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兄弟,你们这儿要人么?

更新时间:2014-8-16 11:55:07 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

Brother, Can You Spare a Job?
兄弟,你们这儿要人么?

'California Comeback!' is the favorite slogan of Gov. Jerry Brown and other Sacramento politicians cheering a temporary budget surplus provided by a roaring stock market. But California also has the highest poverty rate in America at 24%. Is California really back?

得益于股市的上涨,美国加州实现了短暂的预算盈余,该州州长布朗(Jerry Brown)和萨克拉门托的其他政治家在为此欢呼时最喜欢用的口号是“加州经济已复苏!”。不过,该州的贫困率高达24%,在美国各州中是最高的。那么加州经济真的复苏了吗?

I wanted to see firsthand what that comeback looks like for many Californians. So, on the morning of July 21 I took a Greyhound bus from Los Angeles to Fresno. With only $40 in my pocket (and no credit cards), a backpack, a change of clothes and a toothbrush, I planned to find a job and earn enough money to get by. I am an able-bodied 41-year-old. Surely I could find some work.

我想亲眼看看对于加州人而言,“加州经济已复苏!”究竟是怎样一番景象。为此,在7月21日早上,我乘坐灰狗巴士从洛杉矶前往弗雷斯诺。我只带了40美元(没有信用卡)、一个背包、一套换洗衣服和一个牙刷,打算找一份工作,挣到能够维持自己生活的钱。我今年41岁,身强力壮,因此肯定能找到工作。

Over the next seven days, I walked mile after mile in 100-degree heat searching for a job. I offered to do anything: wash dishes, sweep floors, pack boxes, cook meals, anything. I went to dozens of businesses in search of work but wasn't able to get any. In seven days, I didn't see a single 'Help Wanted' sign, but I did see plenty of signs that fast-food outlets now accept food stamps.

在接下来的七天里,为了找工作,我顶着100华氏度的高温,走了一英里又一英里。我提出可以从事任何工作:洗盘子、拖地、打包、做饭,什么都行。我去了几十家公司求职,但一份工作都没找到。在七天里,我没有见到过一个“招工”的指示牌,倒是见到很多写着“快餐店现接受食品券”的指示牌。

I was committed to finding a job. It was my top priority, but halfway through the week my priority was forced to change: I barely had any money left and needed to find food. Fortunately, kindhearted homeless residents in Fresno pointed me to a shelter, Poverello House, which provides services to the homeless. I had no choice but to join the hundreds of men, women and families who go to the shelter for food. As the shelter did not have any beds for me I slept on the streets all six nights. I had only one shower during that time.

我决心找到一份工作,这是我的第一要务,但中途我不得不改变目标:我囊中羞涩,需要先填饱肚子再说。幸运的是,弗雷斯诺那些好心的流浪汉们介绍我来到Poverello House避难所,这里可以向无家可归者提供服务。我别无选择,只能加入数以百计的流浪大军,来到这里寻找食物。由于这家避难所无法为我提供床铺,我只好连续六晚露宿街头。在这段时间里,我只洗过一次澡。

The meals at Poverello House were a Godsend. But they introduced a new challenge: I now needed to stay within a short walk of the shelter so I could be back in time for my next meal. I had only enough money left to take the city bus once, so my job-search area shrank. The odds of me finding a job were getting smaller by the day.

在Poverello House里享用的餐食乃是天赐之物。但我面临一个新的挑战:眼下我需要一直待在避难所附近,以便及时赶回来能拿到下一餐。我口袋里的钱只够乘坐一次公共汽车了,所以找工作的范围也因此缩窄。在规定时间内找到一份工作的希望变得越来越渺茫。

Since I had little money, a motel was out of the question. I tried to sleep on park benches or in parking lots. Anywhere I wouldn't be chased out. Night after night, however, I was woken up and told to move along by security guards or the police.

口袋里没钱,汽车旅馆就别想了。我曾尝试着睡在公园的长椅上或停车场里,总之任何我认为不会被驱赶的地方我都去过。但夜复一夜,我还是数次被保安或警察叫醒并赶走。

The people I met during my week in Fresno are proud. They don't want to be homeless. They don't want to be poor. They don't want to depend on a shelter or the state. Most want jobs but simply cannot find one.

在弗雷斯诺的这一周,我遇到的人都很骄傲。他们不想成为无家可归的人,不想贫困潦倒,也不愿依赖避难所或政府生存。大多数人都想有一份工作,但就是找不到。

But this poor job market doesn't just affect people seeking minimum-wage jobs; it also affects people up the education ladder. An educated, professionally trained photographer told me that when the economy faltered, his photography work dried up. Now he is grateful to have a job serving coffee. Unfortunately, stories similar to his are playing out in many cities across California.

然而,疲软的就业市场不仅影响到初级工种,还影响到了高知人群。一位接受过教育和专业训练的摄影师告诉我说,经济举步维艰导致他丢掉了饭碗,现在他很庆幸地找到了一份咖啡服务生的工作。不幸的是,在加州许多城市,与他境遇相似的人大有人在。

The Fresno Community Food Bank is doing a record business these days, serving food to 220,000 residents, including 90,000 children, each month, up 340% from a few years ago, according to the food bank. Fresno is in the heart of California's agriculture economy. With a third year of record drought, farmers don't have enough water for their almond, cantaloupe and other crops. The rising cost of water had forced farmers to idle about 500,000 acres of land. One young woman in line at the food bank said it simply: 'There's not enough water. Crops can't be grown. My family works in the fields and they can't get work every day... sometimes just on weekends.'

弗雷斯诺社区食物银行(Fresno Community Food Bank)的数据显示,该机构目前的救济规模创下纪录,每月向220,000位居民提供食物,其中包括90,000名儿童,较几年前增加340%。弗雷斯诺是加州农业经济的核心,连续三年的干旱导致农民无法获得足够的水用于灌溉杏树、蜜瓜和其他作物。不断攀升的水成本迫使农户将大约50万英亩土地闲置。一位正在食物银行排队的年轻女性直白地说:没有充足的水源,庄稼无法生长,我的家庭成员全部务农,而他们现在每天无事可做……有时只在周末才有活干。

I walked for hours and hours in search of a job, giving me a lot of time to think. Five days into my search, hungry, tired and hot, I asked myself: What would solve my problems? Food stamps? Welfare? An increased minimum wage?

我步行好几个小时去找工作,这使我有大量的时间思考。在找工作的第五天,我感到 饿、疲倦和炎热,我问自己:什么能解决我的问题?食品救济券?福利?提高最低工资?

No. I needed a job. Period. Like others, I have often said the best social program in the world is a good job. Even though my homeless trek was only for a week, with a defined endpoint, that statement became much more real for me. A job was the one thing that could have solved my food, housing and transportation problems.

都不是,我需要一份工作。就是这样。像其他人一样,我经常会说世界上最好的社会项目就是一份好工作。我的无家可归经历只有一周,有明确的终止时间,但我对这句话的体会已经深切得多。一份工作就可以解决我的食物、住房和交通问题。

California's record poverty is man-made: over-regulation and over-taxation that drive jobs out of state, failing schools that don't prepare students for the skilled work force and misguided water policies that prevent us from saving surplus water in wet years to prepare for our inevitable droughts. We have the power to tackle poverty if we implement smart, pro-growth economic policies, as many other states have done.

加州创纪录的贫困状况是人为造成的:过度监管和过度征税导致就业机会从加州流失,糟糕的学校教育不能让学生成为熟练的劳动者,具有误导性的水价政策阻止人们在多雨年份节省多余的水以备迎接不可避免的干旱。如果像其他许多州那样,实施巧妙的、有利于增长的经济政策,我们就有力量解决贫困问题。

While the politicians who run California pat themselves on the back and claim a 'California Comeback,' they willfully ignore millions of our neighbors who are living in poverty. California's most vulnerable citizens deserve leaders who will fight for them. It's a fight that Republicans should lead. We have the policy ideas--improving education and reducing regulations to help create jobs--to rebuild the middle class and give every Californian, and every American, real economic opportunity.

虽然加州的执政者自我表扬,并宣称“加州经济已复苏”,但他们却有意忽视了在我们身边数百万生活在贫困中的人们。加州最易受到伤害的民众理应得到愿为他们而战的领导者。这是一场应由共和党人领导的战斗。我们有改善教育并减少监管以帮助创造就业的政策理念,以此来重建中产阶级,并为每位加州人和每个美国人提供真正的经济机会。

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