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[克魯曼專欄] 我們代表99.9% 原文載於(2011/11/25)

作者:首領八奇│2011-12-01 12:16:39│巴幣:2│人氣:162
前幾天生病了停了一陣子...Orz




We Are the 99.9% 我們代表99.9% (2011/11/25)


“We are the 99 percent” is a great slogan. It correctly defines the issue as being the middle class versus the elite (as opposed to the middle class versus the poor). And it also gets past the common but wrong establishment notion that rising inequality is mainly about the well educated doing better than the less educated; the big winners in this new Gilded Age have been a handful of very wealthy people, not college graduates in general.


「我們代表99%」是句超棒的口號,明白定義出這是中產階級對菁英階級(相反就是中產階級對貧窮階級)的議題,同時也化解了長久以來的錯誤觀念,以為攀升的不平等主要是有無接受良好教育的分別。大致上新鍍金世代的大贏家是一小群大富大貴的人,而不是大學畢業生。


If anything, however, the 99 percent slogan aims too low. A large fraction of the top 1 percent’s gains have actually gone to an even smaller group, the top 0.1 percent — the richest one-thousandth of the population.


不過嚴格來說,口號的99%設的有點低,大部分的利益成長是流向1%中更小一群人,就是0.1%─最富有的千分之一。


And while Democrats, by and large, want that super-elite to make at least some contribution to long-term deficit reduction, Republicans want to cut the super-elite’s taxes even as they slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in the name of fiscal discipline.


大致看來,目前民主黨要求這些超級菁英能為降低長期赤字多少盡點心力,而共和黨卻打算減免超級精英的稅,同時打著財政紀律的口號大砍社福預算、聯邦醫療保險以及醫療補助。


Before I get to those policy disputes, here are a few numbers.


在我爭論這些政策之前,我們先來看些數字。


The recent Congressional Budget Office report on inequality didn’t look inside the top 1 percent, but an earlier report, which only went up to 2005, did. According to that report, between 1979 and 2005 the inflation-adjusted, after-tax income of Americans in the middle of the income distribution rose 21 percent. The equivalent number for the richest 0.1 percent rose 400 percent.


最近國會預算辦公室針對不平等發表的報告,並沒有仔細檢視最高的1%,不過根據稍早2005年的報告,從1979到2005年,美國中產階級的稅後所得分配經過通膨調整後成長了21%,而那最富有0.1%階層收入分配則成長了400%。


For the most part, these huge gains reflected a dramatic rise in the super-elite’s share of pretax income. But there were also large tax cuts favoring the wealthy. In particular, taxes on capital gains are much lower than they were in 1979 — and the richest one-thousandth of Americans account for half of all income from capital gains.


巨額所得增長代表超級菁英的稅前所得劇增,而且還有偏袒富人的減稅,另外現今資本利得稅也比1979年時來的低,而那千分之一美國人的資產有超過一半是來自資本利得。


Given this history, why do Republicans advocate further tax cuts for the very rich even as they warn about deficits and demand drastic cuts in social insurance programs?


既然如此,為何共和黨還邊鼓吹要替巨富減稅,又大聲警告赤字,劇幅縮減社會保險制度的預算呢?


Well, aside from shouts of “class warfare!” whenever such questions are raised, the usual answer is that the super-elite are “job creators” — that is, that they make a special contribution to the economy. So what you need to know is that this is bad economics. In fact, it would be bad economics even if America had the idealized, perfect market economy of conservative fantasies.


先撇開「這是階級戰爭!」這類每次提起這問題都會冒出的吶喊,通常得到的回應超級精英創造就業機會,也就是說對經濟具有特殊貢獻。要知道這不是好的理由,就算美國擁有保守派夢想中的完美市場,也依然不是好理由。


After all, in an idealized market economy each worker would be paid exactly what he or she contributes to the economy by choosing to work, no more and no less. And this would be equally true for workers making $30,000 a year and executives making $30 million a year. There would be no reason to consider the contributions of the $30 million folks as deserving of special treatment.


在完美市場狀態內工作的員工,所得的薪資正好等於他透過工作對經濟所做出的貢獻度,不會多也不會少。基於同樣的道理,工人年收入是三萬美元,執行長年收入是三千萬美元。沒理由認為年收入三千萬美元的人比較有貢獻,值得擁有特殊待遇。


But, you say, the rich pay taxes! Indeed, they do. And they could — and should, from the point of view of the 99.9 percent — be paying substantially more in taxes, not offered even more tax breaks, despite the alleged budget crisis, because of the wonderful things they supposedly do.


可能有人會說「但是富人要繳稅!」沒錯,確實如此。不過富人可以,也應該(從99.9%的人的角度來看)繳交更多的稅,而不是在聲稱有預算危機的情形下還幫富人減稅,只因為他們似乎有做一些很美好的事情。


Still, don’t some of the very rich get that way by producing innovations that are worth far more to the world than the income they receive? Sure, but if you look at who really makes up the 0.1 percent, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that, by and large, the members of the super-elite are overpaid, not underpaid, for what they do.


僅管如此,有些巨富替世界帶來重大革新,難道他們不該得到除了收入以外更多的東西嗎?當然可以,不過若仔細檢視這0.1%的成員,一般來說很難不得到一個結論,就是根據這群超級精英的所作所為,他們的薪水不僅沒有受到虧待,反而還過分高估了。


For who are the 0.1 percent? Very few of them are Steve Jobs-type innovators; most of them are corporate bigwigs and financial wheeler-dealers. One recent analysis found that 43 percent of the super-elite are executives at nonfinancial companies, 18 percent are in finance and another 12 percent are lawyers or in real estate. And these are not, to put it mildly, professions in which there is a clear relationship between someone’s income and his economic contribution.


究竟誰是這0.1%?只有一小部分的人是像賈伯斯那樣的革新家,大部分的人是企業大亨和金融炒手。一份最近的分析指出超級精英中43%是非金融公司的主管,18%是金融公司主管,還有12%得人是律師或是房地產業。委婉來說這群人的職業裡,所得和經濟貢獻度的關聯似乎沒有那麼分明。


Executive pay, which has skyrocketed over the past generation, is famously set by boards of directors appointed by the very people whose pay they determine; poorly performing C.E.O.’s still get lavish paychecks, and even failed and fired executives often receive millions as they go out the door.


主管薪資在上個世代一飛沖天。主管薪資高低是由董事會所決定,可是董事會的成員卻正好又是這些主管所指派的。因此表現差勁的執行長還是得到豐厚的薪資,甚至徹底失敗以及被開除的主管常常都可以在離開前先領走數百萬美元。


Meanwhile, the economic crisis showed that much of the apparent value created by modern finance was a mirage. As the Bank of England’s director for financial stability recently put it, seemingly high returns before the crisis simply reflected increased risk-taking — risk that was mostly borne not by the wheeler-dealers themselves but either by naïve investors or by taxpayers, who ended up holding the bag when it all went wrong. And as he waspishly noted, “If risk-making were a value-adding activity, Russian roulette players would contribute disproportionately to global welfare.”


還有這次的金融危機顯示,很多現代金融創造出來,看起來很有價值的資產不過是海市蜃樓。一如英格蘭銀行總裁為了穩定金融所說的,危機前的高收益只是反應出了不斷增加的高投機風險,而且出差錯的代價幾乎不是由金融炒手所承擔,而是由天真的投資者與納稅人全數負責。另外總裁又很刻薄的註明了「如果投機行為真的具有附加價值,那俄羅斯羅盤的玩家一定給全球貢獻超大的福利了。」


So should the 99.9 percent hate the 0.1 percent? No, not at all. But they should ignore all the propaganda about “job creators” and demand that the super-elite pay substantially more in taxes.


所以99.9%的人該痛恨0.1%的人囉?當然不是,不過前者應該要無視什麼「創造就業」之類的宣傳,並要求這些超級精英繳交更多的稅金。



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首領八奇
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