Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Padding the FY2012 Supplemental Budget, and While We’re at It, a Little Nerdwerk on the FY2013 Budget

Up or down; which way did the Abe administration use accounting tricks to bring the “Emergency Economic Measures” part of the FY2012 supplemental budget to a more or less round 10 trillion? Up, of course. Even MOF’s scanty online documents leave it in plain view:

“Addition to the [Great East Japan Earthquake] recovery budget for the next fiscal year 1.2685 trillion yen”

Yes, folks, the 10.2815 trillion yen FY2012 recovery budget includes 1.2685 trillion yen earmarked for the FY2013 recovery budget! If you can manage to wrap your mind around that idea, you’ll be wondering if that’s how the Abe administration is reportedly reducing the amount of new JGBs for the general account in the FY2013 budget from its FY2012 budget high of 44 trillion yen. If you are one of the many people who like what the Abe administration has been doing so far but are uneasy about his spending proclivities, though, rest assured, recovery money does not count one way or other towards the 44 trillion since it is not part of the general account. Instead, it appears that the Abe administration is going to make up for the FY2013 revenue shortfall largely with money from the sale of Japan Post shares and other government assets. If that were all the information that I had—and sadly, it is, unless someone pays me real money to further dig into this—I would say that the game plan appears to be to sail through the July House of Councillors on a tide of good economic feelings against a divided opposition and hope that rising FY2013 tax revenues allow a significant carryover that, together with a higher tax revenue estimate, reduces the amount of JGBs budgeted in the FY2014 general account.

Or so it looks at first glance. Caveat lector, I’m not a budget expert.

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