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Aso says sales tax hike delay must not happen again

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We will see about that.

Keep the fingers crossed.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

How in hell are they expecting to get more money in state coffers by diluting our buying power?

Aid to households, Amari? No instructions yet? Aso gave us money back a while ago. Should try that again. [/saracsm]

1 ( +1 / -0 )

People like Aso who were born rich and who would be basically unaffected if the tax were tripled, simply cannot understand what it does to the average person.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Really Aso-san? Are you living in Colorado too? Did you smoke something before giving this enlightened speech?

As finance minister, I am sure you are aware that you previous tax increase which was designed to increase revenue by 3% has ended up causing a decrease in revenue of twice that amount, or is basic math not a prerequisite for becoming finance minister? And since the first tax hike has reduced revenue rather than increased it, what do you think further increasing the tax will do? Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing twice but expecting a different result?

Japan and other developed countries do not have a tax problem, all of us pay plenty of tax. What Japan and other developed countries have is a spending problem, and that is the problem which must be addressed. If Japan and other countries were responsible managers of the tax money they collect, we would not be in the situation we now find ourselves in. And it is the likes of Aso which has helped to make the problem so bad.

Does anyone know what the "Golden Rule" of tax increases is? Tax is not, and has never been raised to reduce deficits or debts, regardless of what politicians say. Tax is increased only for the purpose of further increasing spending.

Exactly how much has the public debt been reduced since the first tax was implemented back in 1997? Wait, it has not been reduced at all? How much was the public debt reduced since the latest increase was passed earlier this year? Wait, none at all?

The basic rule of tax increases demands that for every 10% of increase, spending must be increased 15% or more. Tax increases have a way of increasing spending, not reducing debts. Since Aso, Abe, and Amari never once discuss the obvious solution, cutting spending to reduce debt, I cannot take anything they say seriously.

14 ( +16 / -3 )

As finance minister, I am sure you are aware that you previous tax increase which was designed to increase revenue by 3% has ended up causing a decrease in revenue of twice that amount, or is basic math not a prerequisite for becoming finance minister? And since the first tax hike has reduced revenue rather than increased it, what do you think further increasing the tax will do? Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing twice but expecting a different result?

It increased.

http://www.mof.go.jp/tax_policy/reference/taxes_and_stamp_revenues/h201409.htm

-10 ( +2 / -11 )

I am willing to pay even 15%-20% in consumption tax if my tax money went directly to support social welfare and ONLY social welfare like the government is claiming it needs my money for. The transport ministry takes in every yen of the road tax and other taxes related to vehicles to tear up good roads and putting up useless road signs year after year because they don't know what to do with all that money. I am sure that the majority of the citizens would OK the tax hike if it really sent to assist the social welfare population as each one of us will be using/needing the services.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Why raise taxes? If the debt is mostly domestically "owned", and "we just owe it to ourselves", then what's the worry? If it's true that the nationally owned debt poses no risk(as certain "economists" say) then the point of raising taxes is moot.

On the other hand, perhaps REDUCING ACTUAL SPENDING might be the better prescription.

10 ( +10 / -1 )

I am willing to pay even 15%-20% in consumption tax if my tax money went directly to support social welfare and ONLY social welfare like the government is claiming it needs my money for.

That's what the law stipulates which was passed in 2012.

http://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/hokabunya/shakaihoshou/kaikaku.html

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

Iceland isn't doing all that bad today. The Icelanders have a higher standard of living than most Japanese and they enjoy traveling more often to other countries.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

nigelboy: "That's what the law stipulates which was passed in 2012."

And if you believe that's where it actually goes I've got that unicorn you've ordered on several occasions.

Anyway, LOVE how Aso and co 'need guarantees' for the banks and vested interests, but the people, who have been screwed time and again, require nothing but to 'trust' people like him that it'll all be okay while they gamble away your money.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

How in the world did this guy become finance minister?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I would like to hear the finance ministry say that every other ministry will be expected to REDUCE it's budget requests by at least 2%.

At least one year in a row. Just one.

Let's see what happens, no?

sangetsu03,

since the first tax hike has reduced revenue rather than increased it

nigelboy is correct in that tax revenues are actually up. Consumption tax revenues are up about 25% on the prior year, and overall revenues are up by almost 10%.

Of course if Japan stays in technical recession it's doubtful this would continue.

John Galt,

If it's true that the nationally owned debt poses no risk(as certain "economists" say) then the point of raising taxes is moot.

True. Why don't we just have the BOJ do even more "monetary easing" and enjoy another 7% slump in the yen in a matter of 3 weeks? The value of the currency, after all, is only of concern for speculators, and effects no one else.

On the other hand, perhaps REDUCING ACTUAL SPENDING might be the better prescription.

Never been tried before though. How can we know that it'll work. Krugman isn't for that, either.

nigelboy,

That's what the law stipulates which was passed in 2012.

I'm too lazy to read the details to find out otherwise for myself, but isn't this just semantics? In any case the government is borrowing massive amounts of money each year. It's not like they wouldn't make social security payments if the consumption tax revenues fell short, is it?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Taro Aso thinks that consumption taxes pay for government spending, and that governments must give assurances to markets. In other words, he is proving once again that he is a total financial illiterate. In any profession other than finance / economics / politics, he would be fired immediately for making such a public display of stupidity, and in some professions could get himself locked up for criminal negligence for the damage done by his incompetence.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

And if you believe that's where it actually goes I've got that unicorn you've ordered on several occasions.

Smith. It's the reformed law. What part of the link did you not understand?

I'm too lazy to read the details to find out otherwise for myself, but isn't this just semantics? In any case the government is borrowing massive amounts of money each year. It's not like they wouldn't make social security payments if the consumption tax revenues fell short, is it

Perhaps you should read them because it's essentially trying to match a certain revenue stream with a specific government outlay. Prior to that, the various tax revenues were all lumped together into general accounts and disbursed to different ministries. ?

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

I don't know too much about economics, but wouldn't raising taxes make people less inclined to purchase things since they may not have the money? I would think that if Japan lowered its taxes, it would give people more money to spend.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is so easy for the rich to say to increase taxes. Why?

I would not mind paying taxes on luxury goods, and frill items, but such items as general food, medicine, doctor fees, hospital fees, diapers, school related items and uniforms etc. should all be tax free.

There are different fees for yellow car plates as opposed to white, so why can't some clown say, Hey! Let's not tax bread, milk, rice etc. It is a no brainer.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

We hear you Aso but with dead end jobs and stagnant wages, you need to preach to the corporations to release their savings. I dont think the average Japanese or gaijin will be on a spending spree anytime soon.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@mitokomonalex,

Feel free to donate what you don`t pay in tax then. If you want to see higher unemployment and abuse of the social benefit system then how about you test out the 15-20% consumption tax idea first. Taxes are way too hight to begin with. Cut the wasteful spending.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It should be obvious to the idiots who run this country that the people are MAXED out as far as ALL the taxes being paid, further increases are & will really hurt the most vulnerable in Japan, point blank its wrong & must end or there is going to be a lot more misery, suicide, etc.........

The govt wastes so so so so much yen its crazy, they could easily cut spending by I figure 25% across the board if they simply get rid of bid rigging, kick backs, amakudari & a lot of regulations that are NOT for regulation but to fleece people & small business of $$$ to fund bureaucracies that are designed simply to pilfer our taxes, its beyond insane, govt & govt workers are KILLING the country, & not so slowly!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Aso sounds he is preparing to be a candidate of LDP chair. He will oppose whatever Abe does. He wants to become PM again. LDP members had been embarassed on his big mouth that they chose tight lip Abe. Abe might go on no tax increment instead of delay to combat against Aso .who only understand super super rich life.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

*"raising the sales tax is unavoidable to rein in the country’s massive public debt." How about cutting the public waste instead as had been suggested a hundred times but never implemented. Todays article about the J- govt. continuing to waste taxpayer money on propping up the dinosaur " whaling research industry" that no one except a small hard core vested interest group supports is a perfect example of the LDP government inability and unwillingness to cut unnecessary expenses in order to " rein in the country,s debt". Btw, what happened to the promise of cutting 80 seats of the useless J politicians in the House? Funny how when it affects the politicians pockets no painful measure is ever implemented.....lets just raise the sales tax on everyone instead..but no touching our 30 million plus salaries.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

nigelboy,

Perhaps you should read them because it's essentially trying to match a certain revenue stream with a specific government outlay.

Sure it's a good idea, but the issue I have is that it's just window dressing, because the government is still running a whopping great budget deficit. (This is why I didn't go to the effort of reading the details.)

JapanGal,

A single rate of tax is better than having different rates. New Zealand is your shining example of where they do this perfectly and efficiently. Japan will be going down the wrong path if the LDP accepts Komeito's requests for different tax rates.

pointofview,

Taxes are way too hight to begin with. Cut the wasteful spending.

They should, but they'll need to cut loads useful spending as well, the budget problem is way too big.

GW,

25% cuts aren't enough. The government is spending about 2 times tax revenues. Servicing the debt even at current low (manipulated) interest rates still eats up 50% of tax revenues, and social security spending even more. Unless they want to default they need to slash more than 66% of non-debt servicing spending, just to stop the debt from increasing, let alone actually pay it down to a more manageable level.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sure it's a good idea, but the issue I have is that it's just window dressing, because the government is still running a whopping great budget deficit. (This is why I didn't go to the effort of reading the details.)

Only window dressing going on here are IMF, their shareholder in Ministry of Finance, and the current head in Aso who wants more money to play with.

But you're preaching to the wrong guy for I don't believe in 'must reduce government debt' school of Kyle Bass who keeps extending the Japanese Great Collapse deadline.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

nigelboy,

How is saying that the consumption tax is for social security spending not window dressing? How about paying for defence? Education? Police? Roads? It doesn't matter which item you say the tax revenues is for, the government still needs to borrow almost half the money that it is spending. Why does it matter what the consumption tax is ear-marked for under such circumstances?

But you're preaching to the wrong guy

Yeah but even if you don't think the debt is a problem I don't know why you wouldn't agree that it's window dressing...

I don't believe in 'must reduce government debt' school of Kyle Bass who keeps extending the Japanese Great Collapse deadline.

What was his deadline? I understand he's been making bets on problems in Japan, and given the 30% loss in value of the yen over the past couple of years, I'd guess he's made some money? Of course you're free to believe whatever you like, but personally I don't think Japan's massive debts relative to it's ability to manage them is without significant risk.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

How is saying that the consumption tax is for social security spending not window dressing? How about paying for defence? Education? Police? Roads? It doesn't matter which item you say the tax revenues is for, the government still needs to borrow almost half the money that it is spending. Why does it matter what the consumption tax is ear-marked for under such circumstances?

Competing ministries where MHLW want dibs. I guess since that ministries spends the most, they get first choice.

Yeah but even if you don't think the debt is a problem I don't know why you wouldn't agree that it's window dressing...

I didn't disagree.

What was his deadline? I understand he's been making bets on problems in Japan, and given the 30% loss in value of the yen over the past couple of years, I'd guess he's made some money? Of course you're free to believe whatever you like, but personally I don't think Japan's massive debts relative to it's ability to manage them is without significant risk.

Now 2016. He bets on CDS. He's wrong, of course.
-6 ( +0 / -6 )

"The government is spending about 2 times tax revenues. Servicing the debt even at current low (manipulated) interest rates still eats up 50% of tax revenues, and social security spending even more. Unless they want to default they need to slash more than 66% of non-debt servicing spending, just to stop the debt from increasing, let alone actually pay it down to a more manageable level."

That just illustrates that raising consumption tax more is not even remotely any solution. The ship has sailed... Over the cliff. It just hasn't reached the bottom of the waterfall yet.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Taro Aso said that eh. All must be well and good then. He could set an example and take some pay cuts.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan is indeed over the financial cliff already and in free falI.

I've got my money in digital currencies like Bitcoin and NEM. I don't trust that the politicians won't just devalue the currency a couple of orders of magnitude (inflation is the same as taxation).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

nigelboy,

Now 2016. He bets on CDS. He's wrong, of course.

OK. Seems you like to track him closely. Enjoy.

As for me I've evacuated a chunk of my savings from the yen with vigour since Abenomics began, and glad for having done so (and richer too in yen terms, for what that is worth).

John Galt,

I hope it is a waterfall and not just a craggy cliff.

That just illustrates that raising consumption tax more is not even remotely any solution.

Yeah, it was only a first step at best, to help keep up some semblance of a facade of fiscal responsibility. At the moment this probably doesn't matter (besides the currency impact) under the BOJ's current monetization regime... but should the BOJ ever decide to stop doing this I expect interest rates will go up and then the government's debt servicing costs won't be just half of tax revenues any longer... unless some kind of miracle economic growth is achieved in the interim... It's all rather scary - even at the height of it's economic performance Japan's tax revenues peaked at 60 trillion yen, just 60% of current expenditure, which is forecast to continue rising under current policy settings. Ugh.

I do hope Japan can pull this off, but I'm not going all-in, risking my livelihood on it as do so many residents of Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I know some of you read other websites, heres an article you might find contrary to what you think, the link comes with graphs too http://en.rocketnews24.com/2014/11/19/the-west-can-only-dream-of-japans-level-of-failure/

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It increased.

Last year Japan's tax revenue was about $450 billion. If revenue increased 10%, that makes this year's revenue about $495 billion. But a 1.6% decrease in GDP equals about $74 billion lost to the economy, right? This significantly outweighs the gain of $45 million. And then we can add the further $50 billion spent to stimulate the economy after the tax increase. So the government managed to net an increase of $45 billion, at a cost to the the taxpayers and economy of about $125 billion? Are we supposed to be happy about this?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

No matter if the tax went up next year or two years, if I have learned one thing in finance is follow the money. Who's portfolio is growing three-fold, follow the banks. The elite will get richer and the rest of Japan citizens will suffer overall. The banks have all the power. If you don't believe me, request a bank audit of all the gains from the elite and big banks. See the volume of profit not share with the rest of Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Taxes do tend to shrink economies.

The catch-22 is that if interest rates rise (perhaps because of the government's irresponsible fiscal behaviour), then any growth Japan might have had in the short term by skipping fiscal consolidation measures would be lost in future anyway. Of all the nasty stuff that could happen, a rise in interest rates is the one that concerns me most. Given tax revenues already peaked 24 years ago at just 60% of current spending, the situation looks dodgy.

I struggle to see how Japan can get it's economy growing fast enough, or reduce it's debt burden fast enough, before interest rates rise (or the currency loses significantly more value bringing more inflation). People talk about how the government should be pursuing growth policies, and they should, but this plan seems to be more hope than reality.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The former prime minister Mr. Aso , as heir to a Kyushu cement or concrete imperium; it will be interesting to see how you will be reshuffled. Who actually invented snap elevtions?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Aso, with a penchant for dining in hotel restaurants for dinner most nights can hardly be able to understand an 8% rate of tax on food for millions of Japanese struggling to get by! Rather than tax the people how about cutting down on waste in government?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

How about listening to the Japanese people for once, Aso? I know that must be a novel experience for you, but try it and you may find that people simply do not want another hike, nor for that matter - need it. You could also retire at the same time, I know that is overdue

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Too much wasteful construction ... even considering that the Olympics are coming. Not everything has to built from scratch.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Raising the tax will cause more downwird slide in the GDP, throwing the economy into recession even more. When this happens companies will begin to lay off workers or simply not expand their workforce every April. Causing a higher unemployment rate, causing MORE people to depend on the already ailing goverment to support them. Ummmm I fail to see how more unemployed will spend more with yet a higher sales tax! I understand like all of you do that Japan needs to do something, CUT SPENDING has been a popular suggestion. But raising taxes regardless of the economic situation is ludicrous!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are few things that Abe’s Admin or a new admin can do in terms to restoring Japan’s fiscal health through some policy changes with raising consumption tax.

Yes, as many thoughtful posters pointed out: cut waste spending. That means to do whatever it takes, not just to call for the panels to study for months, then take little and no actions. Exempt daily essentials from next consumption tax hike. The govt can’t jsut ignore the need to lower the finical burden on people who try to make the end meet. Right now the well-heeled and disadvanged groups in Japan share the same consumption tax rate, that is not fair. Reduce social society benefits for a set of years to give a Japan a breath room. It’s definitely not popular among elders, but it’s necessary to curtial the entailments to save the country. Japan can't spend most of its future money on those unsustainable social programs. Stop the “IV” for elder farmers and let inexpensive farm goods in through trade agreements such as TPP. I don’t have to tell you guys how much rice cost in Japan. (the prices are ridiculous and exorbitant. ) Ensure majority of govt. projects to focus on growing regional economy and creating good jobs for young people to make a comfortable living and raise families in small cites. Right now young Japanese flood to few big cities where they get jobs, yet they can afford to buy decent dwellings, let alone to start a families and raise the offspring.
-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Last year Japan's tax revenue was about $450 billion. If revenue increased 10%, that makes this year's revenue about $495 billion. But a 1.6% decrease in GDP equals about $74 billion lost to the economy, right? This significantly outweighs the gain of $45 million. And then we can add the further $50 billion spent to stimulate the economy after the tax increase. So the government managed to net an increase of $45 billion, at a cost to the the taxpayers and economy of about $125 billion? Are we supposed to be happy about this?

sangetsu03

You did a complete 180 for your initial premise is that the tax revenue decreased which you now admit is a mistake. In addition, I don't know why you would lump the -1.6% GDP annualized figure (not even taking in what the 4Q numbers are) along with the $50 billion government spending in the same column. Perhaps a basic review of what constitutes a GDP figure is in order here.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

OTOH, Europeans are laughing at the over-reaction to a mere 3% increase. They pay 18-25% sales tax on everything, and have terrible economic growth to show for it.

Not sure what point I'm trying to make, but I love Japan and am sad it will be the next great basket case of the world.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"Servicing the debt even at current low (manipulated) interest rates still eats up 50% of tax revenues,"

"Eats up?" The implication is that the yen simply disappears, never to be seen again, right?

Well, that's wrong, at the most basic level, and that's why this debt-hawk school of thought that over the years predicted skyrocketing int rates and debt defaults has been consistently wrong.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Nobody told poor Aso-san that he was supposed to say this AFTER the election.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

kurisupisu,

Rather than tax the people how about cutting down on waste in government?

Sure, but we must face the reality that cutting the waste wouldn't be enough (unless one thinks upwards of 66% is waste).

Skeeter27,

I understand like all of you do that Japan needs to do something, CUT SPENDING has been a popular suggestion. But raising taxes regardless of the economic situation is ludicrous!

The problem is not raising taxes may also be bad for the economy.

EthanWilber,

Exempt daily essentials from next consumption tax hike.

Unfortunately that approach just means they'd need to raise the consumption tax rate on everything else even higher to compensate. Look, not everyone struggles to buy food. Leave the tax rate flat, and use revenues from the rich to help the poor out. This is a better way to attempt to achieve the objectives. The whole point of a tax is to raise revenues. Use the redistribution side of the government to help those in need, the rich don't need special treatment too, which is what they get with exemptions on certain things, just like the poor (and the rich consume more of them in the first place).

Right now the well-heeled and disadvanged groups in Japan share the same consumption tax rate, that is not fair.

If it isn't fair, it can be made fair by giving the poor a handout, rather than lowering taxes for the rich on food.

JeffLee,

"Eats up?" The implication is that the yen simply disappears, never to be seen again, right?

Wrong, as ever. There are people who don't not like in an accounting spreadsheet, and comprehend the world around them. You do not really seem to notice the significance of the value of the yen plunging more than 50% from 76 yen to 118 in a mere 3 years... and it hasn't stopped.

Well, that's wrong, at the most basic level, and that's why this debt-hawk school of thought that over the years predicted skyrocketing int rates and debt defaults has been consistently wrong.

I must be wrong in your spreadsheet world, but I've not been sitting on my hands while the value of my savings has been attacked full-frontal by irresponsible policies of the government in this country. I'm happier being wrong than becoming a pauper in the alternative reality that you think people should live in.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Well, that's wrong, at the most basic level, and that's why this debt-hawk school of thought that over the years predicted skyrocketing int rates and debt defaults has been consistently wrong.

The actual rate is 26%. Officially, 26% of all tax revenue collected in Japan is paid on debt-servicing costs. And as Japan creates and buys more assets, this number increases, doesn't it?

The only reason the rates have not gone up is because the BOJ has twisted the arms of the commercial banks to buy bonds at low rates. Bonds are bought mainly by domestic investors because no one else will buy them at the rates they pay.

Skyrocketing rates would be occurring if Japan were not manipulating it's bond market. But this manipulation can only go on for so long. What is going to happen if the yen continues it's slide? Already the Wall Street Journal is predicted a rate of 140 yen to the dollar, or higher. If this happens, rates will go up, and if they do, Japan will be paying much more than 26% on debt-servicing costs, right?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

sangetsu03,

The only reason the rates have not gone up is because the BOJ has twisted the arms of the commercial banks to buy bonds at low rates.

Commercial banks have actually been selling down their holdings, as will the GPIF. No one wants to buy MORE of such trash, at least. It appears that this is a big reason why the BOJ boosted their own purchases to 80 trillion a year, enough to cover the amount to be sold by the GPIF, as well as the new issuance.

Even TV Asahi's Hodo Station commentators were mocking this situation the other evening (although it's not really a laughing matter).

If this happens, rates will go up, and if they do, Japan will be paying much more than 26% on debt-servicing costs, right?

But what you miss, sangetsu03, is that in the fantasy world of these fiscal policy prophets, it doesn't matter because that same yen paid in debt-servicing costs will end up in a bank somewhere, and somewhere down the line the money will find it's way back to the bond market, therefore everything will be dandy, and thus the government need not default. This is the luxury of being able to issue one's own currency! That one might need 150, 200, 300, 400, 500 yen to buy a dollar is of no consequence to these prophets.

Those who believe that the exchange rate has nothing to do with them are rather mistaken, I would suggest, but so long as they only eat rocks and dirt then they should be just fine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Peter Payne: you are quite right, Europeans do indeed pay more tax. However their salaries are generally higher as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Commercial banks have actually been selling down their holdings, as will the GPIF. No one wants to buy MORE of such trash, at least. It appears that this is a big reason why the BOJ boosted their own purchases to 80 trillion a year, enough to cover the amount to be sold by the GPIF, as well as the new issuance.

True enough, but I wonder who the banks are selling their holdings to? The main buyer of JGB's is the now the government itself, which is even worse than the previous situation. When the general market buys bonds, the bond rate is dependent on the perceived responsibility of the issuer, and his ability to repay. In the past, people thought Japan was wise not to sell their bonds on the general market. But if they had, the would have had to manage their economy much more responsibly in order to find buyers for their bonds, and we would not be in the situation we find ourselves in now.

Those who believe that the exchange rate has nothing to do with them are rather mistaken, I would suggest, but so long as they only eat rocks and dirt then they should be just fine.

I am paid in dollars, and three years ago people laughed at me for not being paid in yen. I guess I am doing the laughing now.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Wow fxgai

You do not really seem to notice the significance of the value of the yen plunging more than 50% from 76 yen to 118 in a mere 3 years... and it hasn't stopped.

The yen is merely getting back to historic levels, where it was prior to the American bankers and cheats destroyed the worlds economy, where were you back in 2008 ?

The yen is near perfect now where it is and things are returning to pre lehman pre quake levels, not yet there but atleast things are heading in the right direction.

There are still some issues to address but things are better since abe come to town.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

"the BOJ has twisted the arms of the commercial banks to buy bonds at low rates."

That's a real stretch (of the truth). The govt floats the bonds and it is currently actively DISCOURAGING institutions and individuals from buying JGBs and to buy other higher yielding instruments instead.

I guess when real events in the real world routinely disprove your ideology you need to resort to fiction.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Storm R is happy at the yen at 118 but what about the 140 or 150 to come?? This economy is totally hopeless. I can only say that I am glad I changed most of my savings to dollars and swiss francs when the rate was 80. We could all see the writing on the wall then. I would imagine nearly all foreigners in Japan did the same.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Aso is right. Do not raise the sales tax.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

That's a real stretch (of the truth). The govt floats the bonds and it is currently actively DISCOURAGING institutions and individuals from buying JGBs and to buy other higher yielding instruments instead.

The only thing discouraging institutions and individuals from buying JGB's is the financial credibility of government which issues the bonds. The same government which missed it's GDP predictions by 400%, and which earned $45 billion in revenue at a cost to the taxpayers and economy of $120 billion, for a net loss of what? $75 billion? No wonder people are discouraged from buying JGB's, playing pachinko will give them a better return.

You want to blame the consumption tax for this mess? Try again. In case you don't remember, one of the primary reasons Abe embarked on monetary easing and asset purchases was to increase inflation. How is inflation different from a tax increase? Don't both take money from the pockets and savings of the people? Isn't the end purpose of the tax and increased inflation to help manage the national debt?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

sangetsu03,

The actual rate is 26%. Officially, 26% of all tax revenue collected in Japan is paid on debt-servicing costs.

Let me correct you on this one point - things are twice as bad. Debt servicing budget requests for the next fiscal year were 25.8 trillion yen out of total spending requests of 101.7 trillion yen, versus tax revenues of around 50 trillion yen this year, so around 50% of tax revenue will be paid in debt-servicing costs, versus 26% of all spending (half of which is funded with borrowed money).

The main buyer of JGB's is the now the government itself, which is even worse than the previous situation.

Yes, it's like they have disabled all the alarms bells (bond market signals) are now pouring petrol all over the house.

StormR,

The yen is merely getting back to historic levels

Personally I don't accept that. Currencies have a nominal level, but a real value. Historically (past 20 years) Japan has had price stability or mild deflation, whereas overseas they've had a degree of inflation. So 118 yen today is not the same as 118 yen 7 years ago, since inflation abroad should lead to weaker currencies against the yen.

This dynamic has been changing since Kurodanomics started, but the yen has had a big depreciation in value for only a couple of years mild inflation. Either the yen is very weak now, or inflation in Japan is going to get a lot higher. I hope it's the former, but I see no guarantees that it isn't the latter, and Kurodanomics is about pushing for more inflation.

The yen is near perfect now where it is

If one has no savings, then this is true. A cheap yen makes our labour in Japan more competitive. But I already provided labour for years and don't appreciate the value of my (remaining) savings in yen going down.

And as umbrella suggests, the yen hasn't stopped going down in value yet either. It's in the midst of a very rapid depreciation at this time. It might rebound back towards 115 or 112 versus the US buck before the year is out, but I think we'll see 125 come Spring next year, based on how the government and BOJ are behaving. This is only a good thing to me to the extent that I already evacuated a portion of my savings out of yen.

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What annoys me is many businesses still add on the tax at the cashier. Why can't they incorporate it into their prices and be done with it?

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