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2009年1月13日 (火)

オバマ経済演説―険しい道が待ち受ける

2009/1/12

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 10(IHT/Asahi: January 12,2009)

EDITORIAL: Obama addresses crisis

オバマ経済演説―険しい道が待ち受ける

Just 12 days before taking office on Jan. 20, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, in an address on his economic policy, laid out a plan to deal with the economic crisis. It is highly unusual for a president-elect to make such high-profile policy pronouncements before actually being sworn in.

 米国のオバマ次期大統領が経済政策について演説した。就任の10日余り前であり、極めて異例のことだ。 

Since he was elected in November, Obama has acted swiftly and vigorously in preparing for his administration's handling of the crisis, appointing his economic team much earlier than usual.

 11月の当選以来、新政権の経済チーム選任を前倒しするなど、オバマ氏は危機への対処に積極姿勢を際立たせてきた。

Obama's aggressive actions raised hopes of an early economic recovery among the American people, helping to temporarily lift the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 9,000.

国民の期待も高まり、ニューヨーク市場の株価が一時9000ドルを上回った。

But the latest employment data, showing a further deterioration of the job situation, provoked rumblings that it could be too late if Obama waited until his inauguration to announce his plan to tackle the economy.

だが、ここにきて雇用情勢のさらなる悪化が表面化し、20日に就任してから対策を打ち出すのでは遅いとの不満も出始めていた。

The unprecedented speech was apparently his response to a growing sense of crisis among Americans.

前例のない演説は、そんな危機感に背中を押された結果でもあるようだ。 

In the Thursday speech, Obama candidly talked about the nation's perilous economic outlook.

 オバマ氏は、米経済の厳しい見通しを率直に語った。

"If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years," he warned. "The unemployment rate could reach double digits. Our economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity, which translates into more than $12,000 in lost income for a family of four."

「行動を起こさなければ、フル操業時に比べて活動規模が1兆ドル落ち込み、失業率は2ケタへ上昇する。一家4人の家族で1万2千ドルの減収になりかねない」

"In short, a bad situation could become dramatically worse."

「景気後退は何年も長引く恐れがある」「(経済情勢は)劇的に悪化する可能性がある」――。

Obama was apparently trying to dampen expectations among Americans of an early economic upturn.

安易な期待を今のうちに冷ましておく狙いもありそうだ。 

In the address, Obama reiterated his intention to save or create at least 3 million jobs over the next two years through a fiscal stimulus package worth up to $775 billion. The amount represents more than 5 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

 演説では、2年間で7750億ドルにのぼる財政出動により300万人の雇用を創出する方針を確認した。財政出動は国内総生産(GDP)の5%を上回る。

The centerpieces of the package are tax cuts and public works spending.

柱は減税と公共事業だ。 

The envisioned tax cuts focus on middle-class and low-income households in line with Obama's campaign promises. In addition, the new administration would also cut corporate taxes to stimulate job creation and business investment.

 減税は、オバマ氏の持論である中間層や低所得層を対象としたものが中心。これに加え、雇用や設備投資の上積みを促すために企業減税も行う。

Obama's public spending programs include projects to build and enhance infrastructure like roads and bridges and modernize schools and other public facilities, investments in energy-saving technologies and a program to computerize medical records for better and more efficient health care.

公共事業には、道路・橋といったインフラ整備、学校など公共施設の近代化や省エネ投資、国民医療情報の電子化といったメニューが並ぶ。 

The U.S. government is already in crisis mode, seemingly ready to take all necessary policy measures to save the sinking economy.

 米国はすでに政策総動員の構えになっている。

U.S. policymakers created a $700-billion rescue fund to restore stability in financial markets and made dramatic monetary policy moves. Monetary authorities lowered the benchmark interest rate to virtually zero and launched a quantitative easing program to inject money directly into the economy at the end of last year.

金融システム対策で総額7千億ドルにのぼる金融救済法を用意し、金融政策では昨年暮れに事実上のゼロ金利と量的緩和に踏み切った。 

The proposed fiscal expansion is expected to increase the U.S. budget deficit for fiscal 2009 to a record high of well above $1 trillion.

 財政出動の結果、09年度の財政赤字は1兆ドルを大きく突破し、最悪の水準になる見込みだ。

Obama has warned about the prospect of "trillion-dollar deficits for years to come." To put a floor under the deepening global recession, it is vital to prevent the bottom from falling out of the U.S. economy.

オバマ氏は「向こう数年は1兆ドル規模の赤字が続く可能性がある」という。世界経済の底割れを防ぐためにも、まずは米国経済の底割れを何としても防がねばならない。 

Obama wants to get the bills to implement his economic plan enacted as soon as possible, preferably in early February. But the political climate is not necessarily favorable for the policy prescriptions he believes will get the economy moving again.

 オバマ氏は2月上旬にも関連法案を成立させたい意向だが、政治的な環境は甘くない。

In an apparent effort to win support for his package from Republicans who prefer tax cuts to spending increases, Obama has promised to spend about 40 percent of the amount on tax cuts.

減税重視の共和党に配慮して、総額の約4割を減税とした。

But calls for additional measures and revisions to his plan are growing among both Democrats and Republicans, raising concerns about a delay in getting the legislation passed.

だが、与野党双方から対策の追加や修正を求める声が噴出しており、成立が遅れる恐れもある。

But U.S. lawmakers must avoid any replay of the legislative debacle over the financial rescue bill last autumn, when Congress' initial rejection of the bill triggered a stock market tumble.

採決がずれ込んで株価の暴落を招いた昨秋の金融救済法の繰り返しになってはいけない。 

It is, however, unclear whether Obama's package, even if it is implemented smoothly, will even produce the desired results.

 対策をスムーズに実施しても、期待されている効果を発揮できるか未知数だ。

If Obama fails after expending a great deal of political capital, fears of a mammoth U.S. budget deficit could destroy confidence in the dollar, the world's key currency.

オバマ氏が求心力を失えば、巨額の財政赤字への不安が基軸通貨ドルへの不信につながるかもしれない。

Undoubtedly, Obama has a long and tricky policy challenge ahead of him, much like trying to walk on the the edge of a sword.

剣の刃の上を行くような細くて長い道のりだ。

The world is pinning its hopes on strong, proactive leadership from Obama.

先手先手のリーダーシップに世界の期待がかかる。

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