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世界第五大经济体加州的繁荣与痛苦

更新时间:2018-5-8 20:28:51 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Pleasure and Pain of Being California, the World’s 5th-Largest Economy
世界第五大经济体加州的繁荣与痛苦

SAN FRANCISCO — When a transportation agency said two years ago that rush hours were a thing of the past on a major highway in the San Francisco Bay Area, it was not good news.

旧金山——两年前一个政府运输部门称旧金山湾区一条主要高速公路已经不存在高峰期,那其实不是什么好消息。

“For the first time on record, the morning and evening peak periods have merged,” said a spokesman for the agency, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, “creating a continuously congested freeway from 5:30 in the morning until nearly 8 o’clock at night.”

“有史以来第一次,早高峰和晚高峰连起来了,”大都会运输署(Metropolitan Transportation Authority)发言人说,“导致高速公路从早上5点半持续拥堵到晚上将近8点。”

It has only gotten worse.

此后情况进一步恶化。

California’s economy has soared into the stratosphere, but not without inflicting some pain. Paralyzing traffic is one symptom; the increasingly absurd price of putting a roof over one’s head is another.

加利福尼亚的经济水平已经升到九霄云外,但并不是没有带来痛苦。交通瘫痪是其中一个症状,另一个是越来越荒唐的房价。

One person from the Midwest devised a quick formula to calculate the price of a house in the Bay Area: See how much a similar house would cost in Minnesota and then add a million dollars.

一个中西部人想出了一个计算湾区房价的便捷公式:看看类似的房屋在明尼苏达州要花多少钱,然后再加一百万美元。

Every few weeks there seems to be another story in the California news media about a dilapidated shack in an ordinary neighborhood selling for seven figures, just to be torn down. It has become common enough to lose its shock value.

似乎每隔几周加州新闻里就会出现这样一则报道,某普通地段的破旧棚屋卖了七位数,买下来就夷为平地了。这种事情变得太常见,以至没人感到震惊。

California recorded another milestone last week, one reflecting a prouder facet of the state’s success. If the state were an independent country, its economy would rank as the fifth-largest in the world, ahead of Britain’s (which has been crawling lately). California held that spot once before, but it slipped a bit during the Great Recession a decade ago.

上周,加州迎来了另一座里程碑,从比较正面的角度体现了这里的成功。如果加州是一个独立的国家,它的经济排在世界第五,位列英国(近年增长缓慢)之前。加州以前有一次也达到过这个名次,但在十年前的大衰退中位次下滑。

As the state has blossomed, outpacing many others, it has reinforced a liberal narrative about growth, that a state can have big government and a booming economy, too. (Texas is the conservatives’ counterexample: a big, fast-growing economy under laissez-faire government.)

随着经济增长速度领先于其他州,加州巩固了有关增长的一种自由主义叙事,即一个州可以同时拥有大政府和繁荣的经济。(德克萨斯州是保守派的反例:自由放任的政府治下,经济规模庞大,增长迅速。)

California has strict environmental protections, a progressive tax system and an ascendant minimum wage, now $10.50 an hour and set to rise in stages to $15 in 2023. The state welcomes immigrants, celebrates ethnic and linguistic diversity, and actively tries to combat climate change. And with all that, its economy continues to soar.

加州环保政策严格,实行累进税收制度,最低工资不断上调。现在的最低工资是一小时10.50美元,2023年将逐步上调到15美元。加州欢迎移民,弘扬族群和语言的多元,并积极应对气候变化。尽管如此,加州的经济仍在飞速增长。

“We have raised income taxes and imposed increasingly high fees to reduce greenhouse emissions,” said Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. “None of that has overridden the attractiveness of this state for talent and innovation and entrepreneurship.”

“我们提高了所得税,并征收越来越高的费用以减少温室气体排放,”加州经济持续研究中心(Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy)主任史蒂芬·莱维(Stephen Levy)说。“这些都没有阻碍这个州对人才、创新和创业的吸引力。”

California’s economic success underpins the state’s audacity and its defiance of President Trump. It is an invisible buttress when the governor and attorney general harangue the Trump administration, as they did recently at a news conference in Sacramento, for “basically going to war against the state of California.”

经济上的成功是加州大胆放肆和反抗特朗普总统的底气。当该州州长和州检察长像最近在萨克拉门托的新闻发布会上那样,滔滔不绝地指责特朗普政府“根本是要和加州开战”时,是经济在无形中支撑着他们。

California is not the only state doing well, of course. The federal Bureau of Economic Analysis produced a map last week showing a somewhat lopsided pattern of prosperity in America. The economies of states like Kansas and Louisiana shrank slightly last year, while those in the West thrived: Nevada grew by 3.5 percent, Washington by 4.4 percent, Arizona by 3.2 percent.

加州当然不是唯一一个表现优秀的州。美国联邦经济分析局(Bureau of Economic Analysis)上周制作的一幅地图显示,美国表现出了一种有些一边倒的繁荣模式。去年堪萨斯和路易斯安那等州的经济略微萎缩,而西部各州却欣欣向荣:内华达州增长3.5%,华盛顿州增长4.4%,亚利桑那州增长3.2%。

Even among its booming neighbors, though, California, which saw 3 percent growth last year, stands out for the diversity and sheer size of its economy.

但即便是在增长迅速的邻州中,去年增速3%的加州也因为多元化和经济的规模而格外抢眼。

Every sector contributed to the state’s growth last year except agriculture, according to Irena Asmundson, the chief economist of the California Department of Finance. Financial services and real estate led the pack, and even manufacturing, often said to be in decline in America, grew significantly, contributing $10 billion in output to the $127 billion the state added over all.

据加州财政部首席经济学家艾瑞娜·埃斯蒙森(Irena Asmundson)称,除了农业以外,去年每个行业都对该州的经济增长做出了贡献。金融服务和房地产行业是主要引领者,甚至连经常被称为美国衰退行业的制造业也显著增长,为该州1270亿美元的总产值贡献了100亿美元。

“Most of this is a lot of relatively small firms that are very specialized,” Ms. Asmundson said of the growth in manufacturing.

“其中大部分是规模较小的、非常专业化的公司,”埃斯蒙森在谈到制造业的增长时表示。

Another barometer of growth is the surge in people using California’s airports, especially the regional ones. Airports in Long Beach, San Jose, San Luis Obispo and Sonoma all saw double-digit percentage increases in passenger traffic in 2017.

增长的另一个表现是使用加州机场的人数激增,尤其是地区性机场。2017年,长滩、圣何塞、圣路易斯奥比斯波以及索诺马机场的客运量都出现了两位数的增长。

Unsurprisingly, Silicon Valley is a big part of California’s success. One of the state’s technology giants, Apple, brought in more revenue in its latest fiscal year — $229 billion — than the entire economic output of Wyoming, five times over.

毫无疑问,硅谷是加州成功的重要组成部分。该州的科技巨头苹果公司在最近一个财年里所创造的收入,是怀俄明州全部经济产量的5倍多,达到了2290亿美元。

All of that money pouring in to California’s tech and entertainment industries produces a big wealth effect, ballooning what the state’s workers can spend — and not just those who work directly in those fields.

涌入加州科技和娱乐产业的所有资金都产生了巨大的财富效应,增加了该州工人的可支出收入——不仅是那些直接在这些领域工作的人。

Facebook revealed last month that the median pay of its employees was $240,430 a year. But the fire chief in San Ramon has been doing pretty well, too, with total pay and benefits of $516,344 in 2016, according to the website Transparent California. And nearly 200 police officers across the state make more than $300,000 a year, when overtime and benefits are included.

Facebook上个月透露,它的员工年薪中位数为240430美元。但据透明加州网站(Transparent California)称,圣拉蒙市消防局长的收入也不低——2016年的总薪酬和福利为516344美元。该州有近200名警察的年收入超过30万美元,包括加班和福利。

Like many states, California has persistent worries about how it will cover its pension obligations down the road, and those high rates of pay for public sector workers do not help matters. But in these boom times, California’s bright fiscal position is a world away from the federal government’s. The state treasury is flush with cash, and is socking billions away in a rainy-day fund.

和许多州一样,加州一直在担心如何负担未来的养老金,公共部门员工的高工资也无助于解决这个问题。但在经济繁荣时期,加州良好的财政状况是联邦政府难以企及的。州政府的金库现金充裕,还积攒了数十亿美元的应急资金。

When Gov. Jerry Brown returned to office in 2011, he faced a budget deficit of $27 billion. Now, after eight years of economic expansion, the state has a surplus of $6 billion, and its tax revenues are running well ahead of projections.

2011年再次当选时,州长杰里·布朗(Jerry Brown)面临着270亿美元的预算赤字。现在,经过八年的经济扩张,加州已有60亿美元的盈余,税收远超预期。

Yet it is hard to overlook the pain that prosperity has brought: traffic, property prices, homelessness.

可是,我们很难忽视繁荣带来的痛苦:交通堵塞、房价高涨、无家可归。

Those last two issues are increasingly seen as sides of the same coin. In 2017, California saw the fastest growth in its homeless population of any state (14 percent), and also had the highest proportion of them unsheltered: 68 percent of the state’s 134,000 homeless people sleep outdoors.

最后两个问题日益被视为同一枚硬币的两面。2017年,在美国各州中,加州的无家可归人口增长速度最快(14%),无家可归者的比例也最高:该州13.4万无家可归者中有68%露宿街头。

All economic booms run out of steam sooner or later, and some Californians say they might welcome a little relief from this one. William Yu, an economist with the Anderson Forecast at the U.C.L.A. Anderson School of Management, recalls a panel discussion a month ago with real estate developers.

所有的经济繁荣迟早都会衰退,有些加州人表示,他们也许乐于看到经济稍有衰退。加州大学安德森商学院(U.C.L.A. Anderson School of Management)安德森预测中心(Anderson Forecast)的经济学家威廉·于(William Yu,音)回忆起一个月前与房地产开发商的一次座谈。

“One developer was asked, ‘Are you worried about a recession coming?’” Mr. Yu said. “The developer said, ‘I’m not worried at all. I’m waiting for it.’”

“一位开发商被问道:‘你担心出现经济衰退吗?’”威廉·于说。“这位开发商表示,‘我一点都不担心。我在等它来。’”

Why? So he can snap up some properties at cheaper prices.

为什么?因为那样他就可以以便宜些的价格抢购一些房产了。

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