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美国国家公共电台 NPR Jerry Brown's Exit Interview: Don't Say He Didn't Warn You

时间:2018-12-18 01:58来源:互联网 提供网友:nan   字体: [ ]

Jerry Brown's Exit Interview: Don't Say He Didn't Warn You


When California Governor Jerry Brown took office in 2011, he had the weight of his predecessors1 on his shoulders.


JERRY BROWN: It's sobering and enlightening to read through the inaugural2 addresses of past governors. I don't imagine too many of you do that.


BROWN: They each start these inaugural addresses on a high note of grandeur3 and then focus on virtually the same reoccurring issues - education, crime, budgets, water.

SHAPIRO: That's from his 2011 inaugural address, and he could have been referencing his own earlier speeches because Jerry Brown first served as California governor from 1975 to 1983. Later, he was mayor of Oakland and California's attorney general before he returned to the governor's office.

Now as he prepares to leave office at the age of 80, we invited him to talk about his legacy4, about shaping the politics of the most populous5 state in the country for almost 50 years. I started by asking him about the economy, specifically about leaving the state's finances better than he found them.

BROWN: We know we have a $14 billion surplus, a rainy day fund, that's locked in for uncertain times in the future. We have a $15 billion spendable deficit6 right now and that deficit surplus. So, yeah, there's a lot of money here. We're talking closer to 30 billion.

Now, what did I do or didn't do? I did rein7 in the spending, and that took fortitude8 against the tendency of the Democrat9 Party to spend on almost anything that somebody comes up with that satisfies one of the key constituencies. But basically, we're living in the heart of the most dynamic economy in the world, Silicon10 Valley, home of Apple and Google and Intel and all these different companies. I know I'm going to miss some.

But the gross domestic product in California has grown 800 billion. That's just the growth. So we're about fifth-largest economy in the world, and that completely overshadows state government activity.

SHAPIRO: Is this economic success a double-edged sword? I'm wondering whether you think that the budget success and the economic growth have contributed to some of the big problems California faces right now with income inequality and unaffordable housing?

BROWN: Well, capitalism12 is not a perfect system. It's a very productive system, but no one said anything about equality or protecting the environment. Capitalism responds to incentives13, to human desire, to restlessness and even, to put it more bluntly, greed. And that drives it forward, but it drives forward in a way that always overshoot its mark.

And unfortunately, the productivity that is generating all these trillions of dollars is not stable, and it will decline. And that will cause layoffs14 and tuition increases and program cuts. And everyone will all of a sudden wake up and say, whatever happened? That's one thing from the point of view of the government.

Of the economy, with all these rich kids making millions of dollars in Silicon Valley, they're bidding up the price of real estate. And the automation is such that a lot of people are now what they call redundant15 because the economy, it doesn't have a role for them. And that's where creative political leaders are going to have to find a way to tame capitalism.

SHAPIRO: Do you regret not having done more to create more affordable11 housing over the last eight years?

BROWN: I don't know - I don't see what - what other avenues - we've done quite a lot for what the state can do. But there's a lot of resistance to changes, to density16 in neighborhoods that don't want density. In many ways, I don't blame them.

The relationship between income and housing has been growing unfavorable for decades, and now it's at its highest peak. So how do you change that, absent a deep recession? That's a real puzzle. I don't think you can mandate17 lower prices 'cause people want the value in their homes. I don't think you can build housing and pay for it by taxing hard-pressed, middle-class people, among others, to pay for it.

So I'd say this remains18 an issue and a topic that I know people will address. But if you want to come back and talk to me in four years, I assure you we're going to have the same problem that we have today.

SHAPIRO: You've also made the environment and climate change a big focus during your time in office. I mean, you were talking about environmental issues when you first became governor in the 1970s, and during the Trump19 administration, you've become a sort of global diplomat20 on climate change.

Do you believe that politicians will take the hard steps that we have frankly21 failed to take since you started talking about these issues almost 50 years ago?

BROWN: Well, look, I hope they will. The evidence doesn't warrant real deep confidence. We're making little steps. The Paris Agreement was an important step, but given what's happening at the conference in Poland, which is the follow-up to Paris, that's abysmal22. And the United States and Saudi Arabia and Australia and Russia, they're all combining to celebrate fossil fuel oil. U.S. is talking about coal.

So, look, the climate threat is real. It's a clear and present danger. With some confidence, I can say, based on the scientists that I speak to - and I speak to a lot of them - the climate danger and damage is much greater than people are talking about. And it's going to get here much sooner.

I'm sure that the political leaders will respond after we have four or five more disasters, fires and four or five more floods and hurricanes and tornadoes23 and all that. The problem is the burden of spending to transition to a non-carbon world will be much higher, much harder and will be wrenching24 to the democratic political system.

SHAPIRO: Another big focus of yours in the last eight years has been criminal justice. And when I look at the arc of your career, it seems to me that when you first took office in the 1970s, there was this big tough-on-crime movement. And today, so many of the policies that you've pursued as governor seem to be aimed at undoing25 many of the policies from your first eight years in office.

Do you think that you've been able to do enough to correct what you see as your own mistakes from earlier in your career, if in fact that's how you would characterize it?

BROWN: Yeah, I'd characterize it as that. That's not the only way to describe it. But certainly, the adoption26 in California and throughout the country of fixed27 sentences that were then escalated28 on a regular basis to the point where America has the most incarceration29 per capita, at least during certain years, than in any country in the world, including Russia or China. So we really went overboard.

Now, in California we went from 25,000 people in prison to 173,000, from 12 prisons to 35. That's way over. But pulling that back is slow - a slow slog. So we've had some bills to take back some of the draconian30 sentences.

But then, how much? How long do you want to lock somebody up at what expense? And I would say we've gone way overboard, and we have to, very carefully, pull back. And that's happening in California. It's happening across the country. We've got a long way to go.

SHAPIRO: OK, so next month you hand over the governor's office to Gavin Newsom, former mayor of San Francisco. What advice do you have for him?

BROWN: What advice? Well, I would say a nice methodology in political management is to imagine what could go wrong and what could go wrong in the worst way possible. And after you imagine that, then take careful steps to avoid it. You got to think not about all your little pet programs, of which there'll be plenty, but what are the things that could go awry31.

And there are big things that can go awry. You can have scandals. You can have a major earthquake. We had the fires. They're a huge disaster. But you've got to stand back and try to look over the horizon and say, OK, what are the things that might not go right? How do we correct that? How do we deal with it ahead of time? And then what is most important? And also, I would say, what can you really do? Because you might don't want to be chasing rainbows and turn up with an empty hand.

SHAPIRO: California Governor Jerry Brown, thank you so much for joining us today.

BROWN: OK, my pleasure. Thanks.


1 predecessors b59b392832b9ce6825062c39c88d5147     
n.前任( predecessor的名词复数 );前辈;(被取代的)原有事物;前身
  • The new government set about dismantling their predecessors' legislation. 新政府正着手废除其前任所制定的法律。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Will new plan be any more acceptable than its predecessors? 新计划比原先的计划更能令人满意吗? 来自《简明英汉词典》
2 inaugural 7cRzQ     
  • We listened to the President's inaugural speech on the radio yesterday.昨天我们通过无线电听了总统的就职演说。
  • Professor Pearson gave the inaugural lecture in the new lecture theatre.皮尔逊教授在新的阶梯讲堂发表了启用演说。
3 grandeur hejz9     
  • The grandeur of the Great Wall is unmatched.长城的壮观是独一无二的。
  • These ruins sufficiently attest the former grandeur of the place.这些遗迹充分证明此处昔日的宏伟。
4 legacy 59YzD     
  • They are the most precious cultural legacy our forefathers left.它们是我们祖先留下来的最宝贵的文化遗产。
  • He thinks the legacy is a gift from the Gods.他认为这笔遗产是天赐之物。
5 populous 4ORxV     
  • London is the most populous area of Britain.伦敦是英国人口最稠密的地区。
  • China is the most populous developing country in the world.中国是世界上人口最多的发展中国家。
6 deficit tmAzu     
  • The directors have reported a deficit of 2.5 million dollars.董事们报告赤字为250万美元。
  • We have a great deficit this year.我们今年有很大亏损。
7 rein xVsxs     
  • The horse answered to the slightest pull on the rein.只要缰绳轻轻一拉,马就作出反应。
  • He never drew rein for a moment till he reached the river.他一刻不停地一直跑到河边。
8 fortitude offzz     
  • His dauntless fortitude makes him absolutely fearless.他不屈不挠的坚韧让他绝无恐惧。
  • He bore the pain with great fortitude.他以极大的毅力忍受了痛苦。
9 democrat Xmkzf     
  • The Democrat and the Public criticized each other.民主党人和共和党人互相攻击。
  • About two years later,he was defeated by Democrat Jimmy Carter.大约两年后,他被民主党人杰米卡特击败。
10 silicon dykwJ     
  • This company pioneered the use of silicon chip.这家公司开创了使用硅片的方法。
  • A chip is a piece of silicon about the size of a postage stamp.芯片就是一枚邮票大小的硅片。
11 affordable kz6zfq     
  • The rent for the four-roomed house is affordable.四居室房屋的房租付得起。
  • There are few affordable apartments in big cities.在大城市中没有几所公寓是便宜的。
12 capitalism er4zy     
  • The essence of his argument is that capitalism cannot succeed.他的论点的核心是资本主义不能成功。
  • Capitalism began to develop in Russia in the 19th century.十九世纪资本主义在俄国开始发展。
13 incentives 884481806a10ef3017726acf079e8fa7     
激励某人做某事的事物( incentive的名词复数 ); 刺激; 诱因; 动机
  • tax incentives to encourage savings 鼓励储蓄的税收措施
  • Furthermore, subsidies provide incentives only for investments in equipment. 更有甚者,提供津贴仅是为鼓励增添设备的投资。 来自英汉非文学 - 环境法 - 环境法
14 layoffs ce61a640e39c61e757a47e52d4154974     
临时解雇( layoff的名词复数 ); 停工,停止活动
  • Textile companies announced 2000 fresh layoffs last week. 各纺织公司上周宣布再次裁员两千人。
  • Stock prices broke when the firm suddenly announced layoffs. 当公司突然宣布裁员时,股票价格便大跌
15 redundant Tt2yO     
  • There are too many redundant words in this book.这本书里多余的词太多。
  • Nearly all the redundant worker have been absorbed into other departments.几乎所有冗员,都已调往其他部门任职。
16 density rOdzZ     
  • The population density of that country is 685 per square mile.那个国家的人口密度为每平方英里685人。
  • The region has a very high population density.该地区的人口密度很高。
17 mandate sj9yz     
  • The President had a clear mandate to end the war.总统得到明确的授权结束那场战争。
  • The General Election gave him no such mandate.大选并未授予他这种权力。
18 remains 1kMzTy     
  • He ate the remains of food hungrily.他狼吞虎咽地吃剩余的食物。
  • The remains of the meal were fed to the dog.残羹剩饭喂狗了。
19 trump LU1zK     
  • He was never able to trump up the courage to have a showdown.他始终鼓不起勇气摊牌。
  • The coach saved his star player for a trump card.教练保留他的明星选手,作为他的王牌。
20 diplomat Pu0xk     
  • The diplomat threw in a joke, and the tension was instantly relieved.那位外交官插进一个笑话,紧张的气氛顿时缓和下来。
  • He served as a diplomat in Russia before the war.战前他在俄罗斯当外交官。
21 frankly fsXzcf     
  • To speak frankly, I don't like the idea at all.老实说,我一点也不赞成这个主意。
  • Frankly speaking, I'm not opposed to reform.坦率地说,我不反对改革。
22 abysmal 4VNzp     
  • The film was so abysmal that I fell asleep.电影太糟糕,看得我睡着了。
  • There is a historic explanation for the abysmal state of Chinese cuisine in the United States.中餐在美国的糟糕状态可以从历史上找原因。
23 tornadoes d428421c5237427db20a5bcb22937389     
n.龙卷风,旋风( tornado的名词复数 )
  • Tornadoes, severe earthquakes, and plagues create wide spread havoc. 龙卷风、大地震和瘟疫成普遍的毁坏。 来自互联网
  • Meteorologists are at odds over the working of tornadoes. 气象学者对龙卷风的运动方式看法不一。 来自互联网
24 wrenching 30892474a599ed7ca0cbef49ded6c26b     
n.修截苗根,苗木铲根(铲根时苗木不起土或部分起土)v.(猛力地)扭( wrench的现在分词 );扭伤;使感到痛苦;使悲痛
  • China has been through a wrenching series of changes and experiments. 中国经历了一系列艰苦的变革和试验。 来自辞典例句
  • A cold gust swept across her exposed breast, wrenching her back to reality. 一股寒气打击她的敞开的胸膛,把她从梦幻的境地中带了回来。 来自汉英文学 - 家(1-26) - 家(1-26)
25 undoing Ifdz6a     
  • That one mistake was his undoing. 他一失足即成千古恨。
  • This hard attitude may have led to his undoing. 可能就是这种强硬的态度导致了他的垮台。
26 adoption UK7yu     
  • An adoption agency had sent the boys to two different families.一个收养机构把他们送给两个不同的家庭。
  • The adoption of this policy would relieve them of a tremendous burden.采取这一政策会给他们解除一个巨大的负担。
27 fixed JsKzzj     
  • Have you two fixed on a date for the wedding yet?你们俩选定婚期了吗?
  • Once the aim is fixed,we should not change it arbitrarily.目标一旦确定,我们就不应该随意改变。
28 escalated 219d770572d00a227dc481a3bdb2c51e     
v.(使)逐步升级( escalate的过去式和过去分词 );(使)逐步扩大;(使)更高;(使)更大
  • The fighting escalated into a full-scale war. 这场交战逐步扩大为全面战争。
  • The demonstration escalated into a pitched battle with the police. 示威逐步升级,演变成了一场同警察的混战。
29 incarceration 2124a73d7762f1d5ab9ecba1514624b1     
  • He hadn't changed much in his nearly three years of incarceration. 在将近三年的监狱生活中,他变化不大。 来自辞典例句
  • Please, please set it free before it bursts from its long incarceration! 请你,请你将这颗心释放出来吧!否则它会因长期的禁闭而爆裂。 来自辞典例句
30 draconian Skvzd     
  • You can't expect the people to obey such draconian regulations.你不能指望人民服从如此严苛的规定。
  • The city needs a draconian way of dealing with robbers.这个城市需要一个严苛的办法来对付强盗。
31 awry Mu0ze     
  • She was in a fury over a plan that had gone awry. 计划出了问题,她很愤怒。
  • Something has gone awry in our plans.我们的计划出差错了。
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