Lessons from Japan – more money, faster

If only we had elected Democrats in 2008 and not GOP-lite. So what if the GOP economic policies have been proven to be completely false? Why make changes when to be fair, the US and global economy has not been completely destroyed yet? Maybe it’s best that we allow the GOP dictate policy – including the Obama economic team who are every bit as clueless – because so far, riots in the streets haven’t occurred. Worst case prediction (today) is US unemployment at 10% so really, it’s not that bad. Sure it was down to 4% and it’s a shocking increase but it’s not shocking enough. Until we hit 15% or 20% it’s better to let the Republicans decide what works and let the chips fall where they may.

The Obama administration is committing huge sums of money to rescuing banks, but the veterans of Japan’s banking crisis have three words for the Americans: more money, faster.

The Japanese have been here before. They endured a “lost decade” of economic stagnation in the 1990s as their banks labored under crippling debt, and successive governments wasted trillions of yen on half-measures.

Only in 2003 did the government finally take the actions that helped lead to a recovery: forcing major banks to submit to merciless audits and declare bad debts; spending two trillion yen to effectively nationalize a major bank, wiping out its shareholders; and allowing weaker banks to fail.

By then, Tokyo’s main Nikkei stock index had lost almost three-quarters of its value. The country’s public debt had grown to exceed its gross domestic product, and deflation stalked the land. In the end, real estate prices fell for 15 consecutive years.

More alarming? Some students of the Japanese debacle say they see a similar train wreck heading for the United States.

“I thought America had studied Japan’s failures,” said Hirofumi Gomi, a top official at Japan’s Financial Services Agency during the crisis. “Why is it making the same mistakes?”

Many American critics of the plan unveiled Tuesday by Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said the plan lacked details. Experts on Japan found it timid — especially given the size of the banking crisis the administration faces.

“I think they know how big it is, but they don’t want to say how big it is. It’s so big they can’t acknowledge it,” said John H. Makin, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute, referring to administration officials. “The lesson from Japan in the 1990s was that they should have stepped up and nationalized the banks.”

Don’t these people know that we are Americans? There’s nothing that we could ever learn from other people, especially foreigners. Japan, Sweden, wherever…they’re all socialists, you know. What America needs is red-blooded pig headedness, freebies for business and more of the same. Isn’t that what we all voted for last fall?

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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