消費税引き上げ 首相発言には一貫性が必要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jul. 4, 2010)
Kan's consumption tax remarks lack consistency
消費税引き上げ 首相発言には一貫性が必要だ(7月3日付・読売社説)

Prime Minister Naoto Kan's remarks on a possible hike in the consumption tax rate have been inconsistent, and some in the Democratic Party of Japan have openly criticized his wavering stance.
 消費税増税をめぐる菅首相の発言が、揺れ動いている。民主党内からは首相の方針を公然と批判する声もある。

This is bound to leave voters confused. The prime minister and the DPJ should clarify the party's views on the consumption tax and present them to the public.
 これでは有権者は戸惑ってしまう。首相と民主党は、消費税に関する党の見解をしっかりと整理し、国民に示すべきである。

The prime minister initially said that considering raising the consumption tax rate to 10 percent was a campaign pledge. Later, however, Kan changed his stance, saying the pledge only went as far as calling for suprapartisan discussions on the issue.
 首相は当初、「10%」への消費税率引き上げ検討を「公約」と明言していた。その後、公約は「超党派協議を呼びかけるところまで」と軌道修正した。

Because a consumption tax is regressive by nature, the prime minister also proposed the introduction of a refund system for people with low incomes, as they bear a heavier burden than higher earners in terms of the tax-to-income ratio.
 消費税増税によって低所得者の負担が過重になるとされる逆進性の問題への対策として、還付制度の導入も表明した。

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Who gets tax relief?

But regarding the income levels of households to be eligible for such a refund system, the prime minister has been inconsistent, referring to levels as low as 2 million yen and as high as 4 million yen.
だが、対象世帯の所得水準について、首相の発言は、年収200万円から400万円の幅でくるくる変わった。

Households with an annual income of less than 4 million yen account for nearly half of the national total. If refunds are given to such a wide range of taxpayers, the intended revenue boost from a tax hike would be lost. It also would undermine the fair distribution of tax burdens.
 年収400万円未満の世帯は全世帯の半数近くに達する。そんな広い範囲で還付を実施すれば、税収増の効果が失われるうえ、税負担の公平性も損なわれる。

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku said Kan was simply offering a basis for discussions on the issue. But we consider the prime minister's words to have grave importance. It is detrimental if the prime minister carelessly refers to figures that are not backed up by sufficient discussion.
 仙谷官房長官は「議論の材料」を提供しただけと説明するが、首相の発言は重い。十分な議論の裏付けもないまま、腰だめの数字を軽々に口にされても困る。

In the first place, Kan has yet to present a clear overall vision for tax system reform. He must clarify such basic matters as why the consumption tax rate should be raised from the current 5 percent to 10 percent and for what purpose the increased tax revenues would be used.
 そもそも首相は、税制改革全体のビジョンをいまだに明らかにしていない。なぜ、10%なのか。増収分は何に使うのか。そんな基本的なこともはっきりしない。

Critics in opposition parties have said that the DPJ's handout programs, if continued, would eat up the new revenue. Kan needs to provide a clear response on this point, too.
 野党は、民主党のバラマキ政策が維持されれば、そちらに増収分が回ると批判している。これにもしっかり答える必要がある。

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DPJ must put house in order

The discord seen within the DPJ is an even more serious problem that cannot be overlooked.
 さらに見過ごせないのが、民主党内の不協和音だ。

Former DPJ Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa has openly criticized the stance of current party executives, saying: "[The party] pledged not to raise the consumption tax rate for four years during the House of Representatives election last year. That pledge should be kept."
 小沢一郎・前幹事長は「昨年の衆院選で、4年間は消費税は上げないと言ってきた。約束はやり遂げるべきだ」などと、執行部の方針を真っ向から批判している。

As the party in power, the DPJ must not leave intraparty discord unresolved regarding tax and fiscal issues that concern the very foundation of the nation.
 政権党として、国の根幹にかかわる税財政問題での党内不一致を放置してはなるまい。

A hike in the consumption tax rate is an issue that successive administrations have avoided tackling. More than a few voters praised Kan when he put a tax increase on the table out of concern about social security revenues and worsening fiscal conditions, and asked the public to share the burden.
 消費税増税は、歴代政権が避けてきたテーマだ。社会保障財源の確保と財政悪化への危機感から、首相が増税に言及し、国民に負担の分かち合いを求めたことを評価する有権者は、少なくない。

But if such a prime minister begins to equivocate, questions could be raised about how resolute he is in seeking to raise the consumption tax rate.
 その肝心の首相が、発言をぐらつかせては、消費税率引き上げを目指す首相の決意に疑問符がつきかねない。

In the House of Councillors election in 1998, then Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto flip-flopped on the issue of permanent tax cuts. That triggered voters' distrust and led the Liberal Democratic Party to a humiliating defeat.
 1998年の参院選で、当時の橋本首相が、恒久減税に関する発言を二転三転させ、それが有権者の不信を招いて、自民党惨敗につながった例もある。

A prime minister must be consistent in his or her remarks.
 首相に求められるのは、発言の一貫性である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 3, 2010)
(2010年7月3日01時09分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2010-07-04 07:10 | 英字新聞

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