Japan's Budget Inquisition

Discussion in 'Economy' started by boedicca, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. boedicca
    Offline

    boedicca Uppity Water Nymph Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    41,837
    Thanks Received:
    12,787
    Trophy Points:
    2,250
    Location:
    The Land of Funk
    Ratings:
    +22,866
    Japan's debt levels now stand at twice their annual GDP. Their economy has been moribund for a couple of decades as massive government spending has swamped the private sector.

    Now, they are trying to do something about it: a form of internet theater in which government bureaucrats are forced to publicly justify each item in their budgets.

    The public is horrified. And sadly, as politics go, much of this will end up being Kabuki Theater with most of the budgets remaining in place.

    (Contrast this Transparency with the legislative processes of our current government which result in bills that nobody has read, and the complete avoidance of drafting a budget. We're on our way to Japan style debt levels if we don't get our spending under control.)

    Seeking to bring its spiraling debt under control, Japan has undertaken an unlikely exercise: lawmakers are forcing bureaucrats to defend their budgets at public hearings and are slashing wanton spending.

    The hearings, streamed live on the Internet, are part of an effort by the eight-month-old government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to tackle the country’s public debt, which has mushroomed to twice the size of Japan’s $5 trillion economy after years of profligate spending.

    (snip)

    The target of the most recent hearings, which began Friday, is Japan’s web of quasi-government agencies and public corporations — nonprofits that draw some 3.4 trillion yen ($36 billion) in annual public funds, but operate with little public scrutiny. Critics have long argued that these organizations, many of which offer cushy executive jobs to retired public officials, epitomize the wasteful spending that has driven Japan’s public debt to dangerous levels.

    The daily testimony by cowering bureaucrats, covered extensively in local media, has given the Japanese their first-ever detailed look at state spending. So far, viewers have looked on in disbelief over the apparent absurdity of some of the government spending.

    In one example scrutinized on Tuesday, the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, which is government financed, spent 130 million yen ($1.4 million) last year on a 3-D movie theater used to show footage of scenery from the countryside.

    (snip)

    At the end of the hourlong hearing, all financing for the dome’s upkeep was canceled and the organization was urged to sell the facility off to salvage some of the construction cost.

    “Budgets have always been drafted behind closed doors, with nothing to underpin how much should be spent or why,” said Hideo Fukui, a professor of law and economics at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo. “Until now, nobody knew how unscrupulous the spending was.” ...


    Japan Forces Bureaucrats to Defend Budgets, Live Online - NYTimes.com
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2010
  2. Neubarth
    Offline

    Neubarth At the Ballpark July 30th

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2008
    Messages:
    3,751
    Thanks Received:
    199
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    South Pacific
    Ratings:
    +199
    The horrible leadership we have in this country is taking us down the same path. We need to restore the Constitution and remove this corrupt president. The sooner the better.
     
  3. Old Rocks
    Offline

    Old Rocks Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    46,612
    Thanks Received:
    5,429
    Trophy Points:
    1,840
    Location:
    Portland, Ore.
    Ratings:
    +10,413
    And what? Replace him with George Bush?

    And you speak of the Constitution and removal of the President in the same breath. Perhaps you would like to explain the reasons for Impeachment? Or are you advocating a military coup?
     
  4. Big Fitz
    Offline

    Big Fitz User Quit *****

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Messages:
    16,917
    Thanks Received:
    2,473
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +2,475
    My GOD! The best damn entertainment idea of the decade!

    It's comedy!
    It's Horror!
    It's Action!
    It's Drama!

    Give it a laughtrack and score and man, you'd have a runaway hit! Allow the public to phone in votes and you'll revolutionize the republic!

    President Zaphod Beeblebrox here we come.

    [​IMG]

    Don't vote for stupid.
     
  5. Baruch Menachem
    Offline

    Baruch Menachem '

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Messages:
    14,204
    Thanks Received:
    3,235
    Trophy Points:
    185
    Ratings:
    +3,305
    The Japanese have been trying 0bama style stimulus for nearly 30 years. Each time it fails, they try it again.

    After 30 years of the Japanese experiment, can we sort of assume that this kind of stimulus won't work, and try what does seem to work, which is lower taxes and less government intrusion?

    We can keep with the Japanese death spiral (Which is just a smaller version of the Wiemar, Argentine and Zimbabwean death spirals) or we can do something that actually has a record of working well and achieving goals.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 2
  6. boedicca
    Offline

    boedicca Uppity Water Nymph Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    41,837
    Thanks Received:
    12,787
    Trophy Points:
    2,250
    Location:
    The Land of Funk
    Ratings:
    +22,866
    Indeed. One of the saddest aspects of our current Dr. Strangelove Budget Policy is that history is rife with examples of self-destructive behavior. Instead of learning from it, Obama is hell bent at exceeding it by several orders of magnitude on the irresponsibility scale.
     
  7. Baruch Menachem
    Offline

    Baruch Menachem '

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Messages:
    14,204
    Thanks Received:
    3,235
    Trophy Points:
    185
    Ratings:
    +3,305
    Marx has a great quote that history repeats first as tragedy, then as farce. 0bama is giving us the Curley Shuffle, and the unemployment numbers are behaving like Moe.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuTzsi6WT6Q"]wurst Marx[/ame]
     
  8. Big Fitz
    Offline

    Big Fitz User Quit *****

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Messages:
    16,917
    Thanks Received:
    2,473
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +2,475
    HAH! Thanks for the flash back.
     

Share This Page