日本的增税考验

东京—10月伊始,日本首相安倍晋三宣布其政府将从明年4月开始把日本消费税率从5%提高到8%,并在此基础上的18个月后提高到10%。与之最鲜明的对比莫过于眼下在美国发生的事情。美国总统奥巴马的国内反对者因为潜在的财富转移效应而抵制他签署卫生立法;而日本官僚正在试图重振税收收入管理大权以支持社会福利计划。

提高日本消费税率的理由很多。日本政府背着巨大的债务负担,其消费税率显著低于欧洲增值税率的普遍水平。与此同时,日本的有效公司税率高于其他国家,这导致日本难以吸引国内外投资。为了重振国际税收竞争力——从而能够依赖公司税作为收入源——从长期看日本的公司税率应该降低。

尽管如此,日本经济才刚刚从15年多的停滞中复苏,如此剧烈的消费税提高并不可取。事实上,如此大幅度的增税很少(如果有的话)实施,因为这可能刺激消费者在新税制实施之前抢先消费,从而降低未来消费。此外,任何突然的税收负担都会导致沉重的损失。

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