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人們愈發討厭大富豪,原因為何?

葛繼甫(Geoff Colvin) 2020年01月01日

15年前,超級富翁廣受美國公眾的敬仰。如今我們發現,整個富人群體都遭到了質疑。究竟發生了什么變化?

圖片來源:ILLUSTRATION BY TRES COMMAS; ORIGINAL PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES (3)

美國人并不仇富,但痛恨不公平。隨著我們進入大選年,并嘗試理解美國對億萬富翁愛恨交加的感情時,這些事實值得我們去留意。在這些億萬富翁中,有三位正在競選總統。我們有必要了解這種態度,因為億萬富翁問題必然也是下一任總統需要重點處理的問題,而且這個與誰當總統無關。

這是一個奇怪的政治時刻。在全國民調中排名前三的民主黨候選人中,有兩位,也就是伯尼·桑德斯和伊麗莎白·沃倫,都會不時地在一定程度上將億萬富翁描述為萬惡之源。桑德斯曾經說:“我覺得億萬富翁不應該存在于世?!迸琶谝坏拿裰鼽h候選人喬·拜登則表達的更委婉一些,他在2019年2月說道:“我并不羨慕那些能夠賺一百萬美元或上億美元的人?!睗撆_詞就是說賺10位數就有些太不像話了。然而,民主黨陣營還包括兩名億萬富翁,湯姆·斯特爾和新近入圍的邁克爾·布隆伯格,后者僅用了數周的時間便通過電視廣告的狂轟爛炸將自己推上了前排,與排名第四的候選人佩德·布蒂吉格僅有數分之差。

至于共和黨,他們在這個問題上也并非就是上下一條心,盡管其候選人在三年前成為了美國第一任億萬富翁總統。

因此,人們到底是喜愛億萬富翁還是仇視他們?從黨派來講這個問題很容易回答。民調確認了我們心中所想:共和黨傾向于交好億萬富翁,而民主黨則相反。但大量的非黨派因素令這一格局更加復雜。奧普拉·溫弗瑞、史蒂芬·斯皮爾伯格、邁克爾·喬丹,他們都是億萬富翁,而且深受美國人喜愛。比爾·蓋茨和沃倫·巴菲特在YouGov的2019年“誰是你最敬仰的對象”調查中幾乎靠近榜首的位置,其他名列前茅的人士包括電影明星和教皇弗朗西斯。

有時候我們喜愛億萬富翁。但桑德斯和沃倫的成功入圍告訴我們,有很大一部分的美國民眾對他們深惡痛絕。我們在億萬富翁方面的分歧反映了兩個完全不同的世界觀:例如世界是如何運轉的,為什么一些人走在了前面,而另一些人落在了后面,未來是光明還是黑暗。在過去幾年中,讓這兩派產生分歧的鴻溝急劇擴大。

Americans don’t hate wealth. They hate injustice. Those facts are worth remembering as we enter this election year and try to understand America’s schizoid attitude toward billionaires, three of whom are running for President. It’s an attitude worth understanding because billionaires are certain to symbolize crucial issues for the next President, whoever he or she may be.

It’s a bizarre political moment. Two of the top three Democratic candidates in national polling, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, routinely vilify billionaires as more or less the root of all evil. Sanders has said, “I don’t think that billionaires should exist.” The top-polling Democrat, Joe Biden, sends a more subtle message: “I don’t begrudge anybody making a million or hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said in February, leaving unspoken that 10 figures are just too much. Yet the Democratic field also includes two billionaires, Tom Steyer and recent entrant Michael Bloomberg, who in only a few weeks has used massive TV advertising to approach the top tier, a few points behind the No. 4 candidate, Pete Buttigieg.

As for the Republicans, they’re not entirely unconflicted on this subject, even though their candidate became the first billionaire President three years ago.

So do we love billionaires or disdain them? Simple partisanship is the easy part of the answer. Polling confirms what we already know: Republicans tend to be billionaire-friendly, and Democrats tend not to be. What complicates the picture is a large nonpartisan element. Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Michael Jordan—they’re all billionaires, and America loves them. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett rank near the top in YouGov’s 2019 survey asking Americans whom they admire most, interspersed among movie stars and Pope Francis.

Sometimes we love billionaires. But as the success of Sanders and Warren shows, a sizable group of Americans resent them bitterly. At a deep level, our billionaire bifurcation reflects two starkly different views of the world—how it works, why some people get ahead and others don’t, whether the future is dark or bright. The divide separating those who hold these opposing views has deepened dramatically over the past few years.

兩黨在美國經濟體制公平問題上存在分歧? 圖源:Pew Research Center
?

不妨看看一些最基本的問題:美國經濟體制是否“對于大多數美國公民是公平的”,或“是否在不公平地支持權貴的利益”,皮尤研究中心在過去五年中一直在就這個問題進行調查。人們的整體看法基本沒有變化:約33%的美國成年人認為其是公平的,63%表示它不公平。但僅僅在過去三年中,共和黨和民主黨在這個問題上呈現出極端化態勢,如今,共和黨說公平的可能性要大得多,而民主黨則更有可能說它不公平。

大家都知道,億萬富翁成為了眾矢之的。認為億萬富翁對美國有著巨大危害的人不僅僅只是像桑德斯這樣的民主黨社會主義分子,Cato的調查顯示54%的民主黨認為“億萬富翁對于民主來說是個威脅”(而79%的共和黨并不贊同這一說法)。

這一歷史性轉變的推手是收入差距不斷增加的大環境。一個不可避免的事實在于,自1967年以來,收入排名前四分之一家庭的通脹調整后收入增加了99%,而排名后四分之一的家庭僅增加了31%。共和黨與民主黨則按照各自背道而馳的世界觀,對這一現象給出了截然不同的解釋,也導致各自政策建議的矛盾比以往更加尖銳。

這也讓我們回到了美國對億萬富翁愛恨交加的情結問題。在我們所處的超級黨派環境中,即便出現兩個極端的選舉結果也是完全合理的。民主黨熱衷于改革的一派可能會大獲全勝,他們會提出了一個前所未有的反億萬富翁主張,將富人征稅稅率提升至新的歷史高度。然而選民們還可能給出一個完全相反但同樣前所未有的選舉結果:2020年1月,美國可能會第二次見證一位來自于其中一個黨派的億萬富翁入主白宮。 (財富中文網)

本文另一版本登載于《財富》雜志2020年1月刊,標題為《遭鄙視的億萬富翁》。

譯者:馮豐

審校:夏林

Consider the fundamental question of whether the U.S. economic system “is generally fair to most Americans” or “unfairly favors powerful interests,” as the Pew Research Center has posed it for the past five years. Overall sentiment has barely budged: About 33% of U.S. adults say it’s fair, and 63% say it’s unfair. But in just the past three years, Republicans and Democrats have polarized on the issue, with Republicans now far more likely to say it’s fair, and Democrats far more likely to say it isn’t.

Little wonder that billionaires are under fire. It’s no longer just Democratic Socialists like Bernie Sanders who believe they’re profoundly bad for the nation; Cato polling finds that 54% of Democrats believe “billionaires are a threat to democracy” (while 79% of Republicans don’t agree).

Underlying this historic shift is the megatrend of increasing income disparity. The inescapable fact is that since 1967, inflation-adjusted income has increased 99% for the top quintile of households and only 31% for the bottom quintile. Republicans and Democrats frame their explanations of what happened in fundamentally different ways based on their rapidly diverging worldviews, leading to ever more sharply contrasting policy prescriptions.

Which brings us back to America’s love-hate relationship with billionaires. In our hyperpartisan environment, two extreme election outcomes are entirely plausible. The Democrats’ more progressive wing could sweep, promising an unprecedented anti-billionaire agenda of historic tax increases on the wealthy. Yet voters could also deliver a completely opposite and equally unprecedented outcome: 2020 January, for the second time in U.S. history, a billionaire—of either party—could be taking the oath of office.

A version of this article appears in the January 2020 issue of Fortune with the headline “The Great Big Billionaire Backlash.”

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