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美国政府停摆是一种经济自残行为【经济学人精讲】第209期

时间:2019-10-11 来源:笑哥聊影视娱乐

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第209期精讲

本文选自经济学人2019年1月17日文章。美国政府停摆已经一个多月,创下了历史记录。政府停摆虽不会动摇美国经济根本,但给美国民众造成不小困扰,同时也会降低美国经济增速,据预计,政府摆对经济增长的影响将达到每周0.1个百分点。

由于篇幅较长,本文节选原文标题和全文重点段落进行精讲,帮助大家提高英语阅读和写作能力。

01

英文原文

Snowing on the parade

America’s government shutdown is an act of economic self-harm

Its costs are mounting

Jan 17th 2019 | WASHINGTON, DC

BEER BREWERS are facing bottlenecks. Airline passengers are facing queues. Around 800,000 federal employees are not being paid. These are the casualties of America’s government shutdown, which began on December 21st and is now the longest on record. It shows few signs of ending; its costs are climbing.

Historically, such shutdowns seem barely to have budged the juggernaut that is the American economy. Economists at the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) estimated that the 16-day funding lapse in October 2013 lowered real GDP growth in that quarter by 0.3 percentage points. This time, as only around 40% of federal employees are affected, most estimates of the weekly impact are even smaller. Economists at Moody’s, a rating agency, reckon that for each week it continues, the dent to GDP growth will be 0.04 percentage points.

There are reasons to think that these numbers understate the impact of the shutdown. Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Trump administration’s Council of Economic Advisers, said on January 15th that after taking into account unpaid government contractors, his officials had recently doubled their estimates to a hit worth 0.1 percentage points per week. Congress has passed legislation to ensure that federal employees receive back pay. Although the government will have to pay its contractors (with interest) once the shutdown ends, in the past many of those companies did not pass the cash along to workers.

02

选文精读

Snowing on the parade 游行一路坎坷

America’s government shutdown is an act of economic self-harm

美国政府停摆是一种经济自残行为

Its costs are mounting 停摆的代价在不断攀升

  • mount: 上升(to increase in amount or intensity (often followed by up): The cost of all those small purchases mounts up.),可与 increase, grow, rise, escalate, soar, spiral, swell等词互换,这些词在外刊中都经常出现,需要记住。《纽约时报》一篇关于新西兰禁用华为5G技术建造基础设施的文章中有一句话:

    • [纽约时报例句]:The move follows a similar decision by Australia in August to bar Huawei from taking part in its 5G infrastructure rollout, as well as mounting warnings from the United States that the company’s ties to the Chinese government make its products vulnerable to snooping or interference — an accusation Huawei strongly denies.(from New Zealand Blocks Huawei, in Blow to Chinese Telecom Giant)在此举之前,澳大利亚在8月份已做出类似的决定,禁止华为参与其5G基础设施首展,同时,来自美国的警告也甚嚣尘上,声称该公司与中国政府的关系使其产品容易受到窃听或干扰——华为强烈否认该指控。这里make/leave... vulnerable to...使...易受...的攻击,外刊中经常出现,可仿照写作,例如:Gene-editing might leave you vulnerable to other diseases.基因编辑可能让你易受其它疾病的攻击。

  • 此外,mount还有安装的意思,例如,《经济学人》最近一篇关于中美在探月工程上要共享数据的文章中有一句话:

    • The CNSA said two foreign-made scientific instruments mounted on the Chang’e 4. 国家航天局表示,嫦娥四号搭载了两架国外制造的科学仪器。

BEER BREWERS are facing bottlenecks. Airline passengers are facing queues. Around 800,000 federal employees are not being paid. These are the casualties of America’s government shutdown, which began on December 21st and is now the longest on record. It shows few signs of ending; its costs are climbing.

  • bottleneck: bottle + neck, 瓶颈,障碍

  • casualty: 受害者;牺牲品,此外该词还有“n. 意外事故;伤亡人员;急诊室”的意思,该词在外刊中经常出现,需记住。

    • [经济学人例句]:Casualties could fan nationalist flames on either side and cause twitchy officers, or political leaders, to respond in ways that lead rapidly to disaster. (from "More worrying than a US-China trade war is the risk of a hot one")伤亡可能会在任何一方激起民族主义的火焰,紧张的官员或政治领导人可能以瞬间导致灾难的方式做出反应。在这里,"fan"是指“煽动、激起”的意思,twitchy: 紧张不安的,焦躁不安的。

  • climbing: 攀升,可与标题中的“mounting”互换,作文中要表达“增长”的意思,不仅可以使用“increasing / rising”,还可以使用“mounting/ climbing/ soaring/ escalating”,会显得更高级。

啤酒酿造商正面临困境,航空乘客们正排着长队,大约80万联邦政府员工没有领到工资,他们都是12月21日开始的美国政府停摆的受害者,这次停摆时间也创了历史记录,不过它还没有结束的迹象,其代价在不断攀升。

Historically, such shutdowns seem barely to have budged the juggernaut that is the American economy. Economists at the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) estimated that the 16-day funding lapse in October 2013 lowered real GDP growth in that quarter by 0.3 percentage points. This time, as only around 40% of federal employees are affected, most estimates of the weekly impact are even smaller. Economists at Moody’s, a rating agency, reckon that for each week it continues, the dent to GDP growth will be 0.04 percentage points.

  • budge: 移动(make or cause to make the slightest movement. eg. I couldn't budge the door),同义词:move/ shift/ dislodge;此外,该词还有妥协,让步的意思(change or make (someone) change an opinion. eg. neither bribe nor threat will budge him.

    • [华尔街日报例句]:Washington has refused to budge, pledging to maintain sanctions until Pyongyang’s complete denuclearization in accordance with the agreement between President Trump and Mr. Kim in Singapore last year. 华盛顿拒绝让步,发誓在平壤在按照去年特朗普和金正恩在新加坡达成的协议完成无核化之前,将继续实施制裁。

  • juggernaut: 强大的力量,世界主宰,这里指后面的“American economy”;此外,该词还有“重型货车”的意思,例如,在《经济学人》一篇讲到电动汽车的文章中就有一句:Much attention has been paid to battery-powered juggernauts. 电池驱动的重型货车受到了极大的关注。

    • [经济学人浓咖啡例句]:“Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba.” So assured China’s leading internet entrepreneur and head of a $420bn e-commerce juggernaut in announcing his succession plan. “阿里巴巴不再是马云的天下了,但马云永远属于阿里巴巴。”这位中国互联网企业家毫无争议的先驱、价值4200亿美元的电子商务巨头的掌门人宣布了自己的接班人计划。

  • lapse: 小错、过失,这里是“〔两个事件间的〕时间间隔”(an interval or passage of time.)的意思,与“interval/ gap/ pause/ intermission/ lull/ break” 同义。

  • dent: 削弱、减少(a weakening or lessening effect:eg. costs that have made a dent in the budget

从历史上看,类似的停摆几乎并没有动摇美国经济。美国经济分析局的经济学家估计,2013年10月为期16天的资金中断导致该季度实际GDP增长下降了0.3个百分点。这一次,由于只有大约40%的联邦政府员工受到影响,预计周影响会更小。评级机构穆迪的经济学家们估计,这种情况每持续一周,GDP增长将削弱0.04个百分点。

There are reasons to think that these numbers understate the impact of the shutdown. Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Trump administration’s Council of Economic Advisers, said on January 15th that after taking into account unpaid government contractors, his officials had recently doubled their estimates to a hit worth 0.1 percentage points per week. Congress has passed legislation to ensure that federal employees receive back pay. Although the government will have to pay its contractors (with interest) once the shutdown ends, in the past many of those companies did not pass the cash along to workers.

  • take into account: 把...考虑进去

  • government contractor: 政府承包人,指承包政府部分事务的外部承包商。

  • hit: hit是个非常好的小词,有很多意思,这里有“打击”的意思( striking or being struck.),意思是损失的估值会高出一倍,“worth 0.1 percentage points per week”,补充说明“hit”的具体达到了多少。此外,外刊也常用“hurt”来表示“造成不良影响”的意思,与之相对的反义词是“help”,"有利于、有助于",eg. The tax increases will certaily hit the poor.(= affect the poor, have a bad effect on the poor.);此外,英文中有很多 hit 和名词构成的口语表达,在这些表达中,hit 并不表示“击打”,而是和后面的名词构成不同的具体含义,在这里分享给大家:

    • hit the jackpot: 指“获得成功,尤其是赚了/赢了很多钱”。eg. They hit the jackpot when they bought the lottery ticket。在生活中,hit the jackpot是一个常用的表达方式,并不总是表达“中了大奖”,还可以表达一个人“得到了意想不到的好运”;

    • hit the road:并不是“打路”,而表示“上路”,比如你和朋友吃完饭,说“我们该走了”、“我们该上路了”,就可以说:let’s hit the road. 非常地道;

    • hit the light:并不是“打灯”,也不是脑袋撞到灯,而是“开灯”;

    • hit the sack:这里的sack 本意指“布袋子”,后来引申为睡袋和床的意思,hit the sack 并不是“打布袋子”,而是“睡觉、就寝”;

    • hit the books:用功读书,eg. I have an exam tomorrow, so I need to hit the books tonight.

  • pass... along to: 把...传给...: 这里指这些承包商公司并没有把拿到的钱给到工人,拖欠工人工资。

我们有理由认为,这些数字低估了政府停摆的影响。特朗普政府经济顾问委员会主席凯文·哈塞特在1月15日表示,如果把未支付的政府承包人计算在内的话,他们预计,政府停摆对经济增长的影响将达到每周0.1个百分点,会提高一倍。国会已经通过了一项法案,以确保联邦雇员获得拖欠工资。尽管一旦政府停摆结束,政府将不得不(连本带利)的付给承包商钱,但过去这些公司中有许多都没有将这些钱给工人。

 

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