English 中文网 漫画网 爱新闻iNews 翻译论坛
当前位置: Language Tips> 译通四海> Columnist 专栏作家> Zhang Xin

Special interest money?

[ 2010-10-22 12:45]     字号 [] [] []  
免费订阅30天China Daily双语新闻手机报:移动用户编辑短信CD至106580009009

Special interest money?

Ava asks:

Please explain “special interest money” in this sentence: “By providing qualified candidates a way out of the chase for big special-interest money, such a program would make citizens the true stakeholders in our government.”

And, what’s the exact meaning of the whole sentence?

My comments:

It means someone somewhere has created a program that helps elect the right people to public office. These people will no longer need to seek “special interest money” – that is, money provided by powerful groups such as the oil and arms industry – to fund their election campaigns. This, in turn, will make sure that when they’re elected, they’ll be able to look after public interests instead of formulating policies that are favorable just to those “special interest” groups that have paid for their running.

When that happens, and only when that happens will you be able to say that citizens are “the true stakeholders in our government”, i.e. a government in the United States, Britain or any of the so-called democratic countries in the world.

(In Chinese political parlance, it’ll be like saying that citizens, instead of being “the true stakeholders”, will become “the true masters” of the country.)

Don’t be celebrating just yet, because it’s not happening. “Special interest money” still dominates elections, as it always has. And candidates, after they’re elected, will continue to repay those who help get them into office in the first place.

Anyways, “special interest” represents such powerful persons, families, groups, industries that help people run for public office or hire lobbyists to talk to lawmakers in order to influence policy making. It’s aptly called “special interest” because it seeks policies that serve a selected group rather than the general public. In other words, it’s in the self(ish) interest of those who pay for it, not in “public interest”, i.e. for the benefit of the general public.

He who pays the piper calls the tune, as the saying goes. In the so-called democracies, “special interest” groups have always hold sway in government. The oil and arms industries, for instance, are among the “special interest” groups that supported both Bush administrations in America. After all, it is no accident that both father and son launched wars over Iraq, where there is, Saddam or no Saddam, plenty of oil.

No accident, either, that they’ve also been targeting Iran – where there is, nuke threat or no nuke threat, also plenty of oil.

Anyways, here are recent media examples of “special interest money”:

1. With his party facing losses in next month’s election, President Obama pressed his argument Sunday that the opposition is trying to steal the election with secret special-interest money, possibly including money from foreign companies.

In a speech to a large rally here and in a new television advertisement, Mr. Obama and the Democrats escalated their efforts to present the Republicans as captive to moneyed interests. But Republicans and their allies fired back, dismissing the assertions as desperate last-minute allegations with no evidence to back them up.

“You can’t let it happen,” Mr. Obama told thousands of supporters gathered at a school park in a predominantly African-American, working-class neighborhood in northern Philadelphia. “Don’t let them hijack your agenda. The American people deserve to know who’s trying to sway their elections, and you can’t stand by and let the special interests drown out the voices of the American people.”

Mr. Obama has increasingly turned to the issue of campaign finance to motivate his supporters as the elections grow nearer and the polls remain bad for Democrats. His party is outmatched in advertising sponsored by groups in part because of a Supreme Court decision issued earlier this year which lifted restrictions on independent campaign expenditures by corporations and unions. Mr. Obama has suggested that the sponsors of campaign advertising have sinister motivations.

“You don’t know,” he said here. “It could be the oil industry, it could be the insurance industry, it could even be foreign-owned corporations. You don’t know because they don’t have to disclose. Now that’s not just a threat to Democrats, that’s a threat to our democracy.”

- Obama Ratchets Up Tone Against G.O.P., The New York Times, October 10, 2010.

2. Forty-four percent (44%) of Likely U.S. Voters say it is not possible to win a political campaign in this country today without raising money from lobbyists, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Thirty-four percent (34%) disagree and think it is possible to win a campaign without special interest money. Twenty-two percent (22%) are not sure.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on September 28-29, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

- Voters Think Special Interest Money Is Key To Political Victory, RasmussenReports.com, September 30, 2010.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


Racial profiling

Catch and Catch 22

Half full or half empty?

Turn the corner

(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑陈丹妮)