Dear Fuji-san…

Opinions - July 29th, 1988

…from Mike Marklew

Even serfs paid tithes

There’s always been some form of levy on us workers since the little caveman gave the leg of some creature to the big caveman to stop the big guy from filling-in the little fellow’s cave.

People who work, give goodies to people who don’t work but have some sort of power—that’s life.

Sadly, it was one of my English ancestors who came up with the idea of forking out part of your cash wages to the government. They needed money to fund a war they were engaged in and promised the “income tax” was a temporary measure — circa 1853.

We can’t really grumble. We created govern­ment “of the people by the people” to get out of the business of handing over our wheat, sheep, sons and daughters, etc., to the barons who owned the land we tilled. General MacArthur did the same thing when he abolished the Shogun tax collection method.

Nowadays the system appears upside-down. In the old days, farmers paid the Shoguns. These days, the government subsidizes the farmers and the poor old sarariman covers the cost of not only the product plus the subsidies, but also the politico’s pay packet. Seems funny to me.

Perhaps the real stumbling block is, politicians are elected. They don’t have to pass examinations or go through any training.

Finance Ministers don’t need to have to balance budgets. When they want more cash, they just dream up a new scheme to milk our wallets. VAT — I ask you! I calculated, with the proposed income tax cut I’ll get ¥1,000 extra per week. But, with the planned consumption tax, everything will go up 3%. This means in a week, if I spend over ¥33,334 (my rent is higher) — I pay more. We’re not all daft.

Let’s create a World University for politicians. They can take courses on how to do their jobs, how to talk properly, both in Parliament and on the radio, plus a session on TV make-up. The “How to avoid getting caught accepting bribes” lectures, could be most popular. Maybe some of our Japanese prefectural officers should attend these.

‘Course ideas are easy to come up with, but it’s not so simple to pick the professors. I do know the perfect Dean however — Maggie Thatcher.