In the end, say economists, it was not public works but an expensive cleanup of the debt-ridden banking system, combined with growing exports to China and the United States, that brought a close to Japan’s Lost Decade. This has led many to conclude that spending did little more than sink Japan deeply into debt, leaving an enormous tax burden for future generations.
In the United States, it has also led to calls in Congress, particularly by Republicans, not to repeat the errors of Japan’s failed economic stimulus. They argue that it makes more sense to cut taxes, and let people decide how to spend their own money, than for the government to decide how to invest public funds. Japan put more emphasis on increased spending than tax cuts during its slump, but ultimately did reduce consumption taxes to encourage consumer spending as well.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Last night on the way home from Red Robin with the kids, my wife and I started singing Add it up in the minivan. This turned into my medley-ing the entire first album with my best femme vocal affectations interrupted by momentary bursts of acoustic bass-line scat....
Then I got carried away made a segue into a full-blown eighties a cappella karaoke featuring everything from Der Kommissar to the Heads' Don't Worry About the Government, which I've been singing in my head since the stimulus bill passed, and which I further realize is technically late seventies--thank you very much.
Well, all the live VF videos I looked at blow for one reason or another, so I included a studio cut here. Oh, wait, here's my personal favorite tune. "I ain't no Al Capone..."
"JACK, JACK, JACK, j-jacking a-ROUND!!"
But actually I love everything on that album which I possess on vinyl and CD.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The short answer is that small businesses don't hire union labor. So no soup for them. Excerpt:
The revenue loss would be minimal, especially as compared to the rest of the $800 billion spend-a-thon, because any untaxed gains would only be realized well into the future. We'd prefer an across-the-board capital gains cut rather than a targeted reduction. But the proposal would at least signal some Democratic interest in encouraging businesses to take risks again -- the only way the economy is going to recover.
So what happened? We're told the obstacle is House Democrats, who oppose any cut in capital gains tax rates. The objection seems to be wholly ideological, a concern that such a cut -- even for start-ups, rather than for current capital holdings -- would validate Republican tax-cutters. The White House decided not to fight Democrats to add the President's own pro-growth idea to a bill whose supposed purpose is to promote growth. This looks like an early example of Mr. Obama repeating a mistake that President Bush made too often -- refusing to challenge a Congress run by his own party.
In a related story, approval ratings are down again.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Got this from our correspondent and friend, Pikkumatti, earlier today.
Hey, Pauli. Thought you'd enjoy Crunchy's offering today in the Dallas Morning News. If there was any doubt that the man is a snob, this should put that to rest. I'd comment further on it, but you'll do such a better job than I would. ― Pikkumatti
Well, thank you Pikki, for the kind words, but commenter "Ironbruce" beat me to it:
I was just recovering from Mr. Dreher's repellent "Frugalista" Christmas column, when this piece of grotesque piffle comes along. I believe it is ethically irresponsible in these times to publish the musings of this man. He makes me long for Wiliam Murchison. He is a disgrace.
I could say a lot about this, but I think I'll do it in the comments a little later on. Suffice it to say for now that the restaurant owner made a good move by donating the gift certificates to the "lucky" Drehers. Cheap, targeted advertising designed and delivered by Mr. Foodsnob himself! "Generous friends", my rump roast!
For the record, I have no problem with this kind of quid pro quo. 'Swhat makes the world go around, baby.
Way back when I started this blog (remember?) I didn't expect to take it even as moderately serious as I have, posting an average of 10 pieces of stuff per week for the last 2 years. This in fact is my 799th post, a milestone that some people never get to in their blogging life even when, like me, they cheap out by posting time-wasting youtube videos rather than substantive commentary about Ann Coulter's new black dress et suchlike.
Some of you might remember one of the many annoying things I used to do "back in da day", i.e. changing the title to the blog every few posts. It really messes with people who use feed readers, whatever they are. Anyway, I just found a list of some of the erstwhile titles of my blog before I settled on Est Quod Est which translates roughly to "yo 't be wha''t be, ma dog". Here's the list.
Parce, Domine, Parce populo tuo
Ours go to Eleven
Gimme that old time religion
Happy Birthday Chelsea Clinton
He Shall Give His Angels Charge Over Thee
The Whole Enchilada
Sorry, I'm Feeling Ambivalent
Isn't it bliss? Don't you approve?
Let the Wookiee Win
In retrospect, my favorite is "Isn't it bliss, don't you approve" a line from Send in the Clowns. But the most utterly random is probably "Happy Birthday Chelsea Clinton".
Isn't it rich. Yuk, yuk.