Friday, January 25, 2013

Signs of the Apocalypse #4

William Pesek and I in agreement regarding something, in this case Abenomics. (Link)

Pesek dives, as usual, way too deep in the smarmy snark and cynicism tanks. Nevertheless, he sees pretty much the same weaknesses I do.

I guess this means I need to take a hard look at my current levels of coffee intake.

Later - I should emphasize that I do not disagree with the fundamental policy -- that if one wishes to attempt a revival of economic growth, then one needs a combination of targeted fiscal stimulus, imprudent monetary policy and economic restructuring. I just cannot trust the Liberal Democratic Party and Abe Shinzo to make the tough decisions. Recall, the folks ostensibly running the country are the same crowd who, even when they possessed a supermajority in the House of Representatives, could not figure out how to renew a law 60 days prior to its expiration date.

[For those confused by the above, check out what happened to the Indian Ocean dispatch, the road construction and the gasoline levy laws in 2008. The LDP's mismanagement of the calendar staggers the mind.]

If Dr. Krugman, Matthew Yglesias and other Americans want the United States government to shrug off demands for fiscal probity, please do not point to the actions of an LDP-led government as a guide star. There is simply no way to idiot-proof a policy so that it is impervious to Abe and Company's ability to mess it up.


Troy said...

Abe’s LDP spent almost 20 years building bridges, roads, tunnels, dams and airports to nowhere

I rode my bike a lot around Tokyo, and being under those massive steel viaducts, it hit me that that use of steel was a lot more economic than Japan Inc's previous investment of the material in battleships!

Per that MOF PDF I linked to previously, we can see that Japan's stimulus in construction wasn't half the per-capita burden of the US's parallel investment in our war machine.

While it's arguable how much bang for the buck the construction bonds got, the fact is that there is a lot of infrastructure on the ground, and, more importantly, people gainfully employed, thanks to the pork spending.

No economist could formulate a credible list of every shot of stimulus and every dose of monetary steroids that officials have pumped into the economy since the early 1990s

This is the wording of a person who doesn't know what he's talking about I think.

The early 1990s featured the utter collapse and destruction of one helluva bubble blowoff, a cross-default catastrophe as large as the Great Depression in its destructive power to Japan's financial system.

And while I don't know much either, I do know that it took 6-7 years for Japan to BEGIN to deficit-spend in a serious way.

But through this the BOJ was relatively tight with monetary easing. I think we can know this by simply tracing the yen's rise from its momentary weakness of ~130 during the dotcom recession all the way up into the 70s not too long ago.

Aside from a weaker yen, does he have a plan to make Japan more competitive to take on China

"Aside from that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?"

This faith that Japan is just one huge spending package away from bliss

The euphoria comes from the change of plan. So goes austerity. I wonder what's going to happen to the 8 & 10% tax rise.

At any rate, people complaining about Japan's public debt need to find the beam in their own eyes:

After all, it's the US of A that owes the gov't of Japan $1.1T+, not the other way around.

Troy said...

fwiw, I collected the age 25-54 population trends for US & Japan.

The Japan data is just my own work of finding live births by year and projecting current rates into the future.

The US data is a combination of FRED data and census projection by age ("2008 National Population Projections") for 2013-onward.

There's observations to be made from that simple chart. Foremost I think is how small Japan's postwar boom was compared to the US.

And also how the US is going to be adding more people as the baby boom echo hits 30.

Both economies are going to need to pivot to meet new realities. The simple solution would be for Japan to expand their JET program into more fields, LOL -- from 2012-2020 the US 25-54 segment is going to grow by 2.5M people and Japan's is going to fall by 3.0M.