Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pre-election political analysis

While some make their political predictions and analysis based on years of experience and research, I find that it is much better to use tangible things to get a feel of the mood and then make my unerringly accurate predictions in the 24-48 hours following the election.

Over the last few days, I have been conducting surveys of political posters in the Denechofu/Okusawa/Jiyugaoka areas which should give an accurate overview of the situation in the entire country. You know, sorta like those land-line telephone surveys of 621 people in a nation of 127+ million.

The New Komeito is relying on its reputation of cleanliness to attract voters:

The Commies are po'd about the US, Futenma, and nukes or something as they always have been. Should they ever come to power, one suspects that they might modify their position a bit, but there is no guarantee. The party that seems to have survived in large part due to the fact that it was the most opposite of the LDP hasn't had a new idea since Marx was a child.

The LDP wants to give Japan the finger yet again, but having entirely lost any competence they once had cannot even figure out the correct finger to use. Instead, some fellow named Tanigaki went berserk at the DPJ and Kan for suggesting that it might have been close to right about the consumption tax. The LDP is offended by the suggestion that any of its ideas might be correct. After all, what would happen if by some miracle the party did not continue to sink into the cesspool of irrelevance, but got back into power and had to do what it would not have proposed had it still been in power?

And the DPJ. I must admit a bias toward this party as I cannot see any of the others as anything but a bunch of goofballs. Perhaps that's why I am not even allowed to vote on local elections. Anyway, the DPJ poster below featuring Kan is short, sweet, and to the point.

Perhaps too short and sweet and that's why this fellow is pondering it. Maybe he is wondering about the DPJ's tax plans---you know, to lower corporate taxes so that Japanese companies won't flee Japan to areas of lower taxes while Japan receives increased revenue from the lowered corporate tax rate (it worked well in the US didn't it?). Perhaps he is wondering about DPJ Secretary General Yukio Edano's rather interesting, maybe controversial, and possibly insane claim that previous increases in the consumption tax had minimal repercussions on demand (Hmmm. What happened in 1997/98? No connection? Minimal?), and Edano's claim that it would not "accelerate" deflation. Deflation would like, what, stay at the present level. Oh, that's good!

He could be wondering how people would just calmly accept a 5% increase in the tax and not reduce spending. He could be asking himself that should that be proven to be inaccurate, is it at all possible that producers would react by reducing prices to offset the tax increase. What's the phrase he may be thinking of? Is it Voodoo Economics? (Edited to add: Not to be confused with the US version, but a homegrown voodoo economics.)

Or maybe he is ruminating on the meaning of Edano's translated statement that the DPJ "was debating whether to implement tax refunds for low-income families, and said such plans will be further discussed after the Upper House election. "* It may have entered his mind that if the DPJ decides not to address the recessiveness** of the consumption tax after the Upper House election, that it is in effect saying of the poor, "let them eat cake---but only after they pay the 10% tax."

*Emphasis mine. Edano quoted from "exclusive" JT interview (linked ).

**Google spell-check refuses to recognize recessiveness as a word. If it is not a real word, please pretend that it is not really written above.

Related: Economics prof. Hisakazu Kato of Meiji University doubts 10% consumption tax will ultimately be enough, but: "I think it would be much riskier than raising the consumption tax to do nothing about reducing the debt and possibly causing an excessive reaction in the market that would lead to a plunge in government bond prices," Japan Times.

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