Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life

Japan will soon embark on a massive reconstruction from the earthquake. We all know that natural disasters that cause the death of people and the destruction of property are bad. This post confines itself to the property loss and economic effects.

I am a fiscal conservative, and have argued in this blog that the debt of the United States is a significant problem. Japan’s debt (compared to GDP) is much greater than the debt of the United States. Both countries are far from having a surplus.

If Japan had a budget surplus and monetary reserves, it could pay for the work needed to recovery from the earthquake. This would modernize the areas destroyed, employ people, and stimulate the Japanese economy for years to come. Instead, Japan has two very bad choices: minimize the repair subsidies by government or go deeper into debt.

The United States, to maintain freedom to choose military options based on national interests, to recover from disasters, to have money to help other nations, and to remain a world power and agent of change, must deal with its deficits and reverse the constant increase in our national debt.

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