I am catching all the headlines of the headaches that Prime Minister Kan is getting this week, with the latest being that a Farm Minister close to scandal plagued Ozawa Ichiro is saying he will no longer support the ruling DPJ. The Secretary General of the party (Edano) said something like “how irresponsible to be making an issue when we have the crisis of the earthquake in New Zealand to deal with!” Maybe the translation into English was not as accurate as it could have been.
Noticeably absent from the debate is that very little of it goes to how the government can put some hope and vitality into the lives of young people in Japan. I had said last month that it looks like the ruling classes there just want to depopulate the powerless (leave them childless and scraping by on low-money salaries, or too harried to have time to raise a family). You have to wonder, when the focus seems to be on bringing down the Kan Government (even within corners of the DPJ), if the people in Japan who have set themselves up well really realize how it all comes off to the rest of society.
My politics are more left-of-center on economic issues, and probably more center-right with a strong streak of libertarian on social ones. I think the government’s true purposes is to “promote the general welfare and insure the blessings of liberty”, and I take this to mean that the government makes sure that you have the environment to succeed in your work. (Hey, call me a socialist–most business people in America listening to Limbaugh and Beck really are, too. They just seem to think it should only be socialism for them.)
When the DPJ is fighting about the 2011 budget, who is getting this money? Is it going to help young people make good careers and start families, or pursue their dreams? IF the LDP had power for 50 years, is this budget really just paying off LDP interests again? What has the DPJ changed in the last 18 months? The 26,000 yen per child support payment is of course one area where the DPJ is trying to do something different, but even coming up short on the actual number. (13,000 yen is the most they say they can afford.) But is anyone in the DPJ threatening to pull out LDP pork if the LDP won’t support the budget, and instead vow to use it for things that will go toward the future of Japan?
In America, the budget game will work like this: the Republicans in the House of Representatives will cause a shutdown of the government next week. The public will bitch and scream–especially when they don’t get their social security checks—and the Republicans will have to backdown. They want this to be after they have extracted even more concessions out of Obama, but I think the concessions he is only going to offer is to gut the spending in the districts that vote Republican. (We here in Lancaster will have to be watching Joe Pitts very closely on this issue. Pitts should not trade away nice federal things for Lancaster County so that Alaska can continue to have a free ride.)
In Japan, the focus of Kan and the DPJ should be on all the areas of borrowing and spending that benefit the LDP and the New Komeito groups. They really have to start playing hardball if they expect to have any success on the budget negotiations.
If they would simply keep their focus on the items that would help out the younger generation—the things they kept pointing out in those 2009 commercials—the thing wouldn’t seem like the whole desperate mess it’s becoming.