Monday, February 06, 2006

What is it with the Finance Minister?

Here is a guy with all the attributes of a cool dude...the rack of racing bikes at home, the shelves of Chinese literature...and he has been up to now such an unconvincing non-entity.

Hilariously, at his appearance tonight on Hodo Station, anchor Furutachi Ichiro started off the conversation with a review of Minister Tanigaki's extraordinary seven year quest to finish his Bachelor's degree and his multiple failures to pass the bar.

To his credit, after uttering the ultimate platitude about tax reform ("We need to look at all taxes, then come to our decision about which taxes to raise") Tanigaki did smack down the default option of raising corporate income taxes:

"We live in an era of globalization. Our corporate taxes are basically at the same level as those of other advanced industrialized nations. If we were to raise corporate taxes, companies would probably just move operations overseas."

Now if I can only understand how he segued from Japan's increasing Gini coefficient to the heartwarming outburst of volunteer activity after the Kobe earthquake, I might be happier.

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