Jeff Frankel is looking at Japan as that country's top bankers and elected officials appear set to increase the consumption tax rate in an attempt to increase the rate of GDP growth. Frankel argues that Japan's leaders should be mindful of the long game, and not rush through any quick fixes--"Slow and steady win the race." Either way, there will be lessons from Japan for other economies. Frankel: For Japan, I like a proposal of Koichi Hamada (a Yale economics professor who has advised Abe) and others: the planned jump in the consumption tax rate should be replaced with a gradual pre-announced path of increases, of 1% per year, for five years. (The annual increases should probably even continue for more than five years). A steady pre-announced set of small increases is a better path for fiscal policy than one jump, or two. Because it establishes long-run fiscal discipline, it will not crash the bond market, as an outright cancellation of the tax increase might. Yet it does not inflict damaging fiscal contraction in the short run, at a time when the economy is already weak. Indeed, the expectation that tax-included prices will go up in the future can stimulate households today to buy autos, household appliances, and other consumer goods and thereby help speed the recovery. The gradual path also has good implications for monetary policy too. In normal times central banks want to get inflation down. Pre-announced paths for taxes or administered prices can have the undesirable effect of building annual price increases into public perceptions, thus making it more difficult for the central bank to control inflation. But current conditions are very different in this regard. Interest rates and inflation rates in Japan lately have been, if anything, even lower than in the United States. The most important cornerstone of Abenomics this year has been efforts by the Bank of Japan to ease money further, despite already-zero interest rates, and thus end the threat of deflation. Under those circumstances, expectations of inflation are not worrisome. Positive expected inflation would reduce the real interest rate, which is not a bad thing under current conditions. There are useful analogies for policies in other countries. The US could legislate a pre-announced path of slow but steady increases in energy or carbon taxes (accompanied by immediate short-term offsets such as a reduction in the distortionary payroll tax or an end to the damaging spending sequester). The same arguments regarding the time profile apply as to Japan: enhancing long-run fiscal sustainability without imposing more fiscal contraction at a time when the economy has not yet fully recovered from the Great Recession. In addition, the environmental and national security arguments in favor of discouraging fossil fuel consumption work better if the increase in energy prices is phased in over a long period of time, allowing people to plan ahead in making effective decisions about choice of automobiles, installation of home heating systems, construction of power plants, research into new technologies and so forth. Emerging market countries like India and Indonesia are now being threatened with possible financial crises. Part of the problem is large budget deficits, of which a major component has long been food and energy subsidies. Trying to keep domestic prices for food and energy artificially low relative to world market prices has proven ruinously expensive, while yet very ineffective in the supposed goal of helping alleviate poverty. Some leaders in these countries are aware of the need to reduce the subsidies (and the arguments that they can be accompanied by better-targeted anti-poverty innovations such as Mexico’s conditional cash transfers and India’s Unique ID system). A credible pre-announced path of gradual phase-out in food and energy subsidies would provide much-needed immediate reassurance to skittish global investors, without imposing immediate hardship on the poor. At the same time, the ability to plan ahead in anticipation of the price increases would allow more effective responses in decisions by farmers to plant new crops, energy-users to switch to more energy-efficient equipment, and so forth. Read Japan's Consumption Tax: Take it Slow and Steady here .