Thursday, December 31, 2009

Land of the Rising Sun or is that Sunset?

Greetings good citizen,

Just gathering the last few details for tomorrow night’s ‘annual’ get together…which doubles as a warning for you not to expect a new post for a couple of days. I’ll be ‘entertaining’ tomorrow evening and probably land myself back in ICU sometime early Friday morning!

Um, just kidding…although considering how this year has gone, it’s nothing to joke about.

Moving along, the ‘Stupidity index’ barely budged (ain’t none of those brokers ‘investing’ their ‘bonuses’ in the damn markets…they must know better, which tells the rest of us something all by itself.)

Most of us suspect 2010 is going to be a real ‘pisser’, especially for the, er, ‘optimistic’ among us who are looking for a ‘recovery’. It ain’t happening and it ain’t gonna happen.

Without further adieu, let us proceed with tonight’s offering to have a peek at what the desperate new government of Japan has up its sleeve…

Japan Unveils a Plan for Growth Emphasizing Free Trade in Asia

Published: December 30, 2009

TOKYO — Still struggling after its worst recession in generations, Japan announced a long-term growth strategy on Wednesday that aimed to tap into the dynamism of its Asian neighbors, create millions of jobs in new industries and drive economic expansion of at least 2 percent a year over the next decade. [You’d think these ‘chowder heads’ would smarten up! It was the ‘race to the bottom’ that caused the global economy to crash, they literally ‘pauperized’ their customer base…there are now too few customers for too many goods, funny how cutting everybody’s salary produces outcomes like that…]

The Japanese economy has eked out growth in the last two quarters as its mainstay exports have rebounded amid signs of recovery worldwide, particularly in China, the country’s biggest trading partner. [You know that is nothing but another dose of ‘self-serving’ propaganda; worse, if it weren’t for their own huge ‘stimulus’ program, China’s GDP would be in negative territory! (And perhaps it is, we have no way of knowing.)]

But a swelling public debt and a persistent decline in prices and wages are raising fears that Japan’s economic recovery could soon run out of steam. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has been under pressure since he took office in September to come up with a practical plan to reinvigorate Japan’s economy.

“Indeed, the consensus view is that the economic recovery will at least stall, if not fall into another recession” early next year, Masamichi Adachi, a senior economist at JPMorgan Chase, said in a recent research note.

Mr. Hatoyama’s short-term remedy for Japan’s economic troubles has been to funnel money to struggling households, including offering new cash subsidies for families with small children and free high school education.

But his government has appeared distracted by a dispute with Washington and a campaign finance investigation. And budget constraints have forced Mr. Hatoyama to backtrack on some promises, hurting his popularity.

“The new government’s ability to take action is being tested,” he said at a news conference on Wednesday. “We will do whatever it takes to achieve this.”

The government’s new blueprint for economic growth in the long run is more global in outlook. The government says that it will push to create a free trade zone in Asia by 2020 to leverage the region’s economic growth, and that it will make Haneda Airport in Tokyo a 24-hour hub for international flights. [Um, who else thinks their major malfunction has been to much ‘long term planning’ and not enough short term action? Japan has just completed their second consecutive ‘lost decade’ and guess what? Capitalism isn’t showing them a way out…]

Japan also needs to become less reliant on the United States and bolster economic ties in Asia, Mr. Hatoyama said. [Why do you suppose he came to that particular conclusion? There’s nothing weird about it, it is the exact same decision US investors/executives made nearly 40 years ago…and they should all swing for treason!]

Until now, our connection with the United States has been very strong. Naturally, this will continue to be the case in terms of our national security. But for economic growth, it is necessary to look closely at Asia as a new frontier,” Mr. Hatoyama said. [Naturally because he sees the great benefits free trade zones have brought to the US, a failing jobs market and out of control immigration as people are forced to move where the jobs are.]

The plan envisions creating a $540 billion market for environmentally friendly technology and renewable energy that would employ 1.4 million people. It seeks to create 2.8 million jobs in the health and care-giving sectors to serve Japan’s aging population. [Um, gee, I wonder what this is going to do to our own politicians ‘green collar’ strategies? Is there enough ‘green’ business out there for everyone? You already know there isn’t.]

The new strategy calls for efforts to more than triple the number of foreign visitors to Japan, to 25 million by 2020, and create new jobs in a bid to support the country’s ailing tourism industry. [Sure, there’s another fine example of thinking ‘outside the box’, the world is going broke so why don’t we pour a ton of money into a rapidly shrinking tourism market! The income to be captured from tourism is shrinking, not growing. As energy becomes scarcer, the number of tourists will shrink radically for a couple of reasons with the principal reason being it will no longer be ‘safe’ to travel…the ‘richer’ you are, the less safe it will be.]

The plan aims to expand Japan’s economy at an average rate of 2 percent over the next 10 years, with a goal of increasing gross domestic product to 650 trillion yen, or $7 trillion, from the 473 trillion yen projected for the current fiscal year. [How bizarre is it that the world’s second strongest/largest economy has a dollar that’s worth roughly a penny everywhere else?]

The government will bring the unemployment rate to the 3 percent range in the “medium term” from 5.2 percent in November, Mr. Hatoyama said. [WTF! Here we have an economy that has suffer for more than twenty years and they only have 5% unemployment? Unemployment jumped 5% in the last 12 months and it is still rising! Um, is this one of the benefits of a high savings rate? (Actually no, it isn’t…their ‘safety net’ is different than ours, it closer to what they have in Europe.]

Analysts say those goals are unrealistic, however, given Japan’s shrinking population and low rate of immigration. The government has also offered scant details on how its economic plan would be financed.

A lack of government willingness to tackle the severe challenges of fiscal consolidation, and an aging population, prevents firms and households from feeling confident about the future beyond the next fiscal year,” Mr. Adachi said.

It’s beginning to look a lot like the definition of the word insane…keep doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome!

Worse, good citizen, I think people are starting to catch on that nobody is willing to take a fresh approach to some very critical problems.

Naturally, I am inferring that our leaders are scared to death of looking at alternatives to ‘market capitalism’ because that’s what’s ‘broken’….and if we don’t fix it, civilization itself is what will collapse.

Um, let’s get to the really ‘disturbing’ part here good citizen. They can keep ‘the game’ rolling but they have to keep reducing the number of players so the rich can stay rich and do nothing while the rest work to get nowhere.

Well, we are now looking at a major ‘re-alignment’ in the ‘allocation of resources’ and millions of ‘end-users are suddenly going to find they can’t ‘access’ what they need to live…and there ain’t a friggin thing they (or the law) can/will do about it.

So there will be riots. The people ‘protesting’ their treatment will be rounded up and removed from society…at first there will be food and somewhat ‘humane’ treatment but that won’t last long. It won’t be long at all until these ‘outcasts’ will be starved beyond their endurance and there will be more riots...which nobody will hear about...because these ‘camps' will be in the middle of nowhere.

Maybe some of the relatives of the victims will band together and free their people, but that’s about the only hope they have of ever seeing the outside of a barbed wire enclosure while they still live.

Which is a very sad note to end 2009 on…but there it is.

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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