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经济学人:日本准备提高消费税

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Japan’s consumption tax

日本的消费税

Taxonomics

税收经济学

A crucial rise in a controversial levy may be in doubt

提高富有争议的税收引来质疑

Aug 3rd 2013 | TOKYO |From the print edition

THE Japanese are among the world’s most reluctant taxpayers. They reserve their deepest loathing for value-added tax (VAT). That may be because one of the inventors of VAT, Carl Shoup, an American economist, used them as guinea pigs for his new levy during the occupation after the second world war. Japan soon scrapped VAT, reintroducing a “consumption tax” only in 1989. This quickly became as hated as its foreign-imposed forerunner.

日本人是世界上最不情愿的纳税人之一。他们对增值税恨之入骨。可能是因为增值税的发明者之一,美国经济学家Carl Shoup在二战之后用他们作为其新税收类型的小白鼠。日本很快废除了增值税,直到1989年重新引入了一种消费税。很快人们也烦透了这一税收。

The gaijin are watching again as Japan struggles to raise the consumption tax for only the second time since its introduction. The IMF, the OECD (a Paris-based club of mainly rich countries) and local institutions all reckon a series of rises is the only way for Japan to control its gross public debt, approaching 250% of GDP.

近日日本开始准备第二次提高消费税,这引来了外国人的再次关注。货币基金组织,经合组织和日本国内机构都认为日本控制国债的唯一方法就是提高税收。日本国债已达到GDP的250%之多。

The Democratic Party of Japan, which won legislative backing for the hike last year, argued that without it Japan could soon go the way of Greece. Financial markets have counted on the tax rise going ahead despite a change of government since then. This week the authorities surprised them by saying they would set up a panel to examine whether to proceed as planned.

日本的民主党在去年取得了增税的立法支持。民主党表示若不增税,日本可能陷入希腊的境地。从那时起,尽管政府任职有所变动,金融市场一直指望着增税的到来。本周,政府宣布成立专家小组讨论是否增税,这让金融界大为震惊。

The plan is to lift the levy from 5% to 8% next April and to 10% in 2015. That would bite just as Abenomics, a popular three-part plan to reflate the economy, designed by Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, is taking off. The first two stages, a radical monetary loosening by the Bank of Japan (BoJ) and a generous fiscal stimulus, were aimed at jolting consumers out of their deflationary mindset and inspiring firms to invest. But so far it is mainly the urban wealthy and big firms that are benefiting. A consumption-tax increase, on the other hand, would immediately lighten all pockets.

日本计划明年四月将消费税从5%提高至8%,到2015年进一步提高到10%。由首相安倍晋三设计的安倍经济计划是一个三步走计划,意在重振日本经济,即将开始施行。增税会对安倍经济计划产生不良影响。前两步是通过日本银行激进的货币宽松政策和强劲的财政刺激,去除消费者通货紧缩的思维定势,激励企业投资。但是到目前为止,只有城市财富和大公司从中获利。另一方面,消费税的增加会立即使人们的财富减少。

The fear is that a rise in revenues from the tax could be far outweighed by years of lost growth if consumers take fright. The only other consumption-tax rise, of 2% in 1997, was blamed for consigning Japan to a second lost decade, though this coincided with other events such as the Asian financial crisis. Without counting broader knock-on effects, says Robert Feldman of Morgan Stanley, the 3% rise scheduled for 2014 would reduce GDP by over 1%.

最大的隐患是如若消费者产生恐慌心理,税收的收益会远低于经济增长放缓的损失。唯一的一次消费税增税出现在1997年,增加了2%,被指责使日本陷入了二次衰退。尽管这次衰退还有这其他诸如亚洲金融危机等的原因。摩根斯坦利的Robert Feldman表示,不算其带来的连锁效应,2014年增税3%会使GDP减少至少1%。

An alternative could be to lift the tax more gradually. Koichi Hamada, an economist at Yale University who helped to design Abenomics, has said that the levy could be raised in increments of 1% over five years. Mr Abe’s panel will study this option, among others. As long as the tax is raised significantly in some way, says Naka Matsuzawa at Nomura Securities, the bond market would probably stay calm.

另一种方法是更循序渐进的增税。耶鲁大学的经济学家Koichi Hamada参与设计了安倍经济计划。他表示增税可以在未来的五年增加1%。安倍先生的团队会研究这一策略。野村证券的Naka Matsuzawa认为,如果增税,债券市场可能会保持冷静。

Ditching the tax increase entirely remains unthinkable. Recent economic indicators, such as strong real annualised GDP growth of 4.1% in the first quarter, as well as a slightly improved jobs market, leave Mr Abe with little excuse but to go ahead. The BoJ this week added its voice to those pushing for a rise. And taxpayers may be more accepting than the politicians think. An unscientific straw poll by The Economist found that seven out of ten shoppers in Ginza, a high-end shopping district, were ready for a tax increase, as narrowly preferable to a debt crisis.

整个的放弃税收增长是不可想象的。最近的经济指标,诸如一季度强劲的真实年化GDP增长达到4.1%,还有人力市场状况的轻微回暖,这些都使得安倍政府必须接着干。本周,日本银行也宣布支持增税。纳税人可能比政治家想的更容易接受增税。经济学人做的一份非学术民意调查发现,七成东京银座的消费者选择准备好了迎接受增税,而不是迎接债务危机。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
proceed [prə'si:d]

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vi. 继续进行,开始,着手

联想记忆
lighten ['laitn]

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v. 点亮,变亮,减轻

 
district ['distrikt]

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n. 区,地区,行政区
vt. 把 ... 划

 
option ['ɔpʃən]

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n. 选择权,可选物,优先购买权
v. 给予选

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inspiring [in'spaiəriŋ]

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adj. 令人振奋的,激励人的,鼓舞人心的

 
preferable ['prefərəbl]

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adj. 更好的,更合意的

 
unscientific ['ʌn,saiən'tifik]

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adj. 不科学的,不符合科学原理的;非学术的;无科学知

 
reserve [ri'zə:v]

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n. 预备品,贮存,候补
n. 克制,含蓄

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levy ['levi]

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n. 征税,召集
vt. 征收,发动(战争

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securities

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n. 有价证券;担保;保证人;抵押物(security的

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