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2012年4月15日 (日)

米大統領選 経済再生への戦略を競い合え

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Apr. 14, 2012)
U.S. candidates should debate economic recovery strategies
米大統領選 経済再生への戦略を競い合え(4月13日付・読売社説)

Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor from the Republican Party, is certain to face off against incumbent Barack Obama in the U.S. presidential election in November.

Now that former Sen. Rick Santorum, who had been running second in the Republican primary race, has announced the end of his campaign, front-runner Romney is expected to win the party's presidential nomination. He now faces the urgent task of unifying the Republican Party.

One area of focus in the heated battle anticipated between Obama and Romney is likely to be measures to rehabilitate the U.S. economy.

Although the U.S. economy has shown signs of picking up, its outlook remains unclear. Congressional passage of legislation containing steps to reduce the United States' massive budgetary deficit is not yet in sight. We hope the U.S. presidential candidates will hold policy debates based on stark reality.

Obama is seeking to implement both stimulus measures and mid- and long-term fiscal rehabilitation programs simultaneously.

The president aims to maintain or expand social security and health-care insurance systems, and turn around sluggish employment through such steps as investment in public works projects and education. He also plans to increase taxes for the wealthy and slash defense spending.

However, his prospects of introducing such measures remain dim, as the House of Representatives is controlled by Republicans.


Romney eyes small government

Romney is an affluent businessman who successfully managed an equity investment company. Well versed in the economy, Romney has criticized Obama's performance, saying the country needs a president who knows how the real economy works.

Romney has called for "small government." He intends to cut government spending on social security and other programs and aims to buoy the economy through private-sector initiative by easing regulations. He reportedly has no intention of reducing national defense spending and is calling for cuts in corporate and income taxes.

Despite his opposition to tax increases, Romney has been vague about how to fund his measures despite a decline in the government's tax revenue.

Whether the U.S. economy can recover would greatly affect the global economy. Rising gasoline prices, triggered by uncertainty over Iran, are a major concern. The economic crisis in Europe and the U.S. relationship with China, its largest trade partner, are also likely to be variables in the fate of its economy.


Foreign policy also key

Foreign and security policies are connected closely to economic policies.

Romney has already taken a hard-line attitude toward China, saying that once he takes office the United States would designate China as a "currency manipulator" that does not play by international rules.

Obama has also announced a new body to challenge unfair trading by China in an apparent step to prevent criticism that his administration is weak-kneed.

The tense relationship between the United States and China likely will have great impact on international politics. The two countries are expected to play an increasingly important role in dealing with North Korea and Iran.

From such a viewpoint, we cannot keep our eyes off the battle between Obama and Romney.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 13, 2012)
(2012年4月13日01時13分  読売新聞)


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