AMPONTAN

Japan from the inside out

Last laugh

Posted by ampontan on Monday, May 21, 2012

DURING the global financial crisis of 2008, then-Prime Minister Aso Taro was one of many leaders around the world who chose to further damage their economies by urging budget-busting stimulus expenditures.

Current Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko was a relatively unknown backbencher in those days. Straining to be clever, he referred to Mr. Aso on his website in December that year as Baramaki Obaka, in reference to the government’s contributions to the IMF. Roughly translated, baramaki is pork-barrel spending, and obaka is big dummy. The similiarity in the pronunciation to the name of Barack Obama, who had been elected president the month before, was intentional, though it was not a reference to Mr. Obama personally.

In the Diet today, Mr. Noda said, “That was not an appropriate expression. I must apologize.”

The prime minister was answering a question put by LDP Secretary-General Ishihara Nobuteru. Mr. Ishihara noted the substantial contributions the Noda administration has made to the EU bailout, and asked, “How are you any different from the Aso administration?”

Ordinarily, that would have been the last laugh, but the amount of money of the mind Japan has firehosed other countries with during both administrations isn’t a laughing matter — particularly for Japanese taxpayers.

The Noda administration wants to raise the consumption tax AND the income tax AND the inheritance tax AND the gasoline tax AND the capital gains tax AND eliminate business tax breaks, while being extraordinarily generous with foreign aid of various kinds, from forgiving Myanmar debt to bailing out European banks.

Fiduciary responsibility? It is to laugh.

Further, Mr. Ishihara is threatening to introduce a no-confidence motion in the lower house unless the government submits its consumption tax increase legislation. That seems strange, until one remembers that Mr. Noda is talking about delaying the bill so he can patch up the differences with Ozawa Ichiro and the anti-tax faction within his own party AND the loud rumors of discussions between the DPJ and the LDP to create a grand coalition for a tax increase. That would give them enough time to screw the public before they both get neutered in the upper and lower house elections that must be held by next summer, resulting in their electile dysfunction.

No one will be laughing at that pratfall.

One Response to “Last laugh”

  1. toadold said

    The way things are going it is anybody’s guess as to where and when the dominoes will fall. It kind of looks like Europe right now, but it is starting to sink in that the US is too involved in Euro loans, so given the level of spending and the amount of debt to GDP ratio the US has when Europe goes the US will go. Right now there is money flowing into the US from people seeking safe havens. That won’t last long. China, they just defaulted on coal deliveries. Not looking good there. Japan hard to figure, debt to GDP ratio is ridiculous but it is mostly internal debt. However the polls are showing Mrs. Wanatabe is not a happy camper. She may put the bicycle spoke somewhere painful.

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