「ほっ」と。キャンペーン

来年度予算案 辻褄合わせはもう限界だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 26, 2010)
Fiscal 2011 budget fails to address key issues
来年度予算案 辻褄合わせはもう限界だ(12月25日付・読売社説)

The Cabinet approved a record 92.41 trillion yen fiscal 2011 budget at its meeting on Friday.
 2011年度予算案が24日、閣議決定された。総額92兆4100億円は過去最大である。

The Finance Ministry probably would like to engage in a bit of old-style wordplay to read the total figure as "kuni yoi," meaning "country in good condition," as the digit 9 can be read as "ku," 2 as "ni," 4 as "yo" and 1 as "i."
 かつて恒例だった数字の語呂合わせをすれば、財務省なら「国、良い」とでも言いたいところだろう。

However, if one looks at the severe reality of the budget, which depends on debt, such an optimistic assessment would be unwarranted.
だが、借金頼みのお寒い内容を見れば、そんな甘い評価など到底出来まい。

This is the second budget compilation since the Democratic Party of Japan-led administration was established last year. However, the administration of Prime Minister Naoto Kan does not have any effective measures to cope with the revenue shortfall. Instead, it only shows its determination to continue its unreasonable handout policies.
 昨年の政権交代以来、民主党政権による予算編成は2度目だ。しかし、菅内閣は財源不足に抜本的な手を打たず、無理なバラマキ政策を継続する意思を示した。

In such a situation, it is impossible to escape from the nation's chronic state of deficits. Looking at this budget, this is certainly the last time the DPJ-led administration will be able to make ends meet by unreasonably using bonds to balance revenue and expenditures. Many citizens must feel anxious now.
 これでは赤字体質も改善しようがない。歳入と歳出の辻褄(つじつま)合わせもいよいよ限界だと、多くの国民が不安を感じる予算になった。


44 tril. yen govt bond issue set
 ◆国債発行は依然44兆円◆

The outstanding feature of the fiscal 2001 budget is 28.7 trillion yen in social security-related costs, exceeding half of general expenditures. Debt-servicing costs came to 21.5 trillion yen.
 11年度予算案の歳出は、社会保障関係費が28・7兆円と、一般歳出全体の半分を超えたのが目を引く。国債の償還や利払いに充てる国債費は21・5兆円である。

On the revenue side, tax income will be 40.9 trillion yen, up more than 3 trillion yen from the initial fiscal 2010 budget. It regained the 40-trillion yen mark for the first time in two years.
 一方の歳入面。税収は10年度当初より3兆円以上増えて40・9兆円と、40兆円台を回復する。

However, nontax revenue comes to only 7.2 trillion yen, even if the so-called buried treasure of reserve funds in special accounts is frantically scooped up.
 だが、税外収入は、埋蔵金を必死にかき集めても7・2兆円にとどまる。

As a result, the revenue shortfall is covered by issuance of government bonds worth a hefty 44.3 trillion yen, almost identical to the amount in the 2010 budget, which was the largest-ever issuance in an initial budget.
結局、歳入の不足分は、当初予算として最も多かった10年度とほぼ同じ、44・3兆円もの国債を出して賄う。

It will be the second year in a row that government bond issuance exceeds tax revenue. For the latest budget, the government depends on bonds for 48 percent of its revenue. What on earth does the government think about this abnormal situation?
 国債発行額が税収を超えるのは2年連続だ。歳入の国債依存度は48%にのぼる。この異常な事態を政府はどう捉えているのか。

"We met the target of capping bond issuance at [about] 44 trillion yen," Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda emphasized.
 野田財務相は「国債発行の上限を44兆円とする目標は守られた」と強調する。

Indeed, the target is stipulated in the fiscal management strategy the government compiled in June.
確かにこの目標は、政府が今年6月にまとめた財政運営戦略に盛り込まれている。

However, it is utter nonsense to make the largest-ever issuance the upper limit. More reasonably, the government should aim at reducing the amount.
 だが、過去最大の発行額を上限とすること自体がナンセンスだ。削減を目指すのが筋だろう。

The fiscal management strategy also aims at achieving a surplus in the primary balance in state and local finances by fiscal 2020.
 財政運営戦略には、国と地方の基礎的財政収支(プライマリーバランス)を2020年度までに黒字化するという目標もある。

If this is the goal of fiscal rehabilitation, the fiscal 2011 budget should have been the first step toward that end, but the government stumbled at this initial step.
 これを財政再建の最終着地点とするなら、まず11年度予算で大きく改善の一歩を踏み出さねばならないが、最初からつまずいた。

Consumption tax issue evaded
 ◆消費税から逃げたツケ◆

This was arguably the result of the Kan administration's procrastination in raising the consumption tax rate. In inaugurating his administration in June, Kan emphasized the need to raise the consumption tax rate. And in this summer's House of Councillors election, he even touched upon the possibility of raising the current rate of 5 percent to 10 percent.
 それも、菅内閣が消費税率の引き上げを先送りしたツケといえよう。菅首相は、6月の就任に当たり、消費税率引き上げの必要性を訴え、夏の参院選では税率10%に言及した。

It was probably because he realized the need for fiscal rehabilitation as he attended international conferences as the finance minister and studied fiscal matters until immediately before assuming the prime minister's post. As the leader of the nation, his raising the issue of the need to increase the consumption tax is proper.
 首相になる直前まで、財務相として国際会議などに出席し、財政再建の必要性に目覚めたからだろう。これは国の指導者として、当然の姿勢である。

However, he was criticized by opposition parties when he abruptly proposed a discussion of the consumption tax issue. Even within the DPJ, many opposed the move because it would put the party at a disadvantage in the election. Kan then cooled his rhetoric on the matter considerably. After the party's huge defeat in the upper house election, he rarely touched upon the issue. We quite regret his change of attitude.
 だが、発言に唐突感があったことなどで野党から批判され、民主党内からも「選挙対策上、マイナス」との反発を受けると、一気にトーンダウンした。参院選敗北後は、ほとんど触れなくなった。極めて遺憾である。

The factor that made the confusion in budget compilation complete was an obsession with the DPJ's manifesto for last year's House of Representatives election. A prime example of this is an increase in the amount of child-rearing allowances.
 予算編成の迷走に輪をかけたのが、民主党の政権公約(マニフェスト)へのこだわりだ。子ども手当の増額がその象徴といえる。

Currently, a monthly payment of 13,000 yen per child is given to families with children. Because the DPJ manifesto stipulates 26,000 yen per child a month, the government will increase the monthly amount by 7,000 yen per child younger than 3 years old to bring the payments closer to the full amount. This will require about 210 billion yen in revenue in fiscal 2011.
 子ども手当は現在、月1万3000円支給されている。政権公約では月2万6000円としているため、政府は満額に近づけようと、3歳未満を対象に月7000円増額する。必要な財源は来年度2100億円に上る。

In addition, the administration included funding in the budget for policies related to its election pledges for such things as making expressways toll-free and income compensation for individual farmers. Such actions are unbelievable, considering the government's lack of revenue sources.
 このほか、高速道路無料化や農家の戸別所得補償など、公約関連項目は、予算を上積みしている。財源がないというのに、理解しがたい対応である。

The government has decided to increase taxes for high-income earners to mainly secure revenue for programs with increased budgets. This is a problem.
 政府は、これら増額分の財源確保などのため、高所得層への増税を決めた。これは問題だ。

High-income earners support the Japanese economy, and their consumer confidence is high. Targeting them may invite a drain of talented people to foreign countries, for instance, which would work against the aims of the government. The government should immediately withdraw the tax hike plan.
 日本経済を支え、消費意欲も高い高所得層をねらい撃ちすれば、人材の海外流出などを招いて、逆効果になりかねない。こうした増税は撤回すべきである。

When the government decides on recommendations for social security reforms, which were discussed concurrently with the budget compilation, it is highly likely to avoid any reform accompanied by an increased burden to taxpayers for such programs as health care for the aged and nursing care insurance.
 一方、予算編成と同時に進められた社会保障改革では、高齢者医療や介護保険で、負担増を伴う改正が、軒並み退けられる見通しとなっている。

The DPJ backed away from drastic reform ahead of the nationwide local elections next spring to avoid inviting a fierce reaction from voters. This is a shameful action for a ruling party.
 来春の統一地方選を前に、有権者の反発を恐れて民主党の腰が引けてしまった。政権党として情けない限りだ。

Revise manifesto
 ◆マニフェスト見直しを◆

As the fiscal 2011 budget was approved by the Cabinet, long-term debts of the central and local governments are expected to reach 891 trillion yen at the end of of fiscal 2011, or 1.84 times the nation's gross domestic product. The figure is far worse than even that of Greece, which suffered fiscal collapse.
 11年度予算案の決定で、国と地方の長期債務は11年度末で891兆円と、国内総生産(GDP)の1・84倍に及ぶ見通しになった。財政破綻したギリシャなどよりはるかに悪い数値である。

To prevent the nation's finances from collapsing, sufficient tax revenues must be secured. It is clear that raising the consumption tax rate is the only measure. The consumption tax is also a dependable source of revenue for supporting social security programs.
 破綻を回避するには税収の確保が肝要だが、それには消費税率引き上げしか手がないのは、はっきりしている。社会保障財源の手当てでも頼りは消費税だ。

The DPJ said in its 2009 manifesto that a huge amount of money can be squeezed from state coffers simply by correcting wasteful uses of tax revenue. Now everybody knows that was unrealistic.
 民主党は政権公約で、税の無駄遣いを正せば、巨額な財源が捻出できるとしていた。それが画餅だったことは明白である。

Now, as we are at the end of the year, the Kan administration should decide to raise the consumption tax next year. It should also honestly admit its mistakes in its 2009 manifesto and drastically revise it.
 菅内閣は来年こそ、消費税率の引き上げを決断すべきだ。政権公約の誤りも正直に認め、大胆に見直す必要がある。

Unless it overcomes these two important problems, the nation will be put on the wrong course and could face fiscal collapse.
 この二つの懸案をクリアしなければ、いずれ財政は破綻し、国を誤ることになろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 25, 2010)
(2010年12月25日01時32分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2010-12-26 07:55 | 英字新聞

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