[時事英文] Lottery, a Tax on the Poor? 彩券是一種窮人稅?

最近看到多家媒體報導鼓勵大家支持「公益」彩券,就聯想到之前看過的一些彩券報導。雖然每個國家的彩券發行的法律、收益的分紅和管理規範都不盡相同,還是可以參考以下美國多家知名報社關於美國彩券的社論。根據西方的經驗,購買彩券的人大多沒有繳稅能力,他們將微薄的收入用來買「公益」彩券,窮人的錢成為彩券的主要財源,因此,公益彩券反而像變相的「窮人稅」。彩券是否如迷幻藥般,使部分窮人更窮?值得大家深思。
 
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The lottery is a particularly awful example of political corruption. Here government is raising revenue by selling the Powerball dream of wealth without work. Studies in a number of states have shown that lottery ticket sales are concentrated in poor communities, that poor people spend a larger portion of their income on tickets and that the poor are more likely to view the lottery as an investment.
 
1. political corruption 政治腐敗
2. raise revenue 提高收入
3. Powerball 威力球(美國境內發行的彩券)
4. dream of wealth 財富的夢想
5. more likely to 更傾向於
 
彩券是政治腐敗的一個特別可怕的例子。政府藉由兜售威力球一夜致富的夢來增加國家的稅收。許多州的研究表明,彩券的銷售集中在貧困社區,窮人將多數收入花在彩券上,而窮人更傾向於將彩券視為一種投資。
 
——《華盛頓郵報》
 
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Lotteries are regressive taxes on poor people, in that a ticket costs relatively more for a poor person than a rich person, and punitive taxes on the poor and uneducated people who are the most avid buyers. The people who can least afford it are throwing away on average 47 cents on the dollar every time they buy a ticket. And the government, which relies increasingly on the lottery for funding, goes out of its way to tell them it is a good idea.
 
6. relatively more 相對更多
7. most avid buyers 最狂熱的買家
8. go out of one’s way(特別是為其他人)非常努力地做
9. punitive taxes 懲罰性賦稅
 
彩券是對窮人的累退稅,也是對那些醉心於購買且未受過教育的窮人之懲罰性賦稅。因為與富人相比,買彩券所付出的成本對窮人而言相對較高。那些負擔得起彩券的人,平均每次要花47美分購買彩券。政府愈來愈依賴彩券來籌措資金,並竭盡全力告訴他們這是個好主意。
 
——《商業內幕》
 
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What if I told you there was a $70 billion tax that the poor pay the most. You’d probably say that isn’t very fair. But that’s exactly what the lottery is: an almost 12-figure tax on the desperation of the least fortunate. To put that in perspective, that’s $300 worth of lottery tickets for every adult every year. Researchers have found that the bottom third of households buy more than half of all tickets. So that means households making less than $28,000 a year are dishing out $450 a year on lotteries.
 
10. a 12-figure tax 一個12位數的稅
11. the least fortunate 最不幸的
12. worth of… 值得⋯
13. dish out 祭出;拿出
14. What if…? 如果(尤指糟糕的情況出現)會怎麼樣?
 
如果我告訴你,在700億美元的稅收中窮人付出的最多,你會怎麼想?你可能會說這不太公平。但這就是彩券:對最不幸者的絕望徵收近12位數的稅。從這個角度來看,那對每位成年人來說是每年價值300美元的彩券。研究人員發現,最底層的三分之一家庭所購買的彩票超過總數的一半。這意味著年收入不足兩萬八千美元的家庭,每年要花450美元來買彩券。
 
——《華盛頓郵報》
 
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Historical data implies that when the economy goes bad, lottery revenues go up, because “when people are feeling desperate, they are more likely to stop by the gas station and buy five lottery tickets, hoping they get a big windfall.”
 
15. historical data 歷史數據
16. feel desperate 感到絕望
17. get a big windfall 獲得巨額、意外的收穫
 
歷史數據表明,每當經濟不景氣,彩券收入會增加,因為「每當人們感到絕望,他們更有可能在加油站前停下來,買五張彩券,並希望自己能獲得巨額的財富。」
 
——《ABC新聞》
 
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In 2008, during the height of the recession, at least 22 of the 42 states with lotteries — including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — set sales records.
 
18. height of the recession 經濟衰退的高點
19. set sales record 創下銷售記錄
 
2008年,時值經濟衰退的谷底,在42個有賣彩券的州中,至少有22個州——包括紐約州、紐澤西州和康乃狄克州——創下銷售記錄。
 
——《紐約時報》
 
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Lotteries are sometimes criticized as a “de facto tax on the poor," according to Matheson. “The poor spend a much higher percentage of their overall income on lotteries than the rich, and they can afford it less," he said. John Spry, a finance professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, has also studied the economic disparity among people who play instant scratch-off games. About three out of four instant game tickets sold in Minnesota are purchased by people with below-average incomes, according to Spry. He also cites research that shows that in South Carolina, 60% of instant lottery tickets were purchased by people with very low incomes.
 
20. a de facto tax on the poor 一種對窮人的實質賦稅
21. overall income 總收入
22. economic disparity 經濟差異;經濟失衡(國際法名詞)
23. below-average incomes 低於平均水準的所得
 
按馬特森所言,彩券有時被批評為「對窮人的實質賦稅」。他說:「窮人在彩券上的花費占總收入的比例遠比富人高出許多,而他們所能負擔的也更少。」明尼蘇達州聖湯瑪斯大學的財金系教授約翰・斯普里也研究了玩即時刮刮樂的人之間的經濟差異。根據斯普里的說法,在明尼蘇達州售出的四張即時刮刮樂中,約有三張是由收入低於平均水準的人購買。他還引用了一項研究,該研究表明,在南卡羅來納有60%的即時彩券是被收入很低的人買走。
 
——《CNN》
 
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Think on this a moment. In a place where government has utterly failed to provide adequate education and public services, government is using advertising to exploit the desperation of poor people in order to raise revenue that funds other people’s public services. This is often called a “regressive” form of taxation. The word does not adequately capture the cruelty and crookedness of selling a lie to vulnerable people in order to bilk them. Offering the chance of one in a 100 million is the equivalent of a lie. Lotteries depend on the deceptive encouragement of mythical thinking and fantasies of escape.
 
24. utterly fail to 徹底地失敗
25. fail to provide 無法提供
26. adequate education and public services 充分的教育與公共服務
27. exploit the desperation of poor people 利用窮人的絕望
28. fund public services 資助公共服務
29. a regressive form of taxation 一種累退的賦稅形式
30. sell a lie 兜售一個謊言
31. vulnerable people 弱勢群體
32. mythical thinking 不切實際的想像
33. fantasy of escape 逃避的幻想
 
試想一下,在政府完全無法提供足夠的教育與公共服務的地方,為了提高國家稅收以資助他人的公共服務,政府正運用廣告來利用窮人的絕望。這通常被稱作「累退」的賦稅形式。這個詞並未充分體現出,政府為了欺騙弱勢群體,向他們兜售謊言此一殘酷與奸詐。提供億分之一的機會即形同說謊。彩券所仰賴的是不切實際與逃避現實的幻想,帶有欺騙性的鼓勵。
 
——《華盛頓郵報》
 
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Some policymakers argue that the moral cost of lotteries is low. After all, the games are voluntary. And perhaps the money collected by the state is better off going to schools than to booze and cigarettes and whatever else. In an age of rising income inequality, it’s pernicious that states rely on monetizing the desperate hope of its poorest residents. State lotteries take from the poor to spare the rich, all while marching under the banner of voluntary entertainment. Banning lotto games will not make our poorest communities suddenly rich. But these neighborhoods have lost enough lotteries in life even before they touch a penny to the scratch-off ticket.
 
34. moral cost 道德成本
35. be better off 境況更好;經濟狀況較先前(或多數人)好
36. rising income inequality日益加劇的所得不均
37. take from the poor to spare the rich 劫貧濟富
38. under the banner of 以⋯⋯的名義;在⋯⋯的旗幟下
39. voluntary entertainment 自願性娛樂
40. a scratch-off ticket 一張刮刮樂
 
有些制定政策的人認為,彩券的道德成本很低。畢竟,那些都是自願的博弈。而且,由州政府收取資金並將之用於各級學校,也許比用在喝酒、抽菸或其他東西上都來得好。在一個所得不均日益加劇的時代,各州將貧困居民僅存的希望貨幣化,無疑是有害的。國家彩券劫貧濟富,以自願性娛樂的名義推進。禁止博彩遊戲並不會讓我們最貧窮的社區突然變得富有。但這些社區甚至連刮刮樂的一毛錢都沒贏過,卻已眼睜睜輸掉數量可觀的彩券。
 
——《大西洋》
 
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今政府開辦之彩券販售,雖係有法令依據的合法行為,其販售權力也優先給予殘障弱勢者,每年所獲盈餘也多用在公益事業或挹注部分運動項目,不可謂沒有功勞。但整體而論;彩券是藉公益之名,慷民眾之慨以補政府的不足,彩券盈餘所挹注的公益項目,都是政府原本就應照顧的族群,不應等待民眾簽注的盈餘才來做這些事。
 
——立法院第8屆第2會期第2次會議紀錄
 
 
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國內運動彩券之評析: https://www.npf.org.tw/3/5099
 
運動彩券制度規劃之研究——教育部體育署https://www.sa.gov.tw/wSite/public/Data/f1451377029007.pdf
 
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參考資料:
 
 
 
 
 
 

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