英字新聞 (読売、毎日、朝日、英字新聞の社説を学習研究 )

2012-05-01

消費税法案 軽減税率で低所得者層に配慮を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Apr. 30, 2012)
Help low-income earners with reduced tax rates for necessities
消費税法案 軽減税率低所得者層に配慮を(4月29日付・読売社説

 ◆参考にしたい欧州の先行事例

Comprehensive reform of the social security and tax systems is a top-priority issue that will influence the future course of the nation. Yet both the ruling and opposition parties have been acting too sluggishly over a bill related to the consumption tax hike.
 社会保障と税の一体改革は、日本の将来を左右する最重要課題である。消費税率引き上げ関連法案を巡る与野党の動きは緩慢すぎる。

Diet deliberations on the bill have been put off until after the Golden Week holiday period, and the bill will effectively be deliberated at a special committee from mid-May. As things stand now, it is unlikely the bill will be passed into law by June 21, the end of the current Diet session.
 関連法案の審議入りは、大型連休明けにずれ込んだ。特別委員会での実質審議は5月中旬からだ。このままでは、6月21日までの会期内に成立しそうもない。

Amid these developments, there has at last emerged within the major opposition Liberal Democratic Party a movement to discuss a counterproposal to the government's bill. This should be highly praised as a constructive stance.
 こうした中、自民党内でようやく、消費増税法案の対案を検討する動きが出てきた。建設的な姿勢として評価できる。

We want the LDP to work out the counterproposal, and debate it and the government's bill with the government.
自民党は対案をまとめ、政府に論戦を挑んでもらいたい。

===

LDP should make counterproposal
 ◆自民党は対案を示せ

Under the counterproposal that has emerged within the LDP, the consumption tax rate would be raised in one step from the current 5 percent to 10 percent in April 2015.
 自民党内で浮上した対案は、2015年4月に消費税率を現行の5%から10%へ一度に引き上げる内容である。

The LDP's idea differs from the government's proposal in how the tax hike is to be implemented, with the latter planning to raise the rate to 8 percent in April 2014 and then to 10 percent in October 2015.
 14年4月に8%、15年10月に10%へ2段階で上げる政府案とは、引き上げ方式が異なる。

The LDP, which held power for many years, is responsible for the critical fiscal situation. The party appears to be tackling the task of putting the nation's fiscal house in order seriously, though belatedly.
 長年政権を担ってきた自民党は危機的な財政状況に責任がある。遅ればせながら、財政再建へ本腰を入れようというのだろう。

The LDP also advocated the idea of raising the consumption tax to 10 percent as a campaign pledge during the House of Councillors election in 2010.
 自民党は10年の参院選でも「消費税10%」を公約していた。

As the LDP's idea is in accord with the government's plan in terms of the eventual tax rate, there should be plenty of room for it to form a consensus with the government and the Democratic Party of Japan.
引き上げ後の税率では政府案と一致しており、政府民主党合意形成を図る余地は十分あるはずだ。

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has repeatedly emphasized his determination to stake his political life on passage of the bill in the Diet.
 野田首相は、消費増税法案の成立に、「政治生命を懸ける」との覚悟を繰り返し強調している。

Noda must exercise his leadership further by cooperating with DPJ leadership, including the party's Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi, to bring about talks on the issue between the ruling and opposition parties.
 輿石幹事長民主党執行部と連携し、与野党協議の実現に一層の指導力を発揮すべきだ。

One focal issue in Diet deliberations will be how to reduce the financial burden on low-income earners if the tax rate is raised.
 消費増税法案を巡る国会審議で一つの焦点となるのは、増税にあたって、収入の少ない人の負担をいかに軽減するかである。

===

Sizable handouts problematic
 ◆ばらまき給付は問題だ

The bill would raise the rate in two phases, and also contains additional measures to aid low-income earners.
 法案は二段構えの措置を盛り込んでいる。

When the tax rate is raised to 8 percent, a simple measure to grant cash benefits will be implemented. 税率を8%にする際、低所得者に現金を渡す「簡素な給付措置」を実施する。

Additionally, when the rate is raised to 10 percent, the government will introduce a Japanese version of the earned income tax credit, whereby the amount of tax people with low incomes owe will be reduced in accordance with their income, or they will receive a tax refund in cash.
 その上で、税率を10%にする時、所得に応じて減税か、現金支給を行う「給付付き税額控除」を導入するという内容だ。

It is said that the lower one's income, the heavier the burden of the consumption tax becomes.
 消費税は、低所得者ほど負担感が大きいとされる。

Even if some measures are deemed necessary to lessen this burden, it is questionable that calls are growing within the DPJ to expand the scale of such steps, under the pretext of the simple benefit-granting step.
 それを和らげる措置は必要だとしても、民主党内で、簡素な給付措置にかこつけて金額の大幅な上積みを求める声が強まっているのは、問題ではないか。

Worthy of note in this regard is the fact that the social security portion of the government's envisaged reforms of the social security and tax systems does include support measures worth 1.4 trillion yen for low-income earners.
Among them are reduction of nursing care insurance premiums and additional pension benefit payments for people in lower income brackets.
 そもそも今回の一体改革では、社会保障分野に、介護保険料の軽減や年金給付の加算など計1兆4000億円の低所得者対策が含まれている。

Taking this into account, the government must refrain from implementing yet another handout policy by bloating the amounts of the planned cash allowances and the scope of people eligible for them.
現金支給の金額や対象範囲を膨らませ、新たなバラマキにしてはならない。

To put the EITC program into force, it is imperative for the government to establish a system that will give it a clear understanding of the income of each household.
 政府案の給付付き税額控除を実施するには、世帯所得を正確につかむことが必要になる。

Many experts are concerned, however, that even if the government employs a national numbering system to track incomes, it would be extremely difficult to have a completely accurate grasp of households' income from such sources as property holdings and financial asset.
 しかし、共通番号制度が導入されても、不動産金融資産の収入など所得全体を完全に把握するのは難しいと懸念される。

In most European countries, where value-added taxes were put in place long before Japan's introduction of the consumption tax, the tax rates are markedly high at around 20 percent. However, they adopted reduced tax rate systems aimed at lowering rates for daily necessities such as food.
 日本より前から付加価値税を導入している欧州諸国の大半は、税率こそ20%前後と高いが、食料品など生活必需品の税率を低く抑える軽減税率を採用している。

Even when a VAT rate is raised, the reduced tax rates for goods indispensable for daily life have mostly remained the same. This mechanism is well suited to the need that may arise in the future to raise taxes in a flexible way.
 税率を引き上げる場合も、暮らしに欠かせない商品は軽減税率が維持される。機動的な増税を可能にする利点と言える。

There are also many countries in which high importance has been placed on the culture of printed media and news organizations' contribution to the public good, so tax rates on such publications as newspapers and books have been kept at very low levels.
 活字文化と言論報道公共性を重視して、新聞や書籍などの税率を大幅に低くする国も多い。

The tax rates for such items are zero in Britain, 2.1 percent in France and 4 percent in Italy, which experts say demonstrates that the tradition of "not levying tax on knowledge" has taken root in these nations.
イギリス0%、フランス2・1%、イタリア4%などで、「知識には課税しない」との伝統が定着しているからだという。

===

Hold discussions immediately

Probably because Japan's consumption tax rate is substantially lower than VATs in Europe, there has so far been little discussion about the need for a system of reduced tax rates. The examples in Europe mentioned above are worth noting in this respect.
 日本では、消費税率が欧州ほど高くないため、これまで軽減税率の必要性があまり論議されなかった。欧州の先例は参考になる。

In a nationwide survey The Yomiuri Shimbun conducted earlier this month, 74 percent of respondents favored "introducing a reduced tax rate system when the consumption tax rate is raised."
 読売新聞が今月実施した世論調査では、消費税率の引き上げ時に軽減税率を「導入すべきだ」とした人が全体の74%を占めた。

It should be considered reasonable and proper that Noda said last week that his administration is ready to study the advisability of adopting a reduced tax rate system. Appearing on a TV program, the prime minister said, "I think there are a lot of proposals [for adoption of reduced tax rate system] from both the public and opposition parties, and I would like to have serious discussions on the matter."
 野田首相が先週、軽減税率を検討するという考えを表明したのは妥当な判断だ。首相はテレビ番組で、「国民や野党からいろいろ提案があると思う。真摯(しんし)に向き合った議論をしたい」と語った。

 ◆与野党は議論を急げ

Since the prime minister's remarks, the atmosphere has become more conducive to discussions on the advisability of adopting a reduced tax rate system.
 首相発言を受けて、軽減税率を議論する機運が高まっている。

Keiichi Ishii, chairman of New Komeito's Policy Research Council, said at a news conference recently: "This country may adopt a reduced tax rate system or an EITC formula, or both. It's important to clarify concrete specifics of these measures in a reliable way."
 公明党の石井政調会長記者会見で、「軽減税率の導入と給付付き税額控除のどちらもあり得る。具体的な中身をきちんと出すことが重要だ」と述べた。

The LDP, for its part, has also been studying the wisdom of introducing a reduced tax rate system for daily commodities when the consumption rate is raised to 10 percent.
 自民党も、税率を10%に引き上げた際、生活必需品軽減税率を導入する案を検討している。

The government, however, has failed to incorporate creation of a reduced tax rate system into its bill, on such grounds as that doing so would make it difficult to secure necessary tax revenues, and that it would be difficult to distinguish between goods eligible for lower rates and those that are not.
 ところが、政府は「必要な税収が確保できない」「対象の線引きが難しい」などを理由に、法案に軽減税率を盛り込んでいない。

The ruling and opposition parties are strongly urged to quickly hold in-depth discussions about what system the public would find realistic and intelligible.
 どんな制度が現実的で、国民にも分かりやすいか、与野党はしっかり議論してもらいたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 29, 2012)
(2012年4月29日01時28分  読売新聞

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