AMPONTAN

Japan from the inside out

Can’t they find anybody who can read?

Posted by ampontan on Saturday, September 4, 2010

WRITING FOR the Market Watch website, Lisa Twaronite thinks what she calls the “Ozawa Shock”–the candidacy and possible victory of Ozawa Ichiro in the Democratic Party presidential election next month–may have been a factor in boosting bond yields in Japan for the first time in about a year of blue moons. She also allows that other factors may have played a role.

She may be right, but if she is, it would be the classic case of the broken clock being correct twice a day. For example:

Kan is known as a fiscal conservative, whereas Ozawa is more expansionary, calling for even more stimulus.

Kan Naoto has been called many names, but “fiscal conservative” is not one of them. This is the same man who claims that raising taxes in a deflationary period and spending the revenue “in the right places” will create sustainable growth.

Well, let’s be fair. He doesn’t really make those claims. He’s just the ventriloquist’s dummy speaking in the poorly disguised voices of his economic tutors and Finance Ministry handlers.

This is the same man who–FOUR DAYS AGO–proposed an additional stimulus package worth JPY 920 billion.

On what plane of consciousness does that count as “fiscal conservatism”? And did you notice that she thinks Mr. Ozawa is the man calling for an extra stimulus?

She also writes:

The latest opinion polls show Ozawa’s public support ratings are down in the teens, while Kan’s are around 70%…

That’s true–in response to the question, who would you prefer to see as the DPJ candidate. Mr. Kan’s public support ratings as the head of government are nowhere near that. When the public is specifically asked to choose between the two men, he benefits from the public’s dislike of Mr. Ozawa.

Then she says:

But part of is likely due to Ozawa, and his refusal to quit the DPJ race, even though he is under investigation for a political funds scandal and could face indictment.

He just got into the race last week because of Mr. Kan’s refusal to step down after his party took a pasting in the upper house elections last month. How does that translate into a “refusal to quit”, even though, as she admits, the race is too close to call?

She asks:

If Ozawa succeeds in becoming prime minister, will fiscal reform go by the wayside?

Yes, if you think fiscal reform consists of sharp increases in both the consumption tax and the personal income tax rates, and policies similar to those now corroding the American economy.

Whoever wins the DPJ election, the big loser will be the Japanese economy. Yet what conclusion does Ms. Twaronite draw?

(T)here could be some very happy hedge fund traders out there.

If Market Watch saw fit to hire someone with some basic knowledge of current events in Japan, there could be some very happy readers out there.

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4 Responses to “Can’t they find anybody who can read?”

  1. Roual Deetlefs said

    Ai yai yai.

  2. 21st Century Schizoid Man said

    I saw 75% supporting rate for Kan recently…. was I dreaming (nightmaring)? I wondered how 3 out of 4 Japanese support the guy about whom I only remember that DOGEZA (being flat for apologies) he performed for patients suffering from Minamata syndrom a decade ago when he was Minister of Public Health and Labor. I would recheck supporting rate but now it is time to go to bed….

    L and D both want 10% consumption tax so soon we have 10% and it is easier to go for 15%. It would be further easier to go for 25 to 30% from there.

    I would spend my spending faster and invest in my investment (not into financial products, but into what my wife calls for – reforming my house) within this month. The plan is a bit luxurious, hehehe.
    ———-
    2csm: Different kind of poll. The one with Kan at 70-80% is when people are asked who they would rather see win the DPJ presidency. In other words, there’s a lot of anti-Ozawa vote.

    This writer said his overall approval rate was that high, which it’s not. It was 35% at the election, 45% in mid-August (even though he did nothing in the interim).

    The only Cabinets with 70% approval ratings have been Hosokawa at the start, Hatoyama at the start, and Koizumi at the start and finish.

    – A.

  3. slim said

    Isn’t it more:

    Kan: start to cut budget deficits through higher taxes (as the Kasumi bureaucrats want)

    Ozawa: stimulate a weak economy to get growth before anything else.

    ?

  4. Lisa said

    Well…..I’ve been called worse things than a “broken clock” before.

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