Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lots of idiots around...or is it just me?

Over the last few days there have been some stirrings about the DPJ possibly, maybe, perhaps opening discussion on raising the consumption tax. Of course PM Hatoyama countered Nutty Natto Kan with his version of "Read my lips, no consumption tax increase. We are just going to start talking about it during a recession to boost the economy. We'll let the voters decide although I am not going to increase it anyway maybe for sure."

I'm cool with this. Only a bunch of lunatics would try to run a country forever with promises of no new taxes except on the other guy, while spending the money of future generations for everything except filling in potholes in roads and in society because for one reason or another, deficits don't matter. But this is not about the USA.

Really, the DPJ has been trying its best to right the economy they inherited from the LDP. One of the things that impressed me is how the wasteful practice of moving large quantities of earth from one spot to another for no useful purpose seems to have decreased under the new government. I have no stats, but that's just an impression from my somewhat less frequent cycling workouts along the Tamagawa. Mud-moving projects have noticeably decreased in size if not quantity since the autumn.

Perhaps, however, the money was shifted elsewhere. Every day, on the walk from my Mansion to Denenchofu station, I get to pass through the now 2 (or 3?) year old water line project which makes the street nearly impassible for humans and autos. As on construction projects everywhere, there seem to be about 5 people standing around and "supervising" for each person who is actually working. But what makes this a great economic stimulus is that not only do we get to pay the salaries of folks who could be better utilized serving tea to those who are working, but we get to pay to have the street and sidewalk dug up every single morning and refilled and resurfaced (with asphalt) every single evening. Wonder how much time and money that costs? Did Yukio not notice this when he lived in Denenchofu just a few short months ago? But who am I---a taxpaying resident who should never be allowed to vote for fear upsetting the apple cart with dangerous foreign influence---to say anything about that. Let the neighbors grumble---which they are. (Hear anything Yukio?)

Speaking of EVIL foreign influence:

Referring to the downgrading of the outlook for Japan's long-term government bonds by foreign rating companies, State Minister for Financial Affairs Shizuka Kamei said, "The Japanese are susceptible to foreign influences. There are lots of idiots." He thus indicated his dissatisfaction with the nature of credit ratings and the way people respond to them. Kamei is set to have regulatory power over credit rating companies starting in April. (From Feb 16 Asahi Shimbun. I cannot find a link as of yet.)

Now I don't really know what the hell this fellow was trying to say. He seemed to be angry that credit rating companies could rate Japanese bonds without asking. Maybe he was hinting at some future administrative guidance for those foreign companies. Why not? It's surely a lot easier than trying to un-screw-up the now decades old screwed-up economy. Besides, Japan owes most of its money to its own citizens, not foreigners, and it is easier to get away with screwing your own investors than it is screwing foreign investors. Or so the theory goes.

My question is: Does Kamei consider himself to be one of the idiots, or is he referring to the people whom he supposedly serves? (Let's pretend. We know that most folks in his line of work here do not consider themselves servants of the public, but more "nannies" of the childish masses. Tuche' to Fujiwara Masahiko.)

Incidentally, Kamei, a Shintaro Ishihara fan, "studied" economics at Tokyo University. Mr. Idiot also opposes foreigner suffrage* as allowing those bastards to vote could fuel nationalism. Who said that the LDP was dead?

A big arigatou in the direction of the Potomac for alerting me to this.

*We Western immigrants ought not be too hard on Kamei for this view, for he was apparently referring to those permanent residents of Korean heritage which makes it all OK.

22 Feb 2010 update: They have now begun to work directly on the road (instead of the sidewalk) and are no longer covering it with asphalt every evening. Time and money saved---what will they think of next?

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