After conceding in the matter of the Okinawa Marine Corps Air Station, and going against a campaign promise, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama will resign before November elections. After only eight months of service, the embattled Democrat becomes the fourth Prime Minister to resign in four years.
The last successful Japanese Prime Minister was Junichiro Koizumi, who was known as a maverick of the Liberal Democrats (who lost their long held grip on power last fall). Koizumi privatized the post office, and became the first PM to deploy the Japanese Self-Defense Forces overseas, to Iraq. Since Koizumi resigned in 2006 at the end of his term, with the Liberal Democrats holding a historic majority, politics in Japan fell into paralysis. With the newly elected Democrats, who now hold a significant majority in Parliament, already faltering in their promise to reform the entrenched political order, rife with corruption, the selection of the next Prime Minister will be crucial.
I worry that here in the United States, if we as Americans are unable to reconcile our desire for government services with our dislike of paying for those services with taxes, our political order will fall into the same type of paralysis, with neither the Republicans nor the Democrats able to find consensus and take action.
The short term deficits are overblown by critics of the President. Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Stimulus expenditures are not the problem in the longterm, but critics look at tax receipts that have fallen due to the recession and blow the short term deficit out of proportion.
The long term deficit is the concern. Even the Tea Party, who wants small government, seems unwilling to deal with Social Security and Medicare. Eventually (sooner rather than later) we will need to confront this, and either raise taxes, cut entitlements, or both. Economists believe that we have a long-run fiscal imbalance of 6% GDP (1 Trillion).