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经济学人:奥巴马的非正式时间

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THE difference between Barack Obama, leader and Barack Obama, campaigner is in the sleeves. When Mr Obama speaks as the president—sober, calm, head of a nation—he tends to encase them in a suit jacket. When he speaks as a candidate—fiery, enthusiastic, figurehead of a party—he loses the jacket and rolls up his shirtsleeves. One might expect him to deliver a speech on economic policy besuited. But for his barnburner on April 10th, during which he urged Congress to pass the Buffett rule, it was bare forearms start to finish.

总统奥巴马与竞选人奥巴马这两个头衔的区别就在于衬衫袖的不同。当奥巴马作为国家元首时,他身着单件西装,集沉着冷静于一身。而当他作为党派领袖以候选人的身份讲话时,他激情四射——此时他就褪去西装并挽起衬衫袖子。别人还以为他会西装笔挺地进行经济政策的演说,然而他在4月10日发表的激动人心的演说中敦促国会通过“巴菲特规则”时,自始至终都是挽着袖子,裸露着前臂。
The Buffett rule is named after Warren Buffett, who believes it is unfair that his secretary, who makes far less than he does, pays tax at a higher marginal rate. One version, the Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012, is scheduled by Senate Democrats for a procedural vote on April 16th—as it happens, a day before federal income-tax returns must be filed. The rule aims to ensure that people earning more than $1m a year pay tax at an effective rate of 30%.
巴菲特规则是以涡沃伦·巴菲特命名的。作为亿万富翁的巴菲特,认为自己缴税的税率还不如手下的秘书多,尽管秘书比他挣得少多了(巴菲特缴税的税率约为15%,而其秘书缴纳的税率则为30%)。 一种说法称,2012年的公平分配收入法案是参议院民主党为了4月16日的程序性投票表决所安排的,而表决次日正是联邦所得税申报表的归档日期。这项规则旨在保证年收入超过1百万美元的富人缴纳30%的所得税。
Many do not. A report issued by the White House a day ahead of Mr Obama’s speech found that in 2009, 22,000 households earning more than $1m paid less than 15% of their income in taxes, and 1,470 households paidno federal income tax at all. Since around 1980, average tax rates of the top 1% of American earners have fallen as their incomes have risen. Small wonder that the president proposed the Buffett rule, as Jason Furman, deputy director of the National Economic Council put it, “as a basic principle of tax fairness”.
许多富人都没做到这点。在奥巴马总统发表演讲的前一天,一项由白宫发布的报告显示2009年2.2万个家庭收入超过1百万而仅缴纳不到15%的所得税,而1470个家庭干脆没有缴纳联邦所得税。自大约1980年以来,美国1%的富人阶层的收入增多了,但平均税率却降低了。只有少数人怀疑总统力挺巴菲特规则的动机,就像国际经济委员会的会长杰森·费曼说的:这是保持公平税收的基本准则。
Alan Viard, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank, describes the bill far less sexily: “It boils down to a partial rollback of the preferential rate for long-term capital gains.” Millionaires will retain their deductions for charitable donations, and those who already pay more than 30%—earning their millions in a payroll job, say, rather than through tax-advantaged investment—will generally be unaffected.
美国企业研究会的一名经济学家艾兰·维亚德是一个保守的智囊团,该法案在他眼中可远没有这么大的魅力:“它归结起来就是长期资本收益优惠税率的部分回落。”百万富翁都会继续进行慈善捐款活动,以少缴些税款,而那些年收入过百万且已缴纳超过30%所得税的人表示:通过优惠税率的投资,他们基本上就不会受到什么影响。
Paul Ryan, a Republican congressman from Wisconsin who is emerging as Mr Obama’s foil on economic matters, complained that “people think the Buffett rule is sort of budget pixie-dust” that is “going to fix our fiscal problems”, when in fact it is forecast to raise around $47 billion in ten years, according to congressional estimates: a drop in the proverbial bucket compared with both current deficit levels and projected spending levels over that period. Republicans are also quick to point out that the question of fairness cuts both ways. The top 1% of earners already pay 40% of federal income taxes, while nearly half of all Americans pay no federal income taxes at all. Orrin Hatch, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, dinged the bill for “being designed for no other reason than politics.”
来自威斯康星洲的共和党议员保罗·瑞恩在奥巴马面临经济事务上的挫败时开始显露头角。他抱怨道:人们认为巴菲特规则是解决我们财政问题的某种有魔力的“预算仙尘”。实际上,根据国会估计,十年内预计筹集到的470亿美元税款,与当前的赤字水平和预计的支出水平相比都是微不足道的。1%的富人阶层已经缴纳40%的联邦所得税了,而近一半的美国国民却根本不交联邦税。参议院财政委员会的头等共和党成员奥林·哈奇反复强调此法案“不过是政治手段”。
But politics is now the point. With Rick Santorum’s exit from the Republican race, the general-election season has arrived. Scott Hodge, who heads the right-leaning Tax Foundation, calls the Buffett rule “a bludgeon to hit Mitt Romney with”. Indeed it is. When Mr Obama talks about millionaires using accountants, lawyers and tax-advantaged investments to lower their tax rates, he is talking about Mr Romney—whose net worth is around $200m, and who in the past two years made $42.6m, mostly from capital gains, and paid around 15% of his income in taxes.
但目前政治就是关键。里克·桑多伦姆退出了共和党竞选后,大选赛季就来临了。右倾税务基金会首席官员斯科特·霍奇称巴菲特规则是“用来打击米特·罗姆尼的当头一棒”。它也的确如此。当奥巴马谈及百万富翁雇佣专业会计师、律师并利用优惠税率的投资使自己缴最低的税款时,他其实时在暗指罗姆尼——他的资本净值大约是2亿美元,在过去两年中他赚取的4.26千万美元大部分来自资本收益,而他只缴纳了约15%的所得税。

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hatch [hætʃ]

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n. 孵化,舱口
vt. 孵,孵出

 
current ['kʌrənt]

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n. (水、气、电)流,趋势
adj. 流通的

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hatch [hætʃ]

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n. 孵化,舱口
vt. 孵,孵出

 
charitable ['tʃæritəbl]

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adj. 仁慈的,(为)慈善事业的,宽恕的

 
effective [i'fektiv]

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adj. 有效的,有影响的

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candidate ['kændidit]

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n. 候选人,求职者

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foundation [faun'deiʃən]

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n. 基础,根据,建立
n. 粉底霜,基

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foil [fɔil]

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n. 箔,箔纸,陪衬物,(击剑运动用的)花剑, 钝头剑<

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conservative [kən'sə:vətiv]

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adj. 保守的,守旧的
n. 保守派(党),

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fiscal ['fiskəl]

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adj. 财政的,国库的

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