Professor Yoshi Tsurumi’s Aug. 26 article, “The DPJ face of Obama perplexes Japanese voters,” contains several assertions that are not factually correct. First of all, the American tea party is not “anti-government and anti-democratic.” The tea party consists of Democrats, Independents and Republicans who are fiscally conservative and want a government whose size is based on what Americans can afford. The fact that tea party members came to the polls in November 2010 in large numbers is an endorsement of democracy on their part, not a repudiation of it.
America’s “democratic legacy” began in the 17th century, not with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. America’s deficit spending involves policy questions that should be put before the voters so that they can make informed choices. It is not “deception” on the part of the tea party to raise these questions. The election in 2012 will focus on the policies implemented by President Barack Obama and whether they have been successful or not.
Legal experts in America, including Obama’s Department of Justice and his White House counsel, have generally agreed that the 14th Amendment does not allow the president to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling without a vote in Congress. Tsurumi doesn’t mention that the overwhelming Democrat majorities in the Congress could have raised the debt ceiling with no strings attached before the Congress elected in 2010 was sworn in.
Democrats Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi made a strategic decision not to do that, hoping to make Republicans share in the responsibility for the poor American economy. Democrats caused the debt ceiling crisis this summer, not Republicans who were simply representing constituents who voted for them in 2010.
Tsurumi says, “Blood to our body is what government spending is to the body politic and the economy.” Yet, the debate between “supply side” economists and “demand side” economists goes on.
Many leading economists today believe that FDR’s New Deal did not end the Depression in America, but that it was, instead, the resurgent manufacturing activity associated with the Second World War. It is fair for many Americans to question the “demand side” policies implemented by the Obama administration and whether they are the correct way to improve our economy. It is not a return to some undefined 19th-century “Gilded Age.”
Certainly The Japan Times could have found a progressive disenchanted with President Obama who could make a more coherent case than professor Tsurumi.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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