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2016考研英语阅读题源经济学人文章:预算趣录

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2015-09-10 10:26:36

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  每年考研英语阅读篇章很多都取材于经济学人,因此随着2016年考研越来越近,建议考生们多读一些阅读理解出处的文章,提升阅读能力!

  2016考研英语阅读题源经济学人文章:预算趣录

  Fun on a budget

  预算趣录

  Congress is incapable of restraining spending. Itshould let the president try

  国会无力控制开支,也许该放手让总统一试

  AT THE end of Barack Obama's budget, which waspublished on February 2nd, the administration thanks 614 people by name for putting thething together. It adds that “hundreds, perhaps thousands” of nameless others also helped.There is something depressing about the effort that went into producing the document. Thebudget is an admirable piece of work which contains many good ideas, from cuts in farmsubsidies to an increase in tax credits for childless workers. There is, however, a grammaticalmistake repeated throughout it. “The budget will”, the president writes, when what he means isthat his budget would, in the unlikely event that Congress were ever to pass it.

  奥巴马总统的财政年度预算于2月2日公布,在预算案的最后,政府向614人致谢,感谢他们为预算案形成所作出的贡献。它也指出“成百甚至上万的无名之士同样做出了贡献”。但为文件形成所付出的努力中,有一些让人沮丧的部分。从削减农产品补助到增加对无子工人的免税额度,该份预算案包含了许多好想法,堪称一项壮举。但却有一个语法错误贯穿始终。总统写道“预算案将……”,但其实,他是想说,预算案幻想,因为国会绝不会通过该项议案。

  As a guide to what the federal government might look like if America were a monarchy, or as acompendium of interesting policies, the president's budget is a good read—but not muchmore. A similar criticism applies to most proposals that come out of the budget committees inCongress. This is because no group or individual is responsible for the 4 trillion federal budget,a fact that helps explain how it manages to be both profligate and stingy, and is forever in thered.

  如果这项议案是作为一本指南,描述美国如果是一个君主制国家将会如何,或者是一本大纲,介绍有趣的政策,那这会是一本佳作,但这项议案的功能,仅此而已。国会的预算委员会出台的提案,也大多如此。这是因为没有任何团体或个人直接对四万亿的联邦预算负责,这个事实也说明了为什么政府既挥霍无度又吝啬小气,而且长期处于赤字。

  The president's budget would not change that. He has declared an end to “mindlessausterity”, but does not seem to care much for the thoughtful sort either. In previousbudgets he offered to trim entitlements a bit in return for tax increases. Republicans inCongress rejected this, and Democrats who supported the president's budget were rewardedwith attack adverts in the mid-terms claiming that they wanted to raise the retirement age andslash Medicare. He now proposes higher taxes, more spending and continued deficits. Publicdebt would stay at its current level, around 75% of GDP, for the next decade. By 2025,according to the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, annual interestpayments would rise from 1.3% to 2.8% of GDP (nearly 800 billion, or enough to pay a year'stuition at Harvard, at current prices and with no financial aid, for 18m students).

  奥巴马总统的预算案亦不能扭转乾坤。他叫停了“愚蠢的紧缩”,但却似乎也不想做出什么深思熟虑的安排。在之前的预算案中,他提议削减福利开支开增加税收。国会中的共和党对此表示反对,而支持预算案的民主党人所得到的回报,是在中期选举时,他们受到负面宣传的攻击,称他们想要提高退休年龄并削减医疗保险。如今,总统提议提高进一步提高税率,增加开支,继续赤字局面。在接下来的十年,国债继续保持在国民生产总值的75%左右,基本不变。据两党共同参与的尽责联邦预算委员会,在2025年之前,利息在国民生产总值中所占的比例将从1.3%上升到2.8%,约8000亿美元,按照当前物价水平,在不考虑任何助学金的情况下,足够为1800万学生支付哈佛大学一年的学费。

  Mr Obama's tax-and-spend priorities may be regrettable but they matter little in practice,because no president really controls how much his administration spends. The president'sbudget was an innovation of the 1920s. Before then, Congress set the budget as theFounders, ever suspicious of a strong central authority, intended. This worked well until thecivil war, when the federal government's principal peacetime duties were to run customs housesand post offices and to give away land. By the beginning of the 20th century the federalgovernment had become much more complicated. The first world war increased federalspending from 726m to 18.5 billion in five years (17.2 billion and 253 billion in today's money.)In 1921 an overwhelmed Congress asked the president to submit a budget for the first time.

  奥巴马一直增加税收来为政府开支买单也许可悲可叹,但它的实际意义其实有限,这是因为没有任何一届美国总统,能够真正决定自己政府的开支。奥巴马总统的预算案也不过是上世纪20年代预算案的一次翻新。在此之前,国会的预算案一直与对强有力中央集权心存疑虑的开国者的设计保持一致。在内战之前,这一直运行良好,但内战之后,联邦政府在和平时代的要务开始变成经营海关邮局及分发土地。20世纪处,联邦政府的职能变得更加复杂起来。一战让国家的开支在五年时间里从7,2600万美元增加到1850亿美元(按照如今的通胀水平,分别是172亿美元和2530亿美元)。1921年,不知所措的国会首次要求总统递交预算案。

  Since then every president has done so, but the exercise has become drained of meaning sinceCongress took power over the budget back. This evil can be traced to Watergate. RichardNixon, worried about inflation and the deficit, decided not to spend all the money Congresshad appropriated. At one point he vetoed nine spending bills in one go. Congress tookadvantage of the scandal that was enveloping the president to reduce his control over federalspending in the 1974 Budget Act. Nixon duly signed the law in July and resigned the followingmonth.

  自那以后,历届总统都开始递交预算案,但从国会开始重掌预算后,这一举措已经失去了意义。祸根应该说是在水门时代埋下的。理查德·尼克松因担心通货膨胀和财政赤字,决定不把国会批准的资金支出一空。他对开支议案的否决率一度达到90%。在《1974年国会预算法案》中,国会利用总统的丑闻,减少了他对国家开支的控制权。7月份,尼克松总统尽责地签署了这一法案后,8月即辞去总统职务。

  One of the new law's stated aims was to control the deficit, but it has had the opposite effect.From 1950 to 1974 the deficit averaged 0.7% of GDP; since Congress retook control it hasaveraged 3.2%. Part of the problem is that the budget Congress comes up with only covers afraction of what the federal government actually spends. Over 1 trillion of tax expenditures—rebates on anything from mortgage-interest payments to health-insurance plans providedby companies for employees—are excluded. Another 2 trillion is off-limits because it is classifiedas mandatory spending. The staggering sums pumped into entitlement programmes (SocialSecurity, Medicare and Medicaid) increase every year on the accounting equivalent of cruisecontrol, with no need for a vote. Since the youngest of the baby-boomers are now in theirearly 50s, and since no politician would dare touch the benefits of those close to retirement,America's biggest generation has now protected itself from cuts to Social Security.

  这项新法案的其中一个明确目标就是控制财政赤字,但它却起到了反效果。从1950年到1974年,赤字水平平均约为国民生产总值的0.7%,国会掌权后,这一数字上升到平均3.2%。原因之一在于国会提出的预算案仅仅涵盖了政府实际支出的小部分。高达一万亿的税式支出,不管是按揭利率还是公司为雇员购买健康保险计划所带来的退税,都无法被预算所涵盖。但另有两万亿的支出却因为被归类为法定支出而无上限。数目惊人的资金有如被自动控速系统控制般,每年强力注入福利项目(社保、医疗保险和医疗补助等)的资金年年增加,连投票的必要都省去了。出生于二战后生育高峰的人们现在均50岁出头,所有的政客都不敢触及他们的退休等利益,美国人数最庞大一代才得以逃过社保被削减的命运。

  Bring back Dick

  总统归来

  As entitlement spending has risen, it has squeezed the other bits of the budget. What remainsis just over 1 trillion in discretionary spending: 6.5% of GDP, or less than a third of the totalspent by the federal government. This is up for discussion every year. The resultingcompromise is known as the budget, but that gives an inflated sense of what it really is.

  随着福利开支的增加,预算案中的其他开支项变得紧张起来。除掉福利开支,可自由支配的开支仅有一万亿美元,约为国民生产总值的6.5%,不到政府开支总额的三分之一。每年,这个问题都被反复讨论。随之而来的妥协就是所谓的预算案,但预算案的实际意义是被夸大的。

  According to textbooks the budget is a thing jointly agreed by both houses of Congress andthen signed by the president by the end of September each year. This is how the budget hasworked six times in the past 40 years. The rest of the time it has often consisted of last-minutenegotiations to avoid a government shutdown or a breach of the debt ceiling. Agreement isreached only by putting off difficult decisions indefinitely. Attempts by well-intentioned super-committees and gangs of congressmen to get to something more thoughtful have come tonothing. This failure to steer the budget has been bipartisan. Since 1974 the federalgovernment has run a deficit in all but four years, 1998-2001. Now that both the House andthe Senate are controlled by Republicans the budget should be more orderly, but theprocess must be made to work when Congress is divided.

  在过去40年间,生效6次的预算案的标准定义是,由国会两院通过,由总统在每年九月末签署的文件。在其他的年间,预算案经常还包括为避免政府停摆或突破债务上限而在最后一刻达成的协商部分。另外,要达成共识,必须要无期限地延后艰难决定的做出。用意良好的超级委员或国会议员们每一次试图达成更深谋远虑的目标,均无果而终。预算案难以改变的结局是由两党共同造成的。自1974年开始,只有1998到2001四年间,联邦政府不是以赤字交卷的。如今既然参众两院都由共和党掌权,预算应该更加有序,但这一过程必须要等到国会被分成两派后才行得通。

  One solution would be to forgive Nixon and hand back some authority to the executive.Another would be to make the president's budget the default one unless Congress can agree,by a simple majority, on something else. That would stop the proliferation of no-compromisebudgets, and would make a president content with a budget forever in deficit a figure from thepast.

  解决方案之一是宽恕尼克松总统的错误,将部分权力还给执政者。另一个解决方案是除非国会能以简单的多数达成共识,否则就不实行总统的预算案。这能够防止不不妥协不让步预算案影响力的扩散,并且这样一个按照过去标准,永远是赤字的预算标准,也能够让总统感到满意。

  1.apply to 适用于;运用

  Find out ahead of time what regulations apply toyour situation.

  提前搞清楚什么规章适用于你的情况。

  Similar arrangements apply to students who areordinarily resident in Scotland.

  类似的安排适用于长期居住在苏格兰的学生。

  2.responsible for 为…负责,是造成…的原因

  I feel partly responsible for the problems we're in.

  我觉得应为我们遭遇的问题负部分责任。

  Ludlam was responsible for making Ridiculous Theatre something of a cult.

  荒诞派戏剧的风靡要归功于勒德拉姆。

  3.seem to 看起来

  My sight is failing, and I can't see to read any more.

  我的视力在下降,看不了书了。

  Leave it up to me. I'll see to it.

  交给我吧, 我会负责的。

  4.financial aid 财政援助

  The country has no access to foreign loans or financial aid.

  该国得不到任何外国贷款或经济援助。

  We are moving ahead with plans to send financial aid.

  我们提供财政援助的计划进展顺利。

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