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《经济学人》:权势大亨们和飞机制造企业

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Fat cats and corporate jets
权势大亨们和飞机制造企业

Why is it so unrewarding for politicians to bash the rich in America?
为什么美国政客都不愿意对富人进行打击呢?

Jul 7th 2011 | from the print edition

THE corporate jet gets a lousy press. In the James Bond classic, “Goldfinger”, the eponymous villain is sucked out of the window of just such an aircraft. In 2008 the bosses of Detroit’s moribund car companies did themselves no favours when they flew in their gleaming jets to Washington, DC, to beg Congress for bail-outs (they drove the next time). And in his present face-off with the Republicans over the federal debt ceiling, Barack Obama is bashing the jets again, because to the man in the street the corporate jet is a perfect proxy for a fat cat. “I’ve said to Republican leaders, you go talk to your constituents and ask them, ‘Are you willing to compromise your kids’ safety so some corporate-jet owner can get a tax break?’.”

私人飞机面临着大量的压力。在詹姆士•邦德经典电影《金手指》中,臭名昭著的恶棍就是从这样的飞机窗户中被吸出去的。2008年,底特律濒临倒闭的汽车企业的老板们飞往华盛顿请求国会给予应急措施时,他们乘坐的豪华飞机并没有给他们带来一丁点帮助(第二次是开车来的)。在他出席的与共和党关于政府债务限额问题的面对面会议中,巴拉克•奥巴马再一次猛烈抨击私人飞机,因为对于大街上的普通民众来说,私人飞机就是有钱肥猫的最佳代言人。“我已经对共和党领导人说过,你去问问你的选民们这样一个问题:‘你们愿意用孩子的安全作为代价来换取某些私人飞机的主人减税吗?’”

Needless to say, Mr Obama is now accused by the aircraft manufacturers of scapegoating a successful industry that employs more than a million Americans and by the Republicans of launching a populist “class war”. But this raises a question. If an authentic populist movement exists in the United States today, it is not composed of impoverished class warriors braying to squeeze the rich until their pips squeak. It is the tea-party movement, whose crusade to slash taxes and pare government to the bone far outweighs whatever distaste it might feel towards those magnificent fat cats in their flying machines.

不用说,私人飞机现在肯定指责奥巴马将一个提供超过一百万岗位的成功产业作为替罪羊,而且共和党会指责他发起了一个平民主义的“阶级斗争”。但这提出了一个问题,如果当今美国存在一个真正的平民运动,那么这将不包括那些尖叫着要将富人榨干的贫民阶级勇士们。这是茶党运动,其改革运动旨在减少税收和彻底精简政府,任何不喜欢茶党运动的都有可能倾向于飞机里的那些重要的大亨们。

Why is bashing the rich such an unpopular form of populism in America? The normal answer falls back on culture. Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution notes that Americans are repelled by the notion of inequality in worth or status. That men are created equal is, after all, “self-evident”. They are, however, far less perturbed by unequal wealth, a form of inequality that is the inevitable product of the free-market system in which most still profess an abiding faith. According to Tom Smith, director of the Centre for the Study of Politics and Society at the University of Chicago, surveys still show Americans to be more sympathetic than Europeans to the idea that unequal pay encourages people to work hard, for example, and less sympathetic to the idea that governments should try to smooth such inequalities out.

为何在美国抨击富人是非常不受欢迎的一种平民主义形式?常规的答案归根于文化,布鲁金斯学会的比尔•盖尔斯顿指出,美国人对财产和社会地位不平等的说法感到厌恶。毕竟人人生而平等是“不言而喻”的,但却被不平等的财富完全打乱。财富不均作为不公平的一种形式,是自由市场体系不可避免的产物,但多数人声称仍然对自由市场体系持有不变的信念。根据芝加哥大学政治与社会研究中心主任汤姆•史密斯的调查,发现美国人比欧洲人更加赞同这样的想法,即不平等的待遇激励人们更加努力的工作,但是,不赞成政府应当尝试消除不平等的想法。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
resent [ri'zent]

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vt. 恨,生气

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status ['steitəs]

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n. 地位,身份,情形,状况

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widening ['waidəuiŋ]

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v. 使变宽;使扩大;拓宽;扩展(widen的ing形式

 
allocate ['æləkeit]

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vt. 分派,分配,分配额

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democratic [.demə'krætik]

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adj. 民主的,大众的,平等的

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intervention [.intə'venʃən]

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n. 插入,介入,调停

 
director [di'rektə, dai'rektə]

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n. 董事,经理,主管,指导者,导演

 
bond [bɔnd]

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n. 债券,结合,粘结剂,粘合剂
vt. 使结

 
compromise ['kɔmprəmaiz]

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n. 妥协,折衷,折衷案
vt. 妥协处理,危

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inevitable [in'evitəbl]

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adj. 不可避免的,必然(发生)的

 


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