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2020年翻译资格二级笔译备考试题九

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金钱政治暴露“美式民主”的虚伪面目(节选)

四、金钱政治后果恶劣

第一,金钱政治剥夺了普通民众的政治权利。尽管美国经常炫耀一人一票的美式民主,但美国低收入者的投票权实际上受到严苛限制。据《美国新闻与世界报道》披露,2010年至2015年,美国有21个州通过了限制投票权的新法律,有14个州在2016年总统选举中实施了限制投票权行使的新措施。这些法律和措施的主旨是阻止穷人登记投票。美国《新闻周刊》网站2017年11月21日报道,成千上万的美国人因贫穷而被剥夺了投票权。已有9个州通过立法,剥夺任何未付律师费或法院??钫叩耐镀比?。仅在亚拉巴马州,就有超过10万名欠费者被剔除出选民名单,约占该州选民人口的3%。这导致美国选举投票率降低。美国2014年中期选举的投票率为20世纪40年代以来的最低,全国的平均投票率仅为37%。

第二,政府官职成为富人和上层阶级的禁脔。按照美国政治惯例,获得选举胜利的候选人通?;岚岩恍┱僦敖鄙透切┭【儆泄θ耸?,其中就包括捐款大户和重要筹款人。美国历任总统上任后,都会任命一批金主当驻外大使。2000年总统选举后,政府中三分之一的新职位被胜选总统的亲友和金主接掌。2008年总统选举时支持胜选总统的556名“超级筹款人”中,三分之一的人都在时任政府内阁中获得职位或者成为顾问,其中筹款超过50万美元的筹款人有近80%都获得了重要职位??忌绻伦约捍砉际员奔浜涂际允奔涞幕?,可以 免费预约短信提醒,届时会以短信的方式提醒大家报名和考试时间。

第三,金钱政治明目张胆地向富人输送利益。政治献金带来的一个恶果是,少数富人拥有了比绝大多数人更大的影响力,导致政府政策图利富人、损害穷人利益。金钱影响立法和政府决策。富人通过竞选捐款和利益回报承诺俘获政客,使政客代表他们的利益立法。通过金钱选举产生的总统和政府,必定会在制定政策时向有钱人倾斜,或明或暗地向资本输送利益。这是一种变相的权钱交易。众所周知,2017年上任的共和党政府是富人政府。美国国会2017年通过的《减税与就业法案》,虽然有“减税”之名,但并非普遍减税,而只是给富人和大企业减税,穷人反而要加税。根据这个法案,一方面,富人家庭缴纳所得税的税率大幅降低,从39.6%降至35%,足足降低了4.6个百分点;另一方面,最贫穷家庭缴纳所得税的税率却从10%增加到12%。这个法案使最贫穷家庭遭受金钱损失,最富有家庭获得巨大收益。2017年底的盖洛普民调显示,56%的美国人反对这一税收改革法案,支持的只有29%。就企业税收而言,《减税与就业法案》把大型集团公司和上市企业等股份有限公司的所得税税率从35%下调至20%,降低了15个百分点,幅度很大,但受益企业仅占美国全部企业总数的8.6%。相反,占企业总数90%以上的个人独资企业和合伙企业等小企业却无法享受减税政策,需要根据合格经营所得征收个人所得税,允许抵扣20%收入,适用最高边际税率37%。金钱政治蚕食了社会平等,从根本上腐蚀了美国的社会公正。

第四,金钱政治增加解决紧迫政治社会问题的难度。在美国,枪支泛滥、枪支暴力是一个困扰社会多年的重大政治社会问题。校园枪杀案和公共场所枪杀案等大规模枪支暴力案件时有发生。美国每年有3万多人死于枪支造成的他杀、事故和自杀,有1万多人死于枪支暴力,有20多万人因枪击受伤。如果严格控制枪支,这些伤亡大多可以避免。但是,美国步枪协会等反对控枪的利益集团通过介入选举和进行游说成功地瓦解了控枪努力。这些利益集团为美国总统选举和国会选举提供大量政治捐款,仅2010年至2018年间就通过政治行动委员会捐款1.13亿美元。美国步枪协会是美国主要的反控枪组织,也是美国最有影响力的院外游说组织,每年运营经费高达2.5亿美元,竞选年份经费更多。由于投入大量金钱,以美国步枪协会为代表的美国反枪支管制利益集团取得了巨大成功,几乎封杀了所有控枪法案,使美国枪支管制更加宽松。

金钱政治暴露美国社会本质。美国一直标榜自己是民主和人权的“楷模”,要全世界都向它学习。但是,无所不在、根深蒂固的金钱政治彻底戳破了美国的谎言。美式民主是富人和资本家的民主,跟下层民众没有多少关系。美国宪法规定的民主权利,只有口袋里有足够多金钱的人才能享受。在金钱支配政治的美国,没有金钱,一切关于政治参与的议论都是空谈。金钱政治无情地碾压了“美式人权”。

4. Money politics brings serious consequences.

First, money politics deprives ordinary people of their political rights. Although the United States often shows off its “one person, one vote” US-style democracy, the reality is that the voting rights of low-income US citizens are severely restricted. As reported by U.S. News & World Report, from 2010 to 2015, 21 states in the United States formulated new laws restricting voting rights, and 14 states implemented new measures to restrict the exercise of voting rights in the 2016 presidential election. The main purpose of these laws and measures was to prevent the poor from registering to vote. As reported by the website of Newsweek on November 21, 2017, thousands of US citizens have been deprived of their voting rights because of poverty. Nine states in the United States have passed legislation depriving the citizens in arrears with attorney fees or court fines of the right to vote. In Alabama alone, more than 100,000 US citizens in arrears have been removed from the voter list, accounting for approximately three percent of the state’s voter population. This has led to a lower turnout in US elections. The turnout rate slumped to its lowest level since the 1940s during the 2014 US midterm election, where the national average turnout rate was only 37 percent.

Second, government posts have become exclusive for rich people and the upper class. According to the US political practices, after winning an election, the elected candidate will usually reward those persons who have made significant contributions to the election campaign, such as major donors and fundraisers, with government posts. After taking office, the newly elected US president will usually appoint a group of major donors as ambassadors. After the 2000 presidential election, one-third of the new positions in the government were taken over by relatives, friends, and major donors of the winning president. Among the 556 “super fundraisers” who supported the winning president in the 2008 presidential election campaign, one-third of them obtained government posts or became consultants in the then administration, and 80 percent of the fundraisers who raised more than $500,000 obtained important positions.

Third, money politics is blatantly delivering benefits to the rich. A negative consequence of political contributions is that the rich people, who are fewer in number, have greater influence than the vast majority of the people, leading to the formulation of government policies that benefit the rich and harm the interests of the poor. As money affects legislation and government decisions, the rich people can make politicians serve them through campaign donations and promises of the return of benefits and legislate on their behalf. The presidents and administrations elected with the help of money will definitely favor the rich when formulating policies, and they will openly or implicitly pass on benefits to the rich. This is a disguised transaction of money and power. It is a well-known fact that the Republican administration taking office in 2017 is an administration representing the rich class of the United States. The Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), adopted by the US Congress in 2017, claimed to reduce taxes, but it was not aimed to carry out an across-the-board tax cut. The FUTA has only cut taxes for the rich class and large corporations. It has even increased taxes for the poor people. Under the FUTA, the income tax rate for rich families has been greatly reduced from 39.6 percent to 35 percent, a significant reduction of 4.6 percentage points, and the income tax rate for the poorest families has been increased from 10 percent to 12 percent. That is how this Act has benefited the richest families while harming the economic interests of the poorest families. A Gallup poll conducted at the end of 2017 showed that 56 percent of US citizens surveyed opposed the FUTA, and only 29 percent supported it. As to corporate tax, the FUTA reduced the income tax rate of joint-stock companies, such as large corporations and listed companies, from 35 percent to 20 percent, a remarkable reduction of 15 percentage points. Nevertheless, only 8.6 percent of the US enterprises can benefit from this tax reduction policy, and about 90 percent of the US companies, which are small enterprises such as sole-proprietorship enterprises and partnership enterprises, cannot benefit from it. Under the FUTA, owners of these small enterprises may have to pay personal income tax at the top rate, which is 37 percent, and only 20 percent deduction can be calculated on their taxable income. Money politics erodes social equality and fundamentally undermines social justice in the United States.

Fourth, money politics makes it more difficult for the United States to solve its pressing political and social problems. In the United States, the proliferation of guns and gun violence are major political and social problems, which have plagued US society for many years. Mass shooting incidents in schools and other public places frequently occur. Every year in the United States, more than 30,000 people die from homicides, accidents, and suicides caused by guns; more than 10,000 people die from gun violence; and more than 200,000 people are injured by guns. Most of these deaths and injuries would have been avoided if guns had been strictly controlled during these years. Nevertheless, interest groups such as the National Rifle Association of America (NRA), who oppose gun control, have successfully disrupted the governmental gun control efforts by participating in elections and lobbying. These interest groups have made significant political contributions to the US presidential and congressional elections. They donated $113 million through PACs between 2010 and 2018 alone. The NRA is the main anti-gun control organization in the United States and the most influential outside lobbying organization in the country. Its annual operating expenses are as high as $250 million, and this number will increase in a campaign year. Due to the large amount of money they have invested, the anti-gun control interest groups represented by the NRA have achieved great success and thwarted nearly all the gun control bills, further relaxing US gun control.

Money politics exposes the nature of US society and the lies of the United States when it is praising itself as the best example of exercising democracy and safeguarding human rights for the world. “US-style democracy” is the democracy of the rich people and the capitalists. It seldom benefits the lower classes of US society. The democratic rights stipulated in the US Constitution can only be enjoyed by the people who have enough money in their pockets. In the United States, where money governs politics, political participation and discussions can never be actualized without the help of money. Money politics has ruthlessly crushed “US-style democracy”.

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