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        貧富分化導致美國人權問題日益嚴重(2)(中英對照)

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        Part 3 The Division Between the Rich and the Poor Remaining a Difficult Problem to Solve in the United States

        三、美國的貧富分化問題難以解決

        The causes of the division between the rich and the poor in the United States are not something occasional or periodic. The so-called US democratic system deprives its citizens of economic, social, and cultural rights, leading to a growing gap between the rich and the poor and the long-unsolved problem of poverty that affects tens of millions of people.

        導致美國貧富分化的原因并非是偶然性或周期性的,美國的所謂民主制度忽視公民的經濟、社會和文化權利,導致美國社會貧富分化問題日趨嚴重,數千萬人口的貧困問題長期得不到解決。

        (1) Structural Causes Leading to the Division Between the Rich and the Poor

        (一)導致貧富分化的結構性原因

        First, disorderly competition in the capital market and hostile takeovers have resulted in fewer middle-income jobs in the United States. The Gallup website reported on September 20, 2016, that high-priced acquisitions of rival businesses resulted in a significant reduction in middle-income jobs, and that in the recent 20 years, the number of companies listed on the American stock exchanges had plummeted from 7,300 to about 3,700, and bankrupted small businesses had significantly outnumbered newly-established ones in recent years. The website of the British newspaper The Guardian reported on December 8, 2017, that in 2017, the unemployment rate of young US citizens was as high as 15.9 percent and that due to insufficient full-time jobs, about 4.8 million people who wanted to work full-time jobs could only engage in part-time jobs.

        第一,資本市場的無序競爭和惡意收購導致中等收入工作崗位減少。蓋洛普公司網站2016年9月20日報道,企業高價收購競爭對手導致中等收入工作崗位大幅度減少。此前的20年間,美國證券交易所上市公司的數量已經從約7300家銳減為3700家左右。美國近年來小企業的破產數量大于新成立的數量。英國《衛報》網站2017年12月8日報道,2017年美國年輕人的失業率高達15.9%。全職就業崗位不足,約有480萬想做全職工作的人只能從事非全職工作。

        Second, the structural rise in housing prices has made housing more unaffordable for low-income people in the United States. In 2018, the National Association of Realtors of the United States conducted a survey on home buyers and found that due to rising housing prices and interest rates, housing affordability declined and house purchasing was no longer an easy decision for home buyers. “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2018” released by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies showed that in 20 urban areas, more than 30 percent of middle-class households spent at least 30 percent of their incomes on housing. The website of The Washington Post reported on August 6, 2018, that poor urban residents had experienced sharp increases in rent in recent years. According to the report, since 2011, the nation’s minimum rent has increased by 18 percent, and it is particularly noteworthy that since the summer of 2017, in San Francisco, Atlanta, Nashville, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver, Pittsburgh, Washington, Portland, Oregon, and other places, the rent for the high-income group has fallen, while the rent for the poorest group has risen.

        第二,住房價格的結構性上升導致低收入人群住房更加困難。美國全國房地產經紀人協會2018年對購房者進行的一項調查顯示,由于住房價格上漲和利率上升,而負擔能力下降,導致是否購房成為民眾日益艱難的抉擇。哈佛大學住房研究聯合中心發布的《2018年美國住房狀況》報告顯示,在20個城市地區,超過30%的中產階層家庭將他們至少30%的收入用于住房?!度A盛頓郵報》網站2018年8月6日報道,城市貧窮居民近年來經歷了房租的大幅上漲。自2011年以來,全國的最低房租增長了18%。特別值得關注的是,2017年夏季以來,在舊金山、亞特蘭大、納什維爾、芝加哥、費城、丹佛、匹茲堡、華盛頓、波特蘭、俄勒岡州等地區,最高收入者的房租在下降,而最貧窮者的房租卻在上漲。

        Third, due to the high-priced, inefficient medical services, the health conditions of low-income US people have deteriorated. The deteriorating health conditions of the US people are closely related to the high-priced, inefficient US medical system. According to a survey on medical service systems conducted by the Commonwealth Foundation in 2014, among the 11 countries at the same developmental level, the United States had the least efficient, least productive, and most unfair medical service system, it also had the highest mortality rate and infant mortality rate, and its citizens aged 60 had the worst health conditions. Besides this, the survey also showed that US citizens paid twice as much for medical services as those living in the other 10 countries did. The website of the British newspaper The Guardian reported on November 13, 2017, that medical costs and medical insurance in the United States were becoming increasingly expensive, especially those for the treatment of chronic diseases, and the prices of medicines treating asthma or cancer continued to hit record highs.

        第三,高價低效的醫療服務導致低收入人群健康狀況堪憂。美國民眾健康狀況下降與美國醫療系統的高價低效密切相關。根據英聯邦基金會2014年對醫療服務體系的調查,在11個同水平國家中,美國的醫療服務體系效率最低,最不公平,醫療產出最差。美國的死亡率和嬰兒死亡率均為最高,60歲人群的健康狀況最差。但與在上述其他國家生活的人相比,美國人卻要負擔兩倍以上的醫療費用。英國《衛報》網站2017年11月13日報道,美國的醫療費用和醫療保險越來越貴,尤其是慢性疾病的治療費用,從哮喘到癌癥的藥物價格不斷創出歷史新高。

        Fourth, the rising cost of higher education has deprived low-income groups of their opportunities to receive higher education in the United States. The Gallup website reported on August 3, 2017, that since 1980, there had been no measurable indicators showing any improvement in the quality of higher education in the United States, but the prices for higher education had increased rapidly. The Forbes website reported on February 21, 2017, that student loan debts had become the type of consumer debts second only to mortgage debt, outnumbering the total of credit cards and car loans. There are more than 44 million students relying on loans to continue their education, and the total amount of their loans is as high as US$1.3 trillion. The average per capita loan for students enrolled in 2016 was US$37,172. In some regions, cuts in fiscal plans are leading to a decline in school enrollment. The website of the Chicago Tribune reported on September 30, 2016, that the freshmen enrollment declined significantly in many state universities. For example, the number of freshmen enrolled in Chicago State University was half of what it was in 2010, and the number of freshmen enrolled in the University of Illinois has fallen by 25 percent from the previous year. A 2016 study made by a non-partisan think tank, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), showed that public colleges in Illinois reduced their per-capita funding for the students by 54 percent compared to the number in 2008, while in Arizona, there was a 56 percent reduction. In 2018, the World Bank released a report entitled Intergenerational Mobility around the World. It took the people born in the 1980s as its subject of research and found that the United States was one of the only four developed economies among the 50 economies that did the worst in realizing intergenerational mobility through education and that the United States was among the developed economies that did a bad job in actualizing intergenerational income mobility.

        第四,高等教育收費飛漲剝奪了低收入群體接受高等教育的機會。蓋洛普公司網站2017年8月3日報道,自1980年以來,沒有任何可測指標證明美國高等教育質量提高,但收費卻飛速增長。福布斯新聞網2017年2月21日報道,學生貸款債務成為僅次于抵押貸款債務的消費債務類別,高于信用卡和汽車貸款。有超過4400萬名學生貸款上學,貸款額高達1.3萬億美元。2016級學生人均貸款37172美元。在一些地區,財政計劃削減正在導致入學率下降?!吨ゼ痈缯搲瘓蟆肪W站2016年9月30日報道,很多州立大學新生入學人數大幅下降,例如,芝加哥州立大學的新生入學人數比2010年減少了一半,伊利諾斯大學新生人數比上一年下降約25%。華盛頓的一個無黨派智庫“預算和政策優先中心”2016年的研究報告顯示,伊利諾斯州的公立高校對每個學生的資助水平比2008年降低了54%,而亞利桑那州的降幅更高達56%。根據世界銀行2018年公布的《全球代際經濟流動性概覽》,以20世紀80年代出生的人作為研究對象,在通過教育實現階層流動方面,美國是全球表現最差的50個經濟體中僅有的4個高收入經濟體之一,同時也是高收入經濟體中在收入的代際流動性方面表現較差的經濟體。

        (2) The US Government Lacking the Political Will to Narrow the Gap Between the Rich and the Poor

        (二)美國政府缺乏扭轉貧富分化的政治意愿

        The US government lacks the political will to change the structural roots that lead to the division of the rich and the poor. Instead, it adopts a series of policies and measures that further widen the gap.

        美國政府缺乏政治意愿改變導致貧富分化的結構性根源,反而采取一系列加重貧富分化的政策措施。

        First, the US government’s policies and measures to stimulate economic growth are only aimed at benefiting the rich instead of taking into consideration how to reduce the burdens on low-income groups. In his report on his visit to the United States, which was published in May 2018, Philip Alston, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, pointed out that the current US administration’s strategy of stimulating economic growth benefited only the rich people, not the common people. The current US administration’s policy of carrying out unprecedentedly large-scale tax cuts for large companies and the wealthy class at the expense of social welfare seems to be a policy formulated to widen the existing inequality. According to the analysis made by the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), it is estimated that 27 percent of the revenue generated by the United States tax cuts in 2019 will flow into the pockets of the richest 1 percent people of the United States and the rich people will become the group who benefits the most from the current tax policies. Insufficient government financial investment leads to the lack of corresponding social security for the needy groups in the United States. A research report released by the Pew Research Center on August 18, 2015, showed that the United States had a serious shortage of funds for social security, with a deficit of about US$74 billion in 2014. The 2015 annual report of the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees showed that the US social security system had a deficit of US$25.8 trillion, which was almost 1.5 times the total annual GDP of the United States.

        第一,美國政府為刺激經濟增長制定的政策措施僅著眼于使富人受益,而沒有考慮如何使低收入人群減輕負擔。聯合國極端貧困與人權問題特別報告員菲利普·奧爾斯頓在2018年5月發表的訪美報告中指出,美國現政府推行系列刺激經濟增長措施,但發展成果僅惠及富人,普通民眾并未獲益。美國政府以犧牲社會福利為代價,對大公司和富有階層實施前所未有的大規模減稅計劃,該策略似乎是為擴大不平等而量身定制。根據美國稅收和經濟政策研究所的分析,2019年美國通過減稅產生的收益中預計有27%流入了美國最富有的1%人群的口袋。富人成為稅改政策最大的受益群體。政府財政投入不足導致困難群體缺乏相應的社會保障。皮尤研究中心2015年8月18日發布的研究報告顯示,美國用于社會保障的經費嚴重不足,2014年的收支逆差約為740億美元。美國受托人社會保障和醫療保險信托基金2015年的報告顯示,美國社會保障系統已有25.8萬億美元的虧損,這幾乎是美國年度GDP總量的1.5倍。

        Second, the Health Care Reform Act has been struck down, and full coverage of medical insurance has been rejected in the United States. The United States is one of the few developed countries that do not have universal health coverage. A considerable number of its residents do not have medical insurance and cannot receive the medical care they deserve when they become ill. Despite the US Congress adopting the Healthcare Reform Bill proposed by the Obama administration in 2010 and promising to establish a universal health care system, data released by the U.S. Census Bureau showed that there were still 33 million US citizens not covered by medical insurance in 2015. On May 4, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted the American Health Care Act by a vote of 217 to 213, overturning many important contents of the Obama’s health care reform plan, also known as “Obamacare.”

        第二,推翻醫改法案,拒絕醫保全覆蓋。美國是少數沒有實行全民醫療保險的發達國家之一,有相當數量的居民沒有醫療保險,因而無法在患病時得到應有的醫療照護。盡管美國國會在2010年就通過了奧巴馬政府提出的醫療改革法案,承諾要建立全民醫保體系,但據美國人口普查局公布的數據,2015年還有3300萬美國人沒有被醫療保險覆蓋。2017年5月4日,美國眾議院以217票對213票通過《美國醫保法》草案,推翻了“奧巴馬醫改”的諸多重要內容。

        Third, many rural hospitals have been closed in the United States, which has expanded the “medical desert”. The website of Al Jazeera’s US channel reported on December 17, 2017, that since 2010, more than 80 rural hospitals in the United States had been closed, and hundreds of rural hospitals were on the verge of bankruptcy. The “medical desert” zone is expanding. According to the research data from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program (NC RHRP), each closed rural hospital can serve approximately 10,000 local residents, who are the most vulnerable group in US society and know the least about how to live a healthy life. The closure of rural hospitals has destroyed the original rural hospital network and forced local residents to drive to hospitals dozens of miles away to receive medical services. A survey report released by the Pew Research Center on December 14, 2017, shows that since 2015, the public’s positive evaluation of government-guaranteed medical services has fallen by 20 percent.

        第三,關閉鄉村醫院,“醫療荒漠”不斷擴大。半島電視臺美國頻道網站2017年12月17日報道,自2010年以來,美國已有80多家鄉村醫院關閉,另有數百家瀕臨倒閉,“醫療荒漠”地帶正在變得越來越普遍。據“北卡羅來納鄉村健康研究項目”的研究數據,每個被關閉的醫院所服務的居民大約有1萬人,他們是社會上最弱勢的群體,對如何健康生活最缺乏了解。而關閉鄉村醫院,毀掉了原來建立的鄉村醫院網絡,使當地居民不得不驅車到數十英里以外的醫院去就診。皮尤研究中心2017年12月14日發布的調查報告顯示,自2015年以來,民眾對政府保障醫療服務的正面評價下降了20%。

        Fourth, the Internet management policy has widened the “digital divide” and strengthened the inferior position of low-income groups in the United States. As reported by the website of Al Jazeera’s US channel on December 15, 2017, on December 14, 2017, the US government ended the net neutrality rules stipulated in the 2015 Open Internet Rules, which forbade Internet service providers from blocking or “throttling” certain data streams and required that traffic would have to be treated equally regardless of the users’ ability to pay. The report commented that this move would allow rich people to enjoy faster Internet services with the help of money and thereby deepen the “digital divide” between the rich people and the low-income groups, putting the low-income groups at a disadvantage in the competition toward a digital future. For instance, in Detroit, where the poverty rate is close to 40 percent, about 40 percent of the city’s population do not have access to the Internet at home. Nyasia Valdez, who engages in the city’s Equitable Internet Initiative, has expressed that making the Internet more expensive will further economically disadvantage poor people. “It would be so devastating and further exacerbate the inequality that’s already there,” Valdez said.

        第四,互聯網管理政策擴大“數字鴻溝”,低收入群體的劣勢地位更加突出。半島電視臺美國頻道網站2017年12月15日報道,美國2015年制定的《開放互聯網規則》規定了網絡中立規則,即所有互聯網服務提供商必須同等對待所有數據,不能對某些數據流進行阻塞或“節流”。然而,這一規則于2017年12月14日被美國政府廢除。報道認為,此舉將使富人可以花錢享受到更快捷的網絡服務,從而加深富人與低收入群體之間的“數字鴻溝”,使低收入群體在邁向數字化未來的競爭中處于劣勢。例如,底特律的貧困水平接近40%,同時也有大約40%人口的家庭沒有因特網。底特律“平衡互聯網倡導”組織的納西婭·瓦爾德茲認為,更昂貴的互聯網將會對貧困人口更加不利,“這將是毀滅性的,會進一步加劇已經存在的不平等現象?!?/p>

        A deeper analysis shows that the reason the US government lacks the political will to bridge the divide between the rich and the poor is closely related to the US political system and the capital interests represented by the US government. The vigorous development of money politics has turned the US government into a spokesman for the rich. The website of the British newspaper The Guardian reported on August 7, 2018, that the public generally believed that the US elections were corrupt and that members of the US Congress served only the companies, wealthy people, and special interest groups. As pointed out by Philip Alston, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, in his report released in May 2018, the United States is one of the richest, most powerful, and most technologically innovative countries in the world, but its wealth, power, and technology have not been used to address the persistent poverty of the 40 million people. “The persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power,” Alston wrote.

        美國政府之所以缺乏扭轉貧富分化趨勢的政治意愿,從更深層次分析,是與美國的政治制度和美國政府所代表的資本利益密切相關的。愈演愈烈的金錢政治使得美國政府已經成為富豪的代言人。英國《衛報》網站2018年8月7日報道,公眾普遍認為美國選舉是腐敗的,國會議員被企業、富人和特殊利益集團俘獲。正如聯合國極端貧困與人權問題特別報告員菲利普·奧爾斯頓在2018年5月發布報告所指出的,美國是世界上最富有、最強大和最具科技創新能力的國家之一,但無論是財富、權力還是技術都沒有被用來解決約4000萬人持續貧困的局面?!皹O端貧困的持續存在是當權者做出的政治選擇?!?/p>

        The division between the rich and the poor in the United States will be a stable, long-term trend. One cannot expect any substantial reversal of this situation within a short period. The severe negative impact it has brought on the enjoyment and realization of the human rights of the US people will continue to worsen.

        美國的貧富分化是一個穩定的長期趨勢,人們無法期望這一狀況能夠在短期內出現任何實質性扭轉,由此對美國人民享有和實現人權造成的嚴重負面影響也將日趨惡化。

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