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每日英語跟讀 Ep.873: Outrage Could Endanger the Economy 紓困引發民怨 恐危害美經濟

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

每日英語跟讀 Ep.873: Outrage Could Endanger the Economy

The United States economy is in free fall, with tens of millions of people unemployed and countless businesses at risk of collapse. Congress has already allocated nearly $3 trillion to contain the crisis, and it is widely understood that it will need to do more.

美國經濟處於自由落體狀態,數千萬人失業,無數企業面臨倒閉的危險。美國國會已撥出近3兆美元來遏制這場危機,但咸信這麼做還不夠。

Yet with stunning speed, the political conversation has pivoted from whatever-it-takes determination toward a different feeling: outrage.

然而,政治對話已以驚人速度從不惜一切的決心,轉向一種不同的感覺:憤怒。

Increasingly, lawmakers, media coverage and ordinary voters are focused not on preventing a potential depression, but on litigating which recipients of federal rescue are morally worthy and which are not.

愈來愈多國會議員、媒體報導與選民不再把關注重點置於防止潛在的經濟蕭條,而是置於爭論收受聯邦救助的對象在道德上哪些站得住腳,哪些則否。

For many on the political left, that has expressed itself as outrage at big corporations taking advantage of government rescues or cheap credit supplied by the Federal Reserve. On the right, it has included anger at federal government support for state and local governments, and at expanded unemployment insurance benefits supporting the jobless. For the news media, it has meant articles about rescue money going to arguably unworthy organizations like prep schools and steakhouse chains.

對許多左派人士來說,這自行表達了對大企業利用政府救助或聯準會所提供廉價貸款的憤怒。在右派方面,這包括了對聯邦政府支持州與地方政府,以及對擴大失業保險福利以支持失業者的憤怒。對新聞媒體來說,這意味著針對救助資金流向預備學校跟連鎖牛排館等顯然不適格組織所做報導。

In effect, a scramble is underway to define who counts as deserving of a piece of the multi-trillion dollar federal rescues. The risk is that this fuels a sense of scarcity, of zero-sum jockeying. It has the potential to limit the government’s response and suspend help to affected individuals, businesses and governments before the crisis is anywhere close to ending.

實際上,一場爭奪戰已然展開,以界定誰才夠資格從這數兆美元聯邦救助金中分得一杯羹。風險在於,這助長了稀缺感,即零和的競爭。在危機尚不知何時方能結束以際,這可能會限制政府的反應,並中斷對受影響個人、企業與政府的援助。

“My conservative friends don’t think states and cities deserve help,” said Tony Fratto, who worked in the George W. Bush White House and is now a partner at Hamilton Place Strategies. “My progressive friends think certain businesses don’t deserve help. And my libertarian friends don’t want anyone to get help.”

曾在小布希總統任內於白宮工作、現為漢密爾頓地方策略公司合夥人的法拉托說:「保守派朋友認為州跟城市不值得幫助。進步派朋友認為某些企業不值得幫助。自由派朋友則不希望任何人獲得幫助。」

“These are the seeds of long, slow, painful recoveries,” he said.

他說道:「這些都是讓復甦漫長、緩慢且痛苦的種子。」

In particular, there is an emerging tendency to apply a lens that made more sense in the 2008 global financial crisis and its aftermath: the idea of “moral hazard.” Economists use the term to refer to the bad incentives that are created when people or companies know they will be rescued from their mistakes.

尤其是現在出現一種新趨勢,即採用一種用於2008年全球金融危機及餘波時期更為合理的觀點:「道德風險」的概念。經濟學家使用該術語來指在人們或公司知道他們犯了錯卻能獲得救援的情形下,祭出的不良激勵措施。

In the last crisis, conservatives complained about mortgage relief for home buyers who had borrowed more than they could afford.

在上次危機中,保守派不滿超過自身承受能力貸款購房者獲得房貸減免。

The bank bailouts of that era involved huge moral hazard problems, in that the very financial institutions that had fueled a mortgage bubble were being protected from its full consequences.

那時對銀行的紓困涉及巨大的道德風險問題,因為獲得保護,使其免於承擔全部後果的金融機構,正是那些助長抵押貸款泡沫的禍首。

But arguments that similar concerns should apply in the COVID-19 crisis are less persuasive.

可是,類似顧慮也應適用於2019新型冠狀病毒疫情危機的論點,則較不具說服力。

But that crucial difference — that corporations are victims of the coronavirus, not the cause of it — is ignored by an emerging thread of commentary.

然而,企業是新冠疫情的受害者,而非造成疫情的原因這一關鍵差異,卻被一系列新興評論所忽視。

Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/353154/web/

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