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《经济学人》:美国经济,全是借口

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Economists have found themselves repeatedly making excuses. First it was the snowstorms. Then it was Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster which crimped the supply of parts to car assembly plants in America. Then, as the snow melted, floods ravaged Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee, and tornadoes battered Alabama and Missouri. America has suffered five incidents of extreme weather this year, each inflicting at least $1 billion in damage.

经济学家们发现自己不停的找借口。最开始是暴风雪。然后是日本的地震、台风,还有影响供应美国汽车组装工厂配件的核灾难。后来,由于冰雪融化,洪水袭击了阿肯色、密西西比、密苏里、田纳西,而且阿拉巴马和密苏里也遭遇龙卷风。美国今年已经经历了5场极端天气,每一场都会带来至少10亿美元的损失。

The most important special factor has been petrol. Prices jumped from $3 per gallon at the end of December to $3.90 in early May. That has siphoned off much of the purchasing power that consumers should have extracted from December’s tax agreement and subsequent gains in employment. Total consumer spending rose at just a 6.7% annual rate in the three months to the end of April, but most of that increase was eaten up by inflation. Real spending grew by a paltry 2.2%.

最为重要的一个特殊因素是石油。一加仑的石油从12月底的三美元涨到5月初的3.9美元。这大大削弱了消费者的购买力,这些购买力本来可以根据12月的税收协议释放出来的,并且可以用来改善就业情况。消费者的总消费量截止到四月底的三个月中仅仅增长了6.7%,但大多数增长量又被通货膨胀抵消了。实际的增长量仅为微小的2.2%。

Still, Wall Street expects the economy to perk up in coming months as those special factors begin to fade. Petrol prices have slipped in the past three weeks as monetary policy has tightened in emerging markets. Employment seems still to be rising, albeit at a slower rate. (May figures were to be released after The Economist went to press.) And rebuilding after the floods and tornadoes may deliver a fillip in the second half of the year.

不过华尔街的专家们仍然希望在未来的几个月中经济能回暖,因为那些特殊因素正在削弱。由于新兴市场的货币政策缩紧,石油的价格在过去的三周内有所回落。就业率一直在回升,尽管速度较以前更为缓慢。(5月份的数据在《经济学人》付送印刷之后将要发布。)而且洪水以及龙卷风后重建也可以刺激下半年的经济。

Yet if one-offs can so easily depress growth, that only underlines how fragile the economy’s underpinnings are. More evidence of that fragility came in the GDP report’s sharp downward revisions to households’ real after-tax incomes in late 2010 and early 2011. It now appears that consumers have maintained their sluggish pace of spending only by saving less. Since GDP measured by income should equal GDP measured by spending, the poor income data suggest the GDP figures may have to be revised down.

不过,如果突发事件可以如此轻易的抑制增长,则这只能凸显经济的地基有多么不稳固。有更多的例子来证明这种不稳固,比如2010年底以及2011年初的GDP报告中,家庭实际税后收入大幅下降。现在看来,消费者完全是靠少存钱来维持他们缓慢的消费增长。由于通过收入来计算的GDP应该与通过开销来计算的GDP相同,所以统计收入的糟糕的数据表明GDP数值应该再降低一些。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
measured ['meʒəd]

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adj. 量过的,慎重的,基于标准的,有韵律的 动词me

 
disaster [di'zɑ:stə]

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n. 灾难

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enact [i'nækt]

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vt. 制定法律,扮演

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emerging [i'mə:dʒ]

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vi. 浮现,(由某种状态)脱出,(事实)显现出来

 
performance [pə'fɔ:məns]

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n. 表演,表现; 履行,实行
n. 性能,本

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supply [sə'plai]

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n. 补给,供给,供应,贮备
vt. 补给,供

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recovery [ri'kʌvəri]

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n. 恢复,复原,痊愈

 
evidence ['evidəns]

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n. 根据,证据
v. 证实,证明

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eliminate [i'limineit]

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v. 除去,剔除; 忽略

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factor ['fæktə]

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n. 因素,因子
vt. 把 ... 因素包括

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