Once again the clamoring for a raise in sales tax is in the Japanese news recently. It conveniently coincides with the news about the emperor of Japan having to enter the hospital for heart surgery.
Actually, before you jump to conclusions, I think this guy is OK. He's never invaded China or Asia, or even Ezo, so, as Japanese emperors go, he seems like a cool dude.
Of course, in matter of national importance, in Japan, the medical condition of a "well known and loved man" who is nearly 80-years-old will be the top page news in all publications; the doubling of our sales tax that affects everyone slides in second.
I suppose though, that might be a tad bit better than the USA, a country with very poor press freedom that ranks 47th in that category along side beacons of liberty nations such as Argentina, Taiwan and Romania whereby regular important news is completely dropped down the memory hole like a day's work by one Winston Smith.
Seems to me that something very important happened to the American body-politic about the time Whitney Houston died... I believe it had to do with a scandalous and corrupt voting process in a country that has fought and spilled blood to bring democracy to many middle eastern nations... Nevertheless, the main stream media ignored this corruption and, instead, chose to focus all its attention on poor Whitney and how much we all loved her, owned all her albums, and how everyone's life was changed forever by her seven #1 hit songs between 1985 ~ 1987.
But I digress...
Google News reports on how Japan's current prime minister and cabinet (soon to be ex-prime minister and cabinet) are so mathematically challenged that they are actually dumb enough to propose a sales tax increase:
TOKYO — Japan's cabinet on Friday approved a plan to double sales taxes as part of the government's move to rein in public debt as the rapidly ageing nation faces rising social welfare costs.
If agreed by parliament, the package of reforms will see consumption tax rise to 8.0 percent in April 2014 and to 10 percent in October 2015 from the current 5.0 percent.
Finance Minister Jun Azumi told reporters that the government planned to submit related bills to parliament in March.
But the legislation is expected to face a rocky road as opposition parties, as well as some lawmakers in the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, are against it.
The opposition bloc controls the upper house of parliament.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has warned the future of the world's third-largest economy depends on reversing the rising public debt, arguing Japan has "no time to spare" in reducing its fiscal burden.
In an online message after the decision Friday, Noda noted Japan's social security costs would increase by one trillion yen ($12.6 billion) every year as the population gets older."If you pile up one trillion yen in 10,000-yen bills, it reaches the height of 10,000 metres, which is taller than Mount Everest," he said.
Laughable, really. This is the intelligence level of these people. That someone has pointed out that the bills of the national debt, if stacked up, will be "taller than Mount Everest"??? That is their motivation to action? Bwa! Ha! Ha! That's just hilarious, folks.
Left: OK. Right Dame desu.
Have a laugh on that one. Wow! Mount Everest!? What!? Can't have that! What about our samurai spirit? This is Japan! We are Nipponjin! We can't have our debt looking like a foreign mountain! It's got to look like Mount Fuji or nothing at all!
In Japan, we have our own rock stars, and we have our own dolts and political calamities. The current group of mathematically challenged fools want to raise the sales tax to 8% and then to 10% within the next 3 years? Seriously, folks. It doesn't get better than this.
See? I told you. The fools who ostensibly "run" this country are unable to complete simple 1st grade mathematics. They are incapable of recognizing a basic rule of fundamental first grade math.
Let me explain two very simple ideas:
1) First: A Fundamental Rule of Math. Let me make this easy so that even a politician can understand: Say, you have five marbles in a can. Can you take out six marbles from that can? No. You cannot. Why? Because there are only five marbles.
Meaning: The government can raise sales taxes for ever and ever but, if they don't cut spending to less than revenue, they will never get out of the hole. Spending must be kept in line with revenue. It's the same for you and me: If you have debt, then your spending must take into account interest payments on that debt. Your total spending must be under your total revenue.
2) Since most people's incomes do not rise with expenses, then an increase in taxes will cause a decrease in spending. Meaning, I have a dollar. If I use that dollar to buy food, I buy a dollar's worth of food. If you tax me 20% then I can only spend 80 some cents on food as I have to pay tax. The increase in tax will correspond with an equal decrease in spending.
People have short memories so they don't remember that when the 3% sales tax was started, the government then said that it would fix our debt problem. They said the same thing when it was raised to 5%.
But, alas, the sales tax increases didn't help. Why because spending kept speeding along.
My good friend, Marc Sheffner who runs the Accurate Maps blog has an interesting post on Japan's current debt crunch. Marc shows us that Japan's debt has now surpassed 500% of GDP. He writes:
"If you're holding a hot beverage, you might want to sit down before looking at this. You might need a stiff beverage afterwards. (See bottom of the post for US/UK total debt horror story, but after seeing the Japan one, hey! That's nothing!)"
But once again, though, I think Marc over-reacts. I'm thinking of running for Japanese political office. I can be just as mathematically challenged as these clowns we have in office now. In fact, I can do better!
Here's my platform and my message:
Citizens of Japan! Worry not! It’s all under control. Just as soon as you elect me to prime minister I will fix the budget by the tried and true methods of the great Japanese prime ministers who have come before me! I promise to pay everyone and all Japanese government obligations! To do so, I plan on raising our sales tax to 10% in 2015… Then 20% in 2016... Then 25% in 2018… Then 40% in 2020… Then 60% in 2025… Then 80% in 2027… 90% in 2030… Then 100% in 2032… Then 115% in 2035… Then 125% in 2037… Then 135% in 2040. Then 146% in 2042…Then 160% in 2045... Then 185% in 2047… 220% in 2050… 245% in 2052... 270% in 2055....And so on…. Well, you get the picture. Everything’s under control. Vote for me and the New Party Party! Don’t worry!…. Kampai!
MY PARTY THEME SONG:
MY PARTY PLATFORM POSTER:
Remember these good old days? Well, neither do I.
(But, ♫ Yo-ho, yo-ho, it's a ladies life for me!♫ )