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总统布什船长的船要沉(图)

2006-05-12 13:00

  (2004) On 20 January US President George Bush appeared before Congress to deliver the traditional state of the union address. This yearly speech gives the president a chance to announce his legislative priorities with maximum publicity: virtually everyone in the US watches the live broadcast of the speech on TV. Of course, the American president cannot make or even officially propose laws. It is up to the members of Congress to submit bills to the House or Senate, and even the Republicans in Congress are jealous①of their independence from the executive branch of government. Thus the state of the union address is basically a wish list and a PR opportunity.

  Tony Auth was not terribly impressed with the president's agenda. Alarmed at the huge budget deficits caused by Bush's tax cuts, Auth represents the union (the American republic) as a ship sinking in a sea of red ink. The "captain" is oblivious of the peril in which the ship and its passengers find themselves. Rather than dealing with the deficits, Bush touts his policy of "free prescription drugs" for the elderly —— the passengers among whom the game of shuffleboard is popular. "Free lunch" alludes to the American saying "There's no such a thing as a free lunch." In other words, everything costs something and everything has to be paid for by someone; statements otherwise are ploys for gulling credulous people. But free lunch is the order of the day on the USS Union②. The president is likewise a fan of NASA's project to establish a manned base on the moon and push on to the exploration of Mars;that "spaceship" will not be cheap. And the "cash awards" for "all who don't need them" could refer to a host of Bush tax cuts.

  Auth's cartoon is a comment on the odd reversal that has taken place in American politics. For several decades the Democratic Party had difficulty restraining the urge to spend, while the Republicans billed themselves as the party of fiscal prudence. The reversal began under the free-spending Reagan and continued under the deficit-cutting Clinton. But though Reagan spent a lot, he did also raise taxes. The younger Bush, Auth implies, has no patience for the advocates of prudence

  1月20日,美国总统乔治·布什来到美国国会发表例行的国情咨文。这一年一度的演讲给了总统一个机会向最广大公众(几乎每一个美国人都通过电视观看实况转播)宣告他在立法方面的优先权。当然,美国总统并不能制定法律,甚至也不能正式提议制定某条法律,法律的制定要由国会的议员们把法案提交到众院或参院,而国会里的共和党议员又很珍惜他们拥有的不受政府行政部门影响的独立性。因此,发表国情咨文基本上就是总统的一串愿望和一个公关机会。

  漫画家托尼·奥特并没有对总统国情咨文罗列的一项项内容留下深刻印象。由于对布什总统减税政策所造成的巨额赤字感到不安,奥特将美利坚合众国比喻成正要沉入到红墨水海洋中的一艘船。“船长”(布什)并没有觉察到危险,而船和乘客们已处于危险当中。布什不是去处理赤字问题,反而在吹捧自己为老年人(也就是喜欢玩推圆盘游戏的乘客)实行的“处方药免费”的政策;免费的午餐暗指美国一句俗语“世上没有免费的午餐”,换句话说,什么东西都有价值,要想得到什么都需要付出,而与此不同的说法则是欺骗那些轻信的人们的花招,可免费的午餐在这艘美国号船上则是常规;这位总统也是一个对美国宇航局在月球建立载人基地以及推进火星开发计划的拥护者———航天飞机可不是便宜的;向“所有不需要钱的人”给予“现金奖励”指的是布什的一大堆减税政策。

  奥特的漫画是对发生在美国政治中奇怪的颠倒现象所进行的评论。在过去几十年中,民主党很难控制住花钱的急切之情,而共和党则把自己描绘为花钱谨慎的政党。这种角色的颠倒始于花钱无度的共和党里根政府和不断减少赤字的民主党克林顿政府。但里根尽管花钱多,仍然提高了税收。而小布什呢,奥特暗示,他没有耐心听那些主张花钱谨慎的人说话。

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