« 迂回献金:先物会社が与謝野氏、渡辺喜氏に ダミー通じ | トップページ | 官製談合 あきれ果てた国交省の体質 »

2009年6月25日 (木)

骨太の方針―負担先送りが招いた混迷

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 24(IHT/Asahi: June 25,2009)
EDITORIAL: End of era in fiscal policy
骨太の方針―負担先送りが招いた混迷

Fiscal policy has apparently reached the end of an era, one that was marked by renewed efforts to restore health in the nation's public finances based on annual guidelines known as Honebuto no Hoshin.
 財政健全化をめぐる格闘の歴史に刻まれる「骨太の時代」は終わった。そう見てよいのではないか。

The government on Tuesday decided on its latest Honebuto policy guidelines. They confirm that the principle of curbing growth in social security costs, a symbol of the spending reform initiative started by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and inherited by his successors, has become a dead letter.
 政府は経済財政運営の方向を示す「骨太の方針09」を決めた。小泉政権から引き継いできた歳出改革の象徴のひとつだった「社会保障費の抑制」は、与党の猛反発で空文化した。

The move reflects concerns within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party that it will take a drubbing in the next Lower House election unless it promises to fix health and nursing care problems and other troubled welfare programs.
 医療や介護など福祉のほころびを直すには、社会保障費の抑制をこれ以上続けることはできず、迫り来る総選挙はとても戦えないという状況認識の反映といえるだろう。

The era of new fiscal responsibility symbolized by the annual policy guidelines began in 2001, the year the Cabinet led by Koizumi was sworn in. Until then, fiscal discipline was maintained by the Finance Ministry as it battled calls for more spending from the iron triangle of politicians, bureaucrats and businesses.
 「骨太の時代」は小泉内閣発足の01年に始まる。それまで財政規律は、政・官・業の「鉄の三角形」による歳出圧力を大蔵省(現財務省)が抑え込む形で維持されていた。

But the budget deficit swelled in the late 1990s because of a series of fiscal stimulus packages to revitalize the flagging economy. The annual policy guidelines by the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy were designed to slam on the fiscal brakes.
だが、90年代後半の景気対策で財政赤字が急膨張。これを制御する新機軸が経済財政諮問会議での骨太の方針だった。

The Honebuto system allowed the prime minister's office to exert leadership in the development of budgets and to clean up state finances, primarily through spending cuts.
 官邸主導による予算編成と、歳出抑制を主な手段として財政再建を推進する舞台装置。

In addition, the Koizumi government took steps to reform the spending structure, for example, by cutting public works expenditures, in response to criticism by taxpayers about wasteful public spending. The Koizumi administration also went ahead with the privatization of public corporations operating toll roads and state-run postal services, espousing the importance of market principles and small government.
その上で、納税者の「無駄遣い」批判を背に、公共事業費の削減などによる歳出構造の改革を進めた。市場原理の重視や「小さな政府」の理念を武器に、道路公団や郵政事業の民営化も推進した。

But the government's fiscal policy ran into a brick wall. In its Honebuto blueprints for fiscal 2006, the Koizumi administration set five-year targets for spending cuts to impose fiscal discipline on successive governments.
 しかし財政運営はやがて壁にぶつかる。小泉内閣は「骨太06」で5年間の歳出削減・抑制目標を掲げ、後継政権を縛ろうとした。

While these fiscal targets led to budget savings, it meant the public was continually asked to endure the pain of decreasing welfare benefits. It became clear that there was a limit to Koizumi's approach to fiscal rehabilitation, which depended on spending cuts without a strategic focus and simply postponed any step to increase the tax burden on people.
節約に成果を上げた半面、福祉の抑制という「痛み」に耐えるよう国民に求め続けることになった。メリハリの乏しい歳出削減頼みで、負担増は先送りを決め込んだ手法の限界が示されたといっていい。

The current administration of Prime Minister Taro Aso has acknowledged that the nation's welfare system is in dire straits and pledged to raise the consumption tax rate after economic recovery to enhance social security programs. But Aso's first policy guidelines, announced in the run-up to the Lower House election, make no reference to the consumption tax issue.
 安倍、福田両政権は早晩、歳出構造をもっと大胆に見直すか、負担増への道を示す形で骨太の枠組みを革新する必要があったが、果たせなかった。ようやく麻生政権が福祉のほころびを認め、社会保障を強化するために景気回復後に消費税率を引き上げるという方針を掲げはしたが、総選挙を前にした「骨太」に「消費税」の文字はない。
 (世界経済危機という要因もあるにせよ、官邸の求心力、政権が何を目指すのかという方向づけの弱さが無残なまでに示された形だ。)

If main opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) defeats the LDP in the election and wins a public mandate to govern, the Honebuto framework will be discarded. But Minshuto's vow to keep the consumption tax rate unchanged for four years and find 20 trillion yen in new money to finance its proposals mainly by eliminating administrative waste is reminiscent of Koizumi's pledge to avoid a hike in the consumption tax rate while he was in office. And Minshuto's policy vision is by no means clear.
 来る総選挙で民主党が勝てば骨太の枠組みは廃されよう。だが、「消費増税を4年間封印し、行政の無駄を省くなどして20兆円をひねり出す」という民主党の方針は「在任中は消費税を上げない」とした小泉路線を思い出させる。民主党が何を目指すのかも、決して明確とはいえない。

With the era of Koizumi's reforms now over, a major challenge confronting Japanese politics is to chart a new course for the nation.
 小泉改革の次に政治が目指すべき方向性を示すことができるか。これは日本政治全体の大テーマだ。

A prolonged period of political confusion and a leadership vacuum would trigger sell-offs of Japanese government bonds by investors worried about the nation's fiscal future.
 混迷や空白が続けば、財政の将来に不安を募らせた投資家が国債を売る。

That could usher in an era when rising long-term interest rates impose "market discipline" on politics.
長期金利が上昇し、「市場の規律」が政治を縛る時代が到来しかねない。

|

« 迂回献金:先物会社が与謝野氏、渡辺喜氏に ダミー通じ | トップページ | 官製談合 あきれ果てた国交省の体質 »

03-英字新聞(朝日)」カテゴリの記事

コメント

コメントを書く



(ウェブ上には掲載しません)




« 迂回献金:先物会社が与謝野氏、渡辺喜氏に ダミー通じ | トップページ | 官製談合 あきれ果てた国交省の体質 »