Friday, February 13


So the $787 billion stim-u-lus passes the House - despite lacking one Republican vote. And here is the scary thing: the Japanese are criticising us for not enough. Let us not forget their "lost decade" when Japanese banks crippled with toxic debt from a real estate collapse following their easy-credit bubble. Sound familiar? The fall-out: 15 consecutive years of real estate price-declines ending in 2002 (source: Financial Services Agency via T Hoshi and A.K. Kashyap). In their socieity, as ours, the house a family's largest investment and its value-decline ensures the worsening of their standard of living. Ouch. I was in college when the Japanese economy went tits up (there is that expression again). Timid government under-funding of half-measures meant the financial system lost trillions and only until 2002 began a recovery. It is estimated that the public will recoup less than 50c on a dollar committed. So to us and so far: Obama's plan avoids the hardest decisions like nationalising banks, wiping out shareholders or allowing banks to collapse under the weight of their own bad debts. In the end, Japan had to do all these things: from 1992-05, Japanese banks wrote off 96 trillion yen or 19% of the country's annual GDP. Surely this has been studied by somebody in the White House? Probably not Republican Judd Gregg, who withdraws his bid to run the Commerce Department, and fails his country along with the rest of his party who got us here these last eight years.

Japanese women eating sushi from Japan Newsgroup Jucee.