To paraphrase Winston Churchill's all too famous words at the time of the Battle of Britain: "Never in the field of economic policy has so little been achieved by so many hours wasted by so many lawmakers." The outcome of the debate over Japan's consumption tax would surely extract a quote to surpass all Churchillian quotes in its acerbity were he here to witness it.

One really does not begin to know where to start in attacking the whole process that has led up to the hotchpotch bill, which is now up for parliamentary debate. While the list of complaints against this bill is endless, in my view there are two points that merit special attention as fundamental flaws.

One is that there seems to be simply no awareness of the big picture. The other is that no attempt has been made to correct an initial problem with the existing consumption tax system.