The Bank of Japan’s surprise move last week to adopt negative interest rates was certainly met with mixed reviews, but one detractor in particular really seems to have come out of left field.
Former all-star slugger Jose Canseco went on a Twitter rant Thursday morning in which the 1988 American League MVP denounced the BoJ’s recent interest rate decision, calling it “mind-blowing” while expressing his doubts that the move could help Japan reach its 2% inflation target. Canseco—who actually only played about 20% of his 1,887 career MLB games in left field—surprised fans and financial journalists alike with a string of unexpected tweets decrying the BoJ’s latest attempt to spur growth in its flagging economy.
For good measure, Canseco even tossed out a Willy Wonka reference:
By instituting negative interest rates, the BoJ is looking to encourage spending and investing while punishing those who look to hoard cash while the country’s economy struggles. Negative interest rates particularly punish banks for not lending. Japan’s central bank is not the first to implement negative rates. The country follows in the footsteps of the European Central Bank, which went negative with its bench market rate a year and a half ago. The Federal Reserve recently raised interest rates above zero for the first time since the financial crisis, but some Fed officials have hinted that they would go negative in the future if needed.
Canseco has an often outspoken social media presence, having previously gone on a Twitter rant about space travel, and he’s even talked about entering the political arena. The retired ballplayer is likely best remembered for a career filled with highlight reel home runs (both those that he hit as well as one that, well, hit him) and surprising speed, but also for his eventual confession to frequent use of performance-enhancing drugs. Canseco admitted his own steroid use in his 2005 tell-all book, Juiced, in which he also pointed his finger at several other former ballplayers he claimed also used performance-enhancing drugs.