The government should show a concrete roadmap for rebuilding public finances, including the kind of reforms adopted by Greece, which involve painful belt-tightening, slashing welfare spending and boosting sales and other tax rates.

Yoichi Miyazawa, former vice finance minister and upper house lawmaker for the opposition Liberal Democratic Party. (Reuters)

  • -1

    tkoind2

    Miyazawa-san. The working people of this world are tired of tightening out belts while you and your priviledged class people grow fat and rich off our hard work.

    Have you learned nothing watching events unfold world wide? Working people are tired of repression, tired of being on the receiving end of all hardships while the few bleed us dry. The time for change is coming and these austerity movements will only hasten the motivations needed to finally change things.

    What the world needs is for global wealth to be distributed and to move within the economy. Money to creat jobs, educate and care for people and to address our global problems. As long as that majority wealth is held by a tiny few, we live in a modern day feudal world, which must be brought to an end and replaced with a system that favors the majority of human beings on this planet.

    If you want to hasten revolutionary change, go head and implement austerity. We see through your repression and feel it is the turn of the wealthy and the corporations to give something back!!!

  • 1

    JapanGal

    slashing welfare spending and boosting sales and other tax rates.

    This idiot can afford to not have insurance for his own welfare, but others cannot.

    I have not read on memo about these tax wanna be hikers mention that Vat should work well, but leave tax at zero for necessary items. Why not??? Why not???? These rich politicians are really annoying me.

    Force them to retire at 60 like everyone else. What a bunch of jerks. They just ruined my day by reading this quote from this idiot.

  • 0

    tkoind2

    " I've learned that the planet is polluted by this circulating financial, toxic mess that arrogantly demands to consume entire countries and culture, that our politicians are weaklings and Europe has suddenly become captive of the banks and a global oligarchy, and that power does not have morality or imagination."

    From CNN, a Greek woman talking about her political awakening. This is the voice of the future. Working, educated people awakening to the presence of a ruling economic class and growing awareness that they are the real problem.

    The seeds of change are already planted.

  • 1

    edojin

    Good grief! This is proof that the LDP should not be allowed to return to power. This lunatic wants Japan to go the same route that Greece is going. Look what's happening in Greece!

    And if Japan should carry out the same reforms that Greece is going through ... we're all ruined.

    The LDP ... why can't those guys just get out of the government and go fishing in a creek or something. Just stay away from out daily lives ...

  • 0

    gaijinfo

    Lower corporate tax rates to near zero, get rid of all your phobias about immigration, slash government spending as much as possible, and fully join the TPP. That will solve all of Japan's problems in just a few short years.

  • 0

    tkoind2

    Gaijinfo.

    1. Lower corporate tax. At last we agree on something. Japan needs to attract business.
    2. Get rid of immigration phobias. Wow two items in one day. Miraculous.

    3. Yes lower spending where possible, but do not do harm to people with austerity programs that don't make sense.

    4. Joine the TPP, not sure this helps. Trade agreements in the past have harmed working people while enriching the wealthy. TPP could cost Japan more jobs.

    As for solving all of Japan's problems I disagree. Japan needs a fundamental shift in thinking. It must also to the following.

    1. Better empower and support small business and micro economic development in Japan.
    2. End ageism, sexism and racist disparities in employment and opportunities.
    3. Shift thinking away from cultural protectionism and encourage out of the box thinking.
    4. Revitalize education to produce critical thinkers and leaders.
    5. Revise the government to allow direct elections of the PM, this will help end the absolute power of political parties and press more accountability on all parties.
  • 2

    cleo

    There's nothing fair about a flat tax, nothing fair about consumption tax on allgoods and services.

  • 0

    fds

    sorry but i don't think japan will be able to pay back their debt (at least not in real money). its just too large. i don't see anyway they can grow out of it given the current demographics. they can go the greece route (and i firmly believe that they will not have the turmoil they have in greece) and austerity/taxes may support the house of cards for a while longer but in the end the question, as for greece, will be how they default, in the case of japan haircuts or money printing.

    the basic problem is that the system rewards politician for spending money that they don't have and japan has been doing it for years.

    incidentally about the flat tax, personally i think its fair, everybody pays the same rate, no breaks. what could be more fair than that? but to calm the more liberal, my suggestion would be to have something more like a luxury tax, basic food, medical service, housing, transportation, no or very low tax, for anything else, you would have a gradated flat consumption tax. for example if you buy food in the supermarket and cook it yourself, you would pay no tax. if you choose to eat in a restaurant, you would. if you buy a house under the mean price, no tax, over, you would. if you buy uniqlo, no tax, if buy gucci, you would. how much would be a matter for discussion but the point is that no one should everyone should pay some tax as we all use government service. but i'm getting off topic...

  • -2

    tmarie

    Funny, I don't recall his party doing this when they were in power...

  • 0

    Serrano

    tmarie - You're right - they didn't.

  • -1

    herefornow

    And if Japan should carry out the same reforms that Greece is going through ... we're all ruined.

    edojin -- nonsense. Japan is ruined it it does not follow Greece's path, and make some tough decisions -- that is all he is saying. The Japan Inc. model has been broken for over two decades, and all the country did was try to spend its way out of it, which has created a basically stagnant economy with a huge debt load. And, at the same time, having to face ever-mounting social welfare costs due to the aging society, and now the cost of the Tohoku/Fukushima disaster. Doing basically nothing is no longer the answer -- Japan has kicked the can long enough. It is time for Japan to "man up" and stop pretending everything is great, or will be again soon, and squarely face its many structural problems and have the guts to deal with them.

  • 0

    cleo

    Grouch - I take it mathematics is not your forte. if your flat tax kicks in after the first 50,000, the bloke raking in a million is not paying 20 times the tax of the bloke earning 50,000 - the bloke earning 50,000 is paying no tax, and 20 times nothing is nothing.

    But let's assume for the sake of argument that the 50,000 bloke is also paying a flat tax of 15%. He's paying 7,500 in tax. Let's assume it costs him half his salary for basic necessities; that means he's paying 30% of his 'free cash' in taxes. The millionaire is also paying 15% flat tax, which in his case comes to 150,000. He has a higher standard of living than the other bloke, so let's assume his basic necessities come to a bit more, let's say double - 50,000. So he's paying a little less than 16% of his 'free cash' in taxes. It's a myth to say that the rich pay more with a flat tax. In absolute amounts, maybe - but as a percentage of their total worth, nowhere near.

  • 0

    cleo

    Grouch -

    I could never understand why tax is based on income and not on spending.

    Sorry, if you don't understand the concept of either fair do's or the Widow's Mite, I can't help you.

    you are misunderestimating how much a millionaire spends for their cost of living. FAR more than double the average Joe.

    I wasn't reckoning how much the rich guy spends, but how much basic necessities cost. If we were being really fair that would be the same for everyone, and be truly basic. I thought I was being generous allowing him double. If the rich bloke chooses to blow his cash on a gold-plated limousine instead of a pair of plain but sturdy walking shoes sold at discount, that's his choice.

    It's the height of inequality that a person (such as the millionaire in my example) and the shmoe both get the same vote

    First of all, could you explain your use of the word shmoe? I wasn't familiar with it, but my dictionary tells me it means *a fool or a bore'. What exactly do you find foolish or boring about people who work hard for a living?

    It seems in addition to not listening in mathematics class, you also skipped Democracy 101. 'One person One vote' goes over your head?

  • 0

    cleo

    To me, a shmoe is a Joe Average/Joe Sixpack type. Just a regular guy.

    Then you need to revise your vocabulary. You inadvertently insulted a lot of hard-working people.

    Not sure what the "Widow's Mite" is, sorry.

    Luke 21:2-4 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke%2021:1-21:4&version=KJ21

    Mark 12:41-44 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mark%2012:41-12:44&version=KJV

    If wealthy citizens are not entitled to more votes because they make more , then why should they be forced to pay more in taxes for the same reason?

    Paying the same proportion of your wealth as everyone else is not 'paying more', it's paying the same. Rich people don't pay the same; they pay a lot less.

  • 0

    Nessie

    Paying the same proportion of your wealth as everyone else is not 'paying more', it's paying the same. Rich people don't pay the same; they pay a lot less.

    @Cleo

    Rich people pay more in gross terms and more as a percent of their income, except for sales tax, for which they pay more in gross terms (from higher consumption). Go ahead and argue for a more pregressive system that takes more from the rich, but don't misrepresent it.

  • 0

    lostrune2

    Methinks what Cleo is insinuating is that losing 10% income "means more" to a person who's earning $50,000 than to a person who's earning $500,000 - the poorer one is, the more every penny means to him/her, than to someone richer.

  • -1

    cleo

    Methinks what Cleo is insinuating is that losing 10% income "means more" to a person who's earning $50,000 than to a person who's earning $500,000 - the poorer one is, the more every penny means to him/her, than to someone richer.

    That's basically it. The flat tax on income does work like that, but with the consumption tax the rich pay a much smaller proportion of their income on buying the same stuff. If someone earning $50,000 buys a burger for lunch costing a dollar and is charged 10% consumption tax, that's a larger proportion of his disposable income than it is for the millionaire eating the same burger and paying the same 10 cents tax on it. (Not the same burger, coz the poor guy has already eaten it....a similar burger costing the same, the rich guy can afford to buy his own.)

    When Nessie says rich people pay more as a percentage of their income I imagine he means under the present system. He's right, and so they should, of course. With Grouch's flat tax on income though, the richer you are the smaller the percentage of disposable income (ie after basic necessities) goes in taxes.

  • 2

    cleo

    just because they happen to work hard and earn more than others.

    People don't get filthy rich by working hard, and it's naive to imagine they do. Think silver spoons in infant mouths, family connections, ruthless business practices, or the sheer luck of happening to be in the right place with the right idea at the right time. As I've said before, if hard work was the only criterion more than half the women in rural Africa would be millionaires.

    If you want to reward hard work, you do not want to be taking the same cut from the lowly manual labourer as from the gold-plated tycoon.

  • 1

    oginome

    Actually, people DO get rich by working hard, getting an education, and being smart with their money. The fact is that the vast majority of millionaires (in the US at least) did NOT inherit their money. They earned it. Japan or Europe may be different stories. They also DO work harder than the average according to most research. Put in more hours, save more, take steps to improve themselves. They give back to society by employing others, investing their wealth, and paying their taxes. Of the three, the latter is the least important.

    What a farce. The rich don't 'give back to society'. America has among the lowest tax in the developed world and yet the worst levels of poverty. According to your logic, more wealthy people should mean more giving back to society right? Yet this is most definitely not the case in good 'ol USA, with its record number of million and billionaires and yet poverty levels which keep on climbing.

    Your simplistic comparison to Africans notwithstanding. The constant demagoguery of the successful is petty and shows more than a trace of envy.

    The comparisons to Africa is commonsense. And no one is envious of America, despite what some like to allude. Why would they be when nearly every other developed country in the world has it better? Americans are so so arrogant.

  • 1

    Nessie

    Actually, people DO get rich by working hard, getting an education, and being smart with their money. The fact is that the vast majority of millionaires (in the US at least) did NOT inherit their money.

    Grouchy, this is true for the moderately rich, like lawyers, doctors and successful plumbers, but not the superich.

  • 0

    cleo

    people DO get rich by working hard, getting an education, and being smart with their money.

    Depends on what you call rich. Like Nessie says, lawyers, doctors and plumbers are not yer superich. One million dollars is around ¥80 million yen.

    take a handful of US Green Cards, go to Africa, and throw them in the air. You think people won't claw each other to death to get one?

    Oh dear. You have to go to a continent plagued with war, corruption, famine, disease and poverty to find people who want your precious green cards? Sorry, pass.

  • 0

    cleo

    Now you're moving the goalposts, and talking about the "superrich"

    I specifically said 'filthy rich', which is just another way of saying superich. Your moderately-successful blokes with assets of ¥80 million are not the people who are providing mass employment opportunities or investing the wealth of Croesus. No goalposts have been moved in the making of this post.

    You aren't in the 'successful' bracket yet you want the state to take a larger proportion of your income than of people who have more to throw around than you do? Isn't that called Turkeys Voting for Christmas Syndrome?

    And I really don't see what America has to do with anything anyways - the topic of the thread is taxation in Japan.

  • 0

    oginome

    Gnome; The rich give a lot more than the poor do. In the US, something like 40% of the population pay zero federal tax. And more wealthy people DO mean more giving. Americans are the most charitable people in the world by a wide margin. The poverty level and the number of rich are not related. The economy isn't a zero-sum game where one wins only when another loses. Rich folks pay tax, spend money (which helps the economy), invest (which helps the economy), and emphoy others (which helps the economy).

    No, the higher proportion of overall taxes paid by the rich compared to the poor don't reflect on any 'generosity' but simply a massive disparity in wealth. Yes, the poverty level and the number of rich are related. The rich keep getting richer while the poor stayed mired in poverty. If the rich are giving back to society, why isn't this gross inequality being corrected? Laissez faire capitalism is very much a zero-sum game. What an insane country, where the mutimillionaires and billionaires are seen as altruists.

    I notice you didn't dispute the fact that most rich people were NOT born that way, though. Thank you for conceding the point. As an aside, the vast majority of millionaires are small business owners, professionals, and entrepeneurs. All of which are crucial to a prosperous society.

    Learn to distinguish between rich and super rich.

    If you think noone is envious of America, then try this: take a handful of US Green Cards, go to Africa, and throw them in the air. You think people won't claw each other to death to get one? As to other developed countries having it better, I can't think of too many. Canada comes to mind, perhaps Germany, perhaps Australia... everyone is suffering from the economic chaos and also often from staggering national debt caused by government overspending. Nothing unique there.

    Bit tasteless and unimaginative to use a place like Africa to make America look better. I specifically said developed countries.Yes, most of the First World has it better than America, a country with soaring crime levels, poverty rates, and appalling availability of health care.

  • 0

    lostrune2

    Japan has to do something so as not to become Europe. Europe is going to hell in a handbasket. They'll be in double-dip recession soon, more social unrests, and can't afford no safety nets no more.

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