Of course the Kan government and the DPJ have paid a price.
|* * *||Most recent||Previous|
|Will vote for DPJ in proportional vote|
|Will vote for the LDP in the proportional vote|
Normally, no sane party would talk about raising taxes before an election. Certainly, the prime minister has been backtracking a bit on the pledge. Nevertheless, the new core DPJ leadership grasped the nettle of public finance, talking about doubling the consumption tax -- and has suffered little for it. Its opponents, the LDP, have certainly not reaped a windfall from this supposed fundamental political blunder of being honest about the hole Japan finds itself in.
While being honest about the need to increase taxes may lose the DPJ a few seats, losing those seats seems a heck of small price to pay compared to coming back to the voters, hat in hand, pleading, "Sorry, we were not entirely truthful during the campaign. We cannot balance the budget merely through squeezing out wasteful spending. We really do need to raise taxes. OK?"
In 2009, Hatoyama Yukio and Ozawa Ichiro tried to convince the voters that taxes do not need to be raised to bring the budget into balance. After the government put the bureaucrats and their perks through the ringer in the Government Revitalization Unit proces, the amount of grease extracted was 1% of just one year's budget. The government then produced a budget where borrowing was greater than revenues.
Folks notice that kind of thing.
So while the papers are braying (chortling even) about the sudden drop in the support level of the Cabinet and the DPJ from the euphoric heights hit following the downfall of the spend-til-you-drop Hatoyama and Ozawa and their replacement by the Neo-Kan fiscal conservatives (yes, that one is mine, I claim it) the press need to give the Cabinet and the leading party of the ruling coalition something of a break.
The Kan government has treated the electorate like adults...and has survived the experiment.