for sticking to their guns, and that the only good government is one on enforced leave.

两党中有些不负责任的人认为政府暂时倒闭不会有太大影响。相当一部分民主党人认为毫不让步的共和党人应受谴责,正如1995-1996年间政府倒闭时共和党人备受指责一样(虽然对此他们倍感失望,因为1996年公众批评共和党人完全是因为其党首纽特·金里奇为了空军一号的一个座位而犯傻)。那些持茶党思维的人认为坚守立场会得到其支持者的政治支持,而且一个好政府是被迫“休假”的政府。

In the short term, it is true, a shutdown would be far from catastrophic; soldiers will continue to fight; aircraft will not collide; Social Security (pensions) cheques will mostly continue to be automatically sent out. But it would still be highly disruptive, not least for government employees who will not get paid, and it will inconvenience people and businesses in countless ways. That is no small matter while the recovery remains so fragile.

确实,短期来讲,政府关门绝不是什么灾难性事件;士兵会继续战斗,飞机不会坠毁,绝大部分社会保险也会自动发放。但它仍极具杀伤力,特别是对那些拿不到薪水的政府工作人员。它也将给公众和企业带来诸多不便。在经济恢复仍旧脆弱的背景下,这绝不是什么小事。

More worrying than a shutdown itself would be its implications. If the politicians’ attempts to resolve one year’s budget end in acrimonious collapse, what hope is there of reaching agreement on issues that require both sides to take much more political punishment? Later in April another battle looms, this time over the need for an extension to America’s debt limit, currently set at $14.3 trillion and now very close to being reached. A row over the fiscal 2011 budget might not alarm investors too much; a fight over authorising money that ultimately could be needed to pay international creditors is quite another thing.

比政府倒闭更让人担忧的是其暗示意义。如果政治家们解决一年预算问题的努力都付诸东流,两党严重分裂,那又有什么希望让双方接受更多的政治让步,就诸多议题达成一致呢?四月后期另一场战役也会打响,这场战役关于是否需要放宽美国的债务限额。目前债务限额为14.3万亿美元,且已逼近底线。因2011年财政预算产生的严重分歧可能并不会使投资者过度担忧;最终可能还需要政府资金支付欠债权国的债务,而就这笔资金产生的争论则是另外一种景象了。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
challenge ['tʃælindʒ]

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n. 挑战
v. 向 ... 挑战

 
resolve [ri'zɔlv]

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n. 决定之事,决心,坚决
vt. 决定,解决

联想记忆
theatrical [θi'ætrikəl]

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adj. 剧场的,夸张的

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ultimately ['ʌltimitli]

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adv. 最后,最终

 
budget ['bʌdʒit]

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n. 预算
vt. 编预算,为 ... 做预算

 
aisle [ail]

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n. (席位间的)通道,侧廊

 
fiscal ['fiskəl]

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adj. 财政的,国库的

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indicate ['indikeit]

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v. 显示,象征,指示
v. 指明,表明

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medium ['mi:diəm]

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n. 媒体,方法,媒介
adj. 适中的,中等

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inconvenience [.inkən'vi:njəns]

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n. 不便,困难
vt. 使 ... 不便,使

 


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