香山リカのココロの万華鏡:消費税に不信感 /東京

April 08, 2012(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Distrust toward the consumption tax hike
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:消費税に不信感 /東京

Will the consumption tax finally be raised? The plan is said to be to increase it to 8 percent in April 2014 and 10 percent in October 2015.

When I mention the proposed consumption tax hike at university, many students say, "I'm just barely getting by on my part-time wages.

If the price of things needed for daily living goes up further, I'll be in trouble." However, afterwards, they say, as if to themselves, "But without the raise there won't be enough money for social security, so it can't be helped."

I think that after the Great East Japan Earthquake, many people hold a stronger feeling that rather than thinking only about their own gains or losses, everyone in society has to share the burden.

However, there is one big problem, and that is lingering distrust that the money gathered by raising the consumption tax will really be used for the benefit of everyone.

According to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, all the income from the consumption tax will be used for social security payments and child-raising measures, but people do not believe this.

They hold suspicions that however much money is taken by the government, it will not lead to improved social security in their lives. They suspect that the money will be used to plug budget deficits elsewhere.

During debates on the consumption tax, it is often cited that in northern Europe "all countries have consumption tax rates of around 25 percent."

Compared to that, the figures for the Japanese consumption tax are low.

However, there is a definite difference.

In northern Europe there is very high trust amongst citizens in their governments.

Of course there are various problems there, but overall citizens trust their governments and, feeling they can receive proper services that will let them live securely, they are willing to pay high consumption taxes.

Looking at those who come into my consultation room, I think that the largest source of stress for people is distrust.

People might not believe the things others in their family, school, or workplace say.

Even if someone tells them nice words, they find a way to doubt them and wonder if they're being tricked.

It is this distrust itself that pushes people into depression and darkness.

We actually want to trust our governments.

Rather than saying, "The government's pledge to raise the consumption tax rate and use it for welfare is a lie," we should say, "I'm sure it won't act in bad faith, so although I'm not happy about it, I'll help."
「消費税を上げて福祉にあてる? どうせ口だけでしょ」などと疑わず、「あなたたちなら悪いようにはしないだろうから、うれしくはないけれど協力しましょう」と言ってみたい。

If the tax rate is increased while we are full of distrust, it will only become a big burden on both heart and wallet. 不信感いっぱいの中でただ税率だけが上がるのは、心にとっても財布にとっても大きな負担になるだけだ。

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2012年04月03日 地方版

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