Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Indi, Just Let It Go!

Why I love Sato Masaaki, the cartoonist at the Tokyo Shinbun.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan, dressed as Professor Indiana Jones, hangs from his bullwhip, trying to keep from sinking into quicksand whilst clutching a small satchel marked "Consumption Tax." However, the branch his bullwhip is wrapped around, marked "Support Ratings," is cracking, presaging his being swallowed up in the mire. At the edge of the area of quicksand, the trio of Kamei Shizuka, Fukushima Mizuho and what seems to be Tanigaki Sadakazu mutter in confusion, "Just separate himself from it and he's fine, but..." (Hanaseba ii no ni...)*

The title of this work is "The Treasure" (Otakara).

Dedicated to EC, Richard Katz and Gerald Curtis.

Image Courtesy: The Tokyo Shimbun

* Just why Tanigaki would feel anything but unbridled joy at Kan's hanging on to a pledge to serious consider raising the consumption tax as a part of his fiscal reconfiguration package escapes me. Maybe the tall man in the glasses is supposed to be Ozawa Ichiro.


Jan Moren said...

If a consumption tax increase - an easy, self-contained, relatively painless change already supported by the big parties - prove politically impossible to enact, then I have very little hope for the political future of this country. Much harder, much more painful but necessary changes will never happen.

Anonymous said...

relatively painless

Millions of Japanese making poverty-level wages might disagree with your assessment.

Anonymous said...

it will be interesting to see how much of what is raised through higher taxes finds its way into the coffers of the agriculture and the road construction industries

Anonymous said...

Indy, not Indi


Jan Moren said...

"Millions of Japanese making poverty-level wages might disagree with your assessment."

I said _relatively_ painless. As in, this is nothing compared to when the current pension and social security systems will finally have to be cleaned up.

And there are good ways of mitigating the effect on the poorest households, the most obvious being to keep the rate low for groceries, prescription medicines and public transport.

Another way - politically untenable, unfortunately - would be a non-zero tax floor. The income tax goes to zero not at zero income but at some low level (3 man yen per month or somesuch). Income below that gives you proportionally _negative_ tax - a tax cashback (around 1 man yen for zero income) enough to fully compensate for the sales tax spent on necessities.