Debt is debt is debt regardless who owns it. In 2012 Japan is projected to pay 60.3% of its tax receipts just to service the debt. This is one reason for Japan's so-called "lost generation". By 2025 the debt service is projected to exceed 80% of tax receipts. With Japan running its first trade deficit in over three decades and an anemic global economy - Japan will be left with the Keynesian recourse of trying to hyper-inflate its way "out of debt" or go into default. My reference to Zimbabwe was factual in nature and I did not compare the two nations other than the ordinal ranking provided in my citation - your straw-man argument holds no sway here.
Debt which is denominated in their own currency and owed largely to their own people... far less problematic than Greek debt or the debts of many countries throughout history that have created currency crises. This is born out by the fact that their borrowing costs are still low and that they often fight to keep their currency from rising rather than falling.
I'm sure if you look in the fact books, you'll also notice that Japan has a very high standard of living and one of the longest life spans of any country.
One of the biggest problems facing Japan is from a shrinking work force due to aging population and overly restrictive immigration.
If in your true assessment, Japan's economic policies have resulted in an outcome that is overall comparable to Zimbabwe, then you and I certainly have different views of economic success.
"What about the micromanagement of the Japanese government pushing to become a leader in robotics" Thanks for making my point. Who would have thought that the once mighty economic powerhouse of Japan is now near bankruptcy - in fact they are the 2nd MOST INDEBTED NATION IN THE WORLD (behind Zimbabwe) at 208% of GDP - they make the Greeks look like a bunch of feta eating Warren Buffetts. And not just according to FNC but https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2186rank.html
I'm all upside-down on this Kansas term. I thought that is was a negative on what happened to Kansas, but after researching the economic statistics Kansas has done markedly better than the US as a whole since 2004 with lower unemployment percentage, fewer foreclosures per capita and more stable housing values. I don't how the Kansas voter therefore voted against their own best interests, however.
Observations about economics are considerably less believable when they are postulated using political talking points off Fox News.
What about the micromanagement of the Japanese government pushing to become a leader in robotics, the South Korean government orchestrating taking over the flat panel industry, the Taiwanese supporting the growth of semiconductors, or the Chinese targeting labor intensive manufacturing? It certainly seems like government planning and active subsidies have worked in a lot of cases. Yes, I'm leaving out counter examples, in the fashion you did.
We largely live in a mercantile world. From military spending, to farm subsidies, to energy policy to domestic demand stimulation... governments around the world intervene to try to improve the competitiveness of their industry and strengthen their economic base.
The effectiveness and possible unintended consequences of those policies are certainly worth discussion, but not with political sound bites that ignore the huge complexities of our global marketplace.
BTW, when I think of the housing bust I think of a lot of things in addition to the CRA. Certainly there were a lot of other factors. The original CDOs that soured and started the spiral were not ones backed by government agencies. There were certainly tons of subprime which had nothing to do with the government agencies or the CRA. In fact the worst type of subprime, which were already in full swing, were not allowed under the CRA until after the rules were changed under the Bush administration. Before then much of the subprime lending business which had boomed used lending terms which were disallowed as being predatory under the CRA.
Just as in physics, the laws of economics are not malleable - although with sufficient legerdemain they may appear that way to the population at large. Historically governments have poor track records in micromanaging the economy - but they are amazingly good at creating bubbles. Think the Community Reinvestment Act and the current housing market bust. In the final analysis a tax incentive to buy a car is just a stealth way of having your friends an neighbors pay for part of your new car purchase - and should the incentive be so irresistible that a significant portion of the public buys a car in a short period of time this guarantees layoffs in the future when the current and future demand for new cars is satiated.
What helped sell hybrids? What helped the German auto industry get kick started (in Germany). What helped GM turn thing around? Tax credits for the purchasers. This indirectly helps that manufacturer by making the product less expensive. No matter what we call it, ultimately it's a form of taxing foreign companies. The question is, is this the best (or some would argue, the only) way to get Americans to buy American. It worked for the German car industry very nicely.
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