「ほっ」と。キャンペーン

少子化対策 「手当」「無償化」で済むのか

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Aug. 21, 2009)
Parties must grapple with declining birthrate
少子化対策 「手当」「無償化」で済むのか(8月21日付・読売社説)

A report compiled by a government advisory panel on social security issues states, "The declining birthrate is the biggest challenge confronting Japan."
Meanwhile, a report released by a different government advisory panel studying strategies to realize a "secure" society notes, "The continuously declining birthrate is 'a quietly advancing emergency.'"
 「少子化は日本が直面する最大の課題」
 「少子化の進展は“静かな有事”である」
 前者は政府の社会保障国民会議、後者は同じく安心社会実現会議の報告書の一文だ。

The ruling parties and, by the same token, the opposition parties would be foolish to challenge these views.
与党はもちろん、野党もこの認識に異論はあるまい。

The nation's total fertility rate--the estimated number of children a woman will bear in her lifetime--has improved slightly to 1.37. However, this is still a very low figure, and the number of children in the country continues to decrease each year.
 合計特殊出生率は1・37とわずかに上向いたものの、低迷を続けている。子どもの数は年々減少する一方だ。

===

Financial incentives

It was inevitable that the political parties would put expanded support measures for child-rearing families at the heart of their policy pledges for the upcoming House of Representatives election.
衆院選で、各党が子育て支援の充実を公約の中核に据えたことは当然だろう。

In particular, the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan has proposed the creation of a child allowance scheme that would provide 26,000 yen per month for each child up to middle school age.
 特に民主党は、中学生以下の子ども1人当たり月2万6000円を支給する「子ども手当」の創設を掲げた。

We applaud the party for proposing such a bold plan.
大胆に経済支援を打ち出したこと自体は評価できる。

However, it is crucially important to find fiscal resources to fund this idea.
 それには財源の裏付けが不可欠だ。

Under the envisaged plan, the child allowance would be provided across-the-board, regardless of family income levels, and could end up totaling about 5.3 trillion yen.
子ども手当は、所得に制限を設けず一律支給するため、5兆3000億円が必要になる。

The DPJ intends to raise part of the funds through such measures as scrapping tax deductions for spouses. However, this would still leave a shortfall of about 3 trillion yen, which the party insists could be covered by reviewing the state budget, among other measures.
 民主党は、配偶者控除を廃止するなどして財源の一部をまかなう方針だが、それでも約3兆円足りない。この分は予算の見直しなどで捻(ねん)出(しゅつ)する、という。

With the abolition of the spouse deduction, tax burdens would be heavier for some households, such as those without children or those that contain women who already have raised children. Conversely, households with children--even high-income homes--would be entitled to the child allowance.
 また、配偶者控除を廃止することで、子どもがいないか、子育てを終えた専業主婦のいる家庭などでは負担増になる場合がある。一方で、子どもがいれば、所得の高い世帯にも手当は支給される。

The DPJ argues that child-rearing should be supported by society as a whole and that the financial burden should be shared. A considerable number of people, however, have voiced objections to the proposed measures.
 民主党は、子育ては社会全体で応援し負担を分担しよう、と訴えているが、こうした措置には異論も少なくない。

In an apparent bid to counter the DPJ's proposals, the Liberal Democratic Party and its ruling coalition partner, New Komeito, have posited that preschool education be free.
 自民党と公明党は、子ども手当に対抗するように「幼児教育の無償化」を打ち出した。

The parties have yet to work out the details of the plan, such as whether unauthorized day care centers should fall within the remit of the scheme. Even if only kindergartens and authorized day care centers were covered, it would still cost about 800 billion yen. As the consumption tax rate is unlikely to be raised anytime soon, no permanent revenue source has been identified to fund this plan.
 無認可の保育所まで対象にするのかなど、具体的な検討はこれからだが、幼稚園と認可保育所に絞っても約8000億円が必要になる。これも、消費税の引き上げが実現するまで恒久財源のめどはたっていない。

===

Additional measures

The child allowance scheme and the provision of free preschool education--moves apparently aimed at wooing voters--should not be relied upon too heavily as the main measures for coping with the declining birthrate.
 「手当」と「無償化」という、選挙での受けを狙った政策が突出することは、少子化対策として好ましいことではない。

In addition to the financial support for households, improved administrative services, such as more day care centers, also should be considered as priorities for child-raising families.
 子育て家庭には、経済支援とともに、保育所の増設など行政サービスの充実も重要だ。

Regardless of which party takes up the reins of government following the general election, the new administration will have to focus on fulfilling the vote-garnering financial support measures pledged during the election battle. We think the ruling and opposition parties should first and foremost strive during the election campaign to offer grander visions for tackling the declining birthrate.
 ところが、このままではどの党が政権についても、選挙でアピール合戦をした経済支援に集中せざるを得なくなるだろう。与野党は少子化対策の全体像を示すことによって競い合うべきだ。

Voters, for their part, must carefully consider which party has the clearest concept for expanding the support measures, and sourcing and allocating the necessary financial resources.
 有権者は、ビジョンを持って施策を拡充しようとしている政党はどこか、財源の裏付けとともに見極める必要があろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 21, 2009)
(2009年8月21日01時35分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2009-08-21 09:09 | 英字新聞

<< 憲法改正 「国づくり」の基本を... 金大中氏死去 問われ続ける太陽... >>