On the fiscal front, the prime minister’s basic plan can be summarized as follows: Do not panic. Raise the consumption tax permanently in steps. Spend for emergencies but make those expenditures temporary. Increase taxation and cut expenditure on the older generation that has already benefited from intergenerational transfers.
But Mr. Abe needs to be bolder. On the consumption tax, for example, the limit of his aspirations is to increase the levy to 10 percent over the next 20 months. Even this may be postponed. The government should commit to do far more—raising the tax to at least 20 percent over the next several years, a level common in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Similarly, increasing female labor force participation is the right priority for structural reform. At least 3 million Japanese women who could work are neither in employment nor looking for a job. A few million more are squandering their capabilities in limited roles.
Providing affordable child care, and visibly removing the cultural and institutional barriers that prevent women from advancing in the workplace, are proven approaches for achieving this goal. Mr. Abe is right to pursue them.
Por enquanto, é só. Quando for possível, volto para comentar isto tudo com mais alguns dados.