AMPONTAN

Japan from the inside out

Be careful what you ask for

Posted by ampontan on Friday, September 17, 2010

BE CAREFUL what you ask for, say the gods, because you just might get it. Here’s a case in point.

Toyota must be feeling slighted with the news that residents of the American state of Tennessee will be able to buy the new Nissan Leaf electric car at a sharp discount to the sticker price, thanks to a $US 7,500 federal government tax credit and a $US 2,500 state of Tennessee rebate. In other words:

Taxpayers will subsidize this car to about one-third of its sale price. Every time you see a Leaf drive by, you’ll know someone else is driving it thanks to you. Once again, a technology and product that has no natural market is being favored by the political class at the expense of the rest of us.

Tennessee is chipping in with taxpayer money because it’s the location of Nissan’s North American headquarters.

Back to the lead sentence: The most important political issue in Japan is the fight to wrest control of the government from the dirigistes of Kasumigaseki and put it in the hands of the political class. That’s only proper: Decisions should be made by politicians, who are accountable to the public through elections, rather than by bureaucrats, who are not.

But be careful what you ask for. Shifting control from the civil servants to the politicians is like drinking cyanide instead of hemlock. Americans, as you can see from the link, are now even more upset with political control than the Japanese are with bureaucratic control. They are not in the mood to be bribed by the government with money of the mind to buy anything, no matter how groovy it is. This writer makes it easy to understand: Political control is what’s killing us.

He also answers, in general terms, the objections of those who think using Other People’s Money to facilitate the purchase of electric cars–or whatever–is a Good Thing:

Business is a thing to be pursued and won…A pile of stimulus dollars, dangled on the end of a string, is not a revenue stream.

The Japanese media often cover a lot of trivial political stories about the United States, but they’re mostly staying mum about this big one: If current trends hold, the mid-term elections in the United States in six weeks will not be a wave election–there’ll be a tsunami crashing down on the heads of the party in power. Japanese voters have demonstrated the ability to make their own waves in elections. Now that they’ve lived through the chabangeki of the DPJ in control of government for a year, perhaps the American electorate will stimulate them to create a tsunami of their own in the next election.

But, you might ask, if the bureaucrats can’t be trusted to control government, and politicans can’t be trusted to control government, who can?

The person who looks back at you when you look in the mirror.

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One Response to “Be careful what you ask for”

  1. Oooooh?!

    Subversive!

    I hope so too, but don’t hold your breath! The bonds that tie may weaken now that the money machine is broken. Trouble is, they usually try to distract from the opportunity by providing a war or two….

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