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    Hope there’s room under the mattress

    America and Japan are fellow travelers in more than just the WOT. If the Social Security debate has got you rattled, you might appreciate this “it could always be worse” news:

    The Nippon Keidanren* (Chaired by Hiroshi Okuta) reported on 13 September that, by its calculations, if Japan’s consumption tax is not raised [by 1% per year, it says elsewhere in the article], the balance of federal debt will reach 5 times GDP, the rate of hidden national burden (the ratio of tax and Social Insurance revenues to national income) will exceed 100%, and the government will go bankrupt by 2025.

    Contemplating my retirement planning, I’m getting a real Auntie Mame moment here. As in, Vera Charles when her friends get the news that Black Friday has made their rock-solid investments worthless: “And everyone said I was such a fool spending all my money at Tiffany’s!”

    * Its website uses the transliteration as its English name, which would translate to something like “Japan Economics League.” I should note that there’s no guarantee that it has its figures right, but that’s not all its own fault. No one really knows the extent of government or corporate debt in Japan, since rules for more transparent accounting were just put through (and incompletely) a few years ago, a decade after the Bubble burst.

    2 Responses to “Hope there’s room under the mattress”

    1. Toren says:

      Oh, yeah, raising the consumption tax 1% a year will just turbocharge the limping Japanese economy.
      Ready for another 20 years of stagcession? I hope so!

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Oh, that’s right: I was so bent on making sure I was translating those 6-character compounds correctly I forgot even to comment on the recommendation! The other question I had is whether this organization–it looks like a think tank, but I’d be unsurprised if it had lots of viscid, webby connections to various federal ministries–has taken into account the already-proposed hikes in Social Insurance premiums and restrictions on payouts.