经济学人:加州税收——一塌糊涂
日期:2012-03-23 14:01

(单词翻译:单击)

THOMAS HOBBES famously described the original state of nature as bellum omnium contra omnes. California’s governor, Jerry Brown, who received a Jesuit education and likes to flaunt his classical learning, has of late been using the phrase to describe a war of all against all in the Golden State. It may be his undoing. To end California’s budget crisis, he wants to cut spending and raise revenues. And to do that, this being California, he must collect approximately 800,000 signatures to put a measure before voters on polling day in November. It now seems, however, that at least one other tax proposal will also share the ballot that day.
自然的初始状态就是一切人反对一切人的战争状态,这是霍布斯的著名论断。最近,曾受耶稣会教育并喜欢炫耀自己的古典学识的加州州长杰里•布郎引用了霍布斯的这句话来形容黄金州里一切人反对一切人的战争。这场战争可能会导致他失败。为了让加州摆脱预算危机,他想采取削减开支和增加财政收入的措施。而要在加州做这些事情,他就必须收集约八十万个签名,让他的提案能在11月的投票日参与投票。但如今看来,在投票那天至少会有另一份税收议案与之争夺选票。
Under California’s rules, if more than one measure on the same topic is approved at the ballot, the one with the largest number of votes prevails. It generally happens in such situations, though, that voters get confused and instinctively reject all the measures. This is why Mr Brown and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, often described as his consigliere, have been working desperately to keep all rival measures off the ballot. For instance, and regrettably, they persuaded a group proposing fundamental tax reform of the sort that California and America badly need to end its campaign.
根据加州法例,如果同一项议题有多于一份提案获得通过,有效的将是得票最多的那一份。然而在这种情况下经常会出现以下局面:投票者被不同的提案弄糊涂了,于是本能地拒绝所有提案。这就是杰里•布朗和其妻Anne Gust Brown(常被称为杰里的参谋)一直拼命不让其他提案参与投票的原因。例如,他们已说服一个提倡从根本上改革税收制度的团体结束其争取公投的活动。其实加州和美国都非常需要这种改革,实在是遗憾。


That victory was supposed to clear the path for Mr Brown’s own plan. This aimed to slightly raise sales taxes for four years and income taxes on the affluent for a period of five years. The additional revenue—$7 billion a year, on an optimistic calculation—would repair the overall budget and benefit schools in particular. By sprinkling but not soaking the rich, and by cutting spending as well as raising taxes, Mr Brown, a Democrat, was hoping to appear moderate and to win approval.
杰里•布朗本以为成功说服该团体应该会为自己的计划扫清障碍。他的计划是小幅上调营业税和富裕阶层的所得税,期限分别为四年和五年。由此,每年的财政收入将增加七十亿美元(据乐观估计),这样就能填补所有的预算漏洞,尤其是学校会有所得益。杰里•布郎这位民主党人希望,稍微提高富人税率但又不向其征收重税、增加税收的同时削减开支这些措施能使自己以温和派的形象示人,并获得支持。
Then the war began. It is a civil war, since the foes are liberals on Mr Brown’s own side. One group, the California Federation of Teachers, the state’s second-largest teachers’ union, pushed a millionaires’ tax. Taking its cues from the Occupy movement, it was aimed squarely at the rich. And, unlike Mr Brown’s measure, this one would raise their taxes permanently.
结果一切人反对一切人的战争却爆发了。这是场内战,因为敌人就是与杰里•布朗同一阵营的自由主义者。有一个团体提倡征收一项‘百万富翁’税,那就是加州第二大的教师联盟加州教师工会。从占领华尔街运动得到启发,他们的目标直指富裕阶层。而且与杰里•布朗的提案不同,他们的措施将长期增加税收。
The other campaign is more of a one-woman quest. Molly Munger is a rich civil-rights lawyer who, as a child, chose to leave her private school for a state one and now considers it her mission to save public education. She also happens to be the daughter of Warren Buffett’s partner at Berkshire Hathaway, Charles Munger. And she seems willing to spend however much it takes to win.
而为另一份提案拉票的活动则更像是一个女人在唱独角戏。莫莉•曼格,一位富有的民权律师,孩提时代选择离开私立学校去上州立学校。如今她视拯救公立教育为己任。恰好她也是查尔斯•曼格之女(查尔斯•曼格是沃伦•巴菲特在伯克希尔•克撒韦公司的搭档)。而且为了获胜,她似乎愿意不惜一切代价。
Ms Munger’s measure, Our Children, Our Future, would raise the most, $10 billion a year for 12 years. It would raise income taxes, but target not only the rich. And it would earmark most of the new revenue for schools.
莫莉•曼格的提案我们的孩子,我们的未来会在十二年内每年增加一百亿美元的税收,幅度是所有提案中最大的。它也会加征收入所得税,不过目标不仅限于富裕阶层。而且,这项提案会将大部分新增的财政收入投入到学校中。
On March 14th Mr Brown apparently reached a deal with the millionaires’ tax camp. Their new agreed proposal lessens Mr Brown’s proposed sales tax increase a bit, but raises income taxes on the affluent more than he wanted. But that still leaves two proposals on the table. The teachers unions may now be on Mr Brown’s side, but parents of schoolchildren, insofar as they are organised by the powerful parent-teacher association, are with Ms Munger’s. Voters seem bewildered, with different polls showing them favouring different permutations of the proposals on offer.
3月14日,杰里•布朗似乎与提议征收百万富翁税的阵营达成了一致。在他们最新商定的计划中,营业税的增幅比杰里•布朗提出的稍小,但富裕阶层收入所得税的增幅比杰里所希望的大。不过即便如此,仍会有两份提案参与投票。现在教师联盟可能已与杰里•布朗成为同盟,但在强大的家长老师协会的组织下,学生们的家长却与莫莉•曼格站在同一阵线上。投票者们似乎为此所困,在不同的民意调查里,参与投票的议案在他们心目中的排名竟有所不同。
This is exactly what Mr Brown keeps warning about. His wife supposedly berated Ms Munger. Mr Brown, though, was more diplomatic, visiting the rival teachers’ union boss at home and even letting his daughter interview him about animal euthanasia as part of her homework. But the other group of taxers are staying in the fight, while the anti-tax Republicans are grinning. As a Brown adviser puts it, speaking of fellow Democrats: Welcome to the circular firing squad.
这正是杰里•布朗一直以来告诫人们要警惕的事情。据说,其妻痛斥了莫莉•曼格。不过,杰里•布朗却更为老练,他登门拜访了其对手教师联盟的主席,并让主席的女儿采访他关于动物安乐死的问题,作为她作业的一部分。但另一个纳税人团体却坚持斗争,而反收税的共和党人则在一边冷笑。正如布朗的一位顾问在谈及民主党伙伴时所言:欢迎来到自相残杀的加州民主党。

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重点单词
  • calculationn. 计算
  • optimisticadj. 乐观的,乐观主义的
  • circularadj. 循环的,圆形的 n. 传单,通报
  • collectv. 收集,聚集 v. 推论 adv. 接收者付款
  • associationn. 联合,结合,交往,协会,社团,联想
  • reformv. 改革,改造,革新 n. 改革,改良
  • budgetn. 预算 vt. 编预算,为 ... 做预算 vi.
  • questn. 探索,寻求 v. 寻找,搜索
  • additionaladj. 附加的,另外的
  • slightlyadv. 些微地,苗条地