How Politicians are like Soccer Players

I love the World Cup, but am not a fan of how often play is stopped because some player has been shot by someone on the grassy knoll, hit by an invisible bus, or spontaneously contracted a flesh-eating disease from an opposing player.

If the referee buys the academy award in question, the villain from the other team will receive a penalty, and the previously injured played will miraculously recover in order to have a free kick.

I was confused these past two weeks: I thought I was watching the World Cup when in fact I was watching the election debates for the Japanese Upper House of Councillors.

As I’ve said before, the new Prime Minister here has been hinting at raising the consumption tax. As I’ve also said before, I think that raising the exceptionally low tax rates in Japan is the best hope to avoid a sovereign debt crisis in the future.

For the past two weeks the leaders of opposition parties have been crying foul, saying that the Japanese consumer cannot withstand a rise in taxes; they have been wallowing on the ground, appealing to the referees (who we will call the voters in this case) to penalize the DJP for such a brass declaration of war on the average person dwelling in Japan.

Please, if the taxes weren’t low enough all ready, surely the fact that we live in a perpetually deflationary environment should be enough to keep more hard-earned yen in our pockets.

The tactic seems to have worked, as the DJP lost their majority in the Upper House this past Sunday. (They still retain the majority in the more powerful Lower House, mind you).  This proves to cause delays in the policy changes that are proposed.

That being said, let me give you my take: they were only feigning disgust, much like any good FIFA player feigns injury. I think they will filibuster for a bit, and “negotiate” a lower than proposed tax as their free kick.

On one hand I respect Mr. Kan for being honest and upfront about taxes with an election so close. On the other hand, I have to question if it was such a good decision to make such a dangerous tackle during lost time.

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