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2008年12月 1日 (月)

社会保障目的税 財源確保への意義ある一歩

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 30, 2008)

A big step toward funding social security

社会保障目的税 財源確保への意義ある一歩(1130日付・読売社説)

Members of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy on Friday reached a broad agreement to transform the consumption tax into a tax for social security purposes under the so-called midterm program, a road map for tax system reforms to be carried out through the mid-2010s. Under the agreement, additional revenues accruing from a sales tax hike would be used solely to fund the social security system.

This would be a big step toward the goal of securing funds for the public pension, welfare and nursing care programs while clarifying the relationship between the tax burden and social security benefits to be shared by the public.

 社会保障給付と税負担の関係をはっきりさせ、年金や福祉、介護の財源確保に向けた大きな一歩になろう。

 経済財政諮問会議が、税制抜本改革の道筋を示す「中期プログラム」で、消費税を社会保障目的税とすることで大筋合意した。消費税の引き上げによる税収増は、社会保障給付だけに使われることになる。

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democratic Party's Research Commission on the Tax System, which also is discussing a midterm program, is expected to fall in line with the course set by the government's key economic policy panel. This is highly significant in that the government and the ruling party are taking concerted action in exploring ways to secure a stable source of funding for the country's social security system.

 並行して中期プログラムを議論している自民党税制調査会も、この方針に同調する見通しだ。安定財源確保のため、政府・与党が歩調をあわせる意義は大きい。

At the council meeting, members with backgrounds in the private sector proposed three principles for a drastic reform of the social security system that were basically approved. One of the principles is that increased revenues gained from overhauling the tax system should be entirely dedicated to necessary increases in social security benefits and not wasted on bloating the bureaucracy. Another is that the promotion of administrative reforms and fiscal expenditure discipline should be maintained.

 諮問会議では、民間議員が〈1〉税制抜本改革による増収額はすべて社会保障給付の必要な増分に充て、官の肥大化には使わせない〈2〉行革の推進と歳出規律を維持する――など、抜本改革の3原則を提案し、基本的に了承された。

Regressivity problem obviated

The government's Tax Commission also takes a positive stance toward converting the consumption tax into a tax for social security purposes. In its tax reform proposals for fiscal 2009 that were submitted to Prime Minister Taro Aso, the commission, echoing its proposals last year, calls on the government to discuss a plan to appropriate consumption tax revenues to finance the social security system as an option for tax system reform.

 消費税を社会保障目的税とすることには、政府税制調査会も前向きだ。麻生首相に提出された来年度税制改正答申では、昨年の答申を踏襲する形で、消費税を社会保障財源に充てることを選択肢に検討を進めるよう求めている。

The commission's proposals also state that mapping out the midterm program "has great significance as the first step toward securing a stable source of financing for social security and bringing fundamental tax system reform into being."

 政府税調は答申で、中期プログラムの策定を、「社会保障の安定財源確保と税制抜本改革の具体化に向けた第一歩として重要な意義を持つ」としている。

Utilizing all the revenues from the consumption tax to fund social security benefits would alleviate the problem of the regressive nature of the consumption tax, which imposes a greater effective burden on low-income earners, because those in the low-income bracket would be given larger social security benefits under this move.

 税収をすべて社会保障給付に回すことで、低所得者ほど消費税の負担割合が高くなる「逆進性」の問題も緩和される。社会保障給付は低所得者ほど手厚い配分を受けられるからだ。

The burden on low-income earners would be even smaller should a reduced tax rate be applied to food, for example. The government should set a course for the introduction of such a reduced tax rate.

 食料品などに軽減税率を導入すれば、低所得者の負担はさらに緩和されるだろう。導入に向けた道筋をつけるべきだ。

Getting down to nitty-gritty

The remaining issue is when and by how much the consumption tax should be raised.

 残る課題は、消費税をいつ、どれだけ引き上げるかだ。

In view of the current flagging economy, it is impossible to raise the consumption tax anytime soon. But the tax should be raised without hesitation when the economy recovers. Adequate preparations must be made in this regard.

 今の景気情勢を考えれば、すぐに消費税の引き上げはできない。だが、景気回復が確認できた時点では、引き上げをためらってはなるまい。それには、あらかじめ、十分な準備をしておくことが肝要である。

The National Council on Social Security estimates that financial resources equivalent to a hike in the consumption tax rate of three or four percentage points would be necessary to fund various levels of medical and nursing care it sets out. The council also calculated in detail the resources that would needed to fund the public pension program under two scenarios--one with a revised social insurance system and another under which the public pension program is financed entirely by tax revenues.

 社会保障国民会議は、医療・介護制度の充実度合いに応じて、消費税率にして3~4%分の財源が必要とする試算結果を示している。年金についても、社会保険修正方式、全額税方式の双方で、必要額が細かく試算されている。

The basic data concerning those estimates have been released. The government and ruling parties should put the finishing touches to their proposals by utilizing this information. We hope they will present to the public as clearly as possible their ideas concerning the relationship between the social security system's burden and benefits.

 その基礎データも、すべて公開されている。政府・与党はこうした試算も参考にしながら、出来る限り詰めの作業を急ぐべきだ。負担と給付の関係を、できるだけ明確に国民に示してほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 30, 2008)

200811300155  読売新聞)

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