atans1

PM’s salary in 1970 and in 2012

In Financial competency, Political governance, Property on 01/02/2012 at 7:07 am

(Or “PM’s salary in 1970 and today using a terrace hse’s price as a reference point” or “Fooling around with numbers: Can prove anything with numbers”)

According to this, LKY’s annual salary in 1970 was $42,000 a year. The value of my parents’ home was then $35,000  based on a neighbour’s transaction if I recollect correctly). So LKY could have bot the house and have $7,000 spare cash left over (17% of his annual salary).

His son now gets under the revised salary scheme a yearly salarly of $2.2m (assuming he gets his bonuses). My parents’ house now is valued at $1.5m (based on a neighbour’s 2010 transaction). The PM can buy the house and still have $700,000 in his pocket (32% of his salary). And this after a 36% pay cut. At his 2010 salary, he could have bot the house and have $1.5m (50% of salary) spare change.

Bottom line: LKY had a bad deal relative to that his son gave himself, and the one he has now accepted.  Even taking into account inflation, our PM is earning much more than his dad. In fact, the PM’s pay rose a lot more than the sum of the inflation rate, and rate of the appreciation of the terrace house’s value.

And unlike dad, who allowed ministers to earn more than he did, our PM is the top earner in the cabinet.

On how much David Marshall was earning (see this), I’ve been told that he could be wrong to claim he was getting $8,000 a month when he was Chief Minister in the late 1950s. When he gave the interview that mentioned that figure, he made several mistakes that were corrected before publication. This could have been one mistake that went uncorrected.

Will keep readers informed as this $8,000 figure had been widely (and unthinkingly) used to beat up the PAP: bunch of greedy pigs. As I’ve tried to show, it “proves”, if anything, PAP ministers are grossly underpaid using Marshall’s numbers. Juz as today’s example ‘proves” that our PM is overpaid.

My wider point is that numbers can be manipulated to support any view. There is no “truth” in numbers per se.

Finally, maybe Marshall was not mistaken over his $8,000 monthly salary because LKY was earning $3,500 in 1970. When he came into power in 1959, he slashed civil servants’ and ministers’ salaries by about half. And given the economic and political problems of the 1960s, he might not have dared to give himself a raise.

For that thank the Communists and their fellow leftists. They kept LKY on the straight and narrow,’cause he knew their power to cause trouble. If they were unhappy, they got protestors onto the streets, not mobilise anonymous grumblers on the Internet.

Finally on the performance bonuses.  The way the bonus scheme  is drawn up, esp how easy it is to achieve the targets (see here somewhere),  reminds me of the Caucus-race in Alice in Wonderland (a favourite book). This was a race where the runners all started in different positions, ran for as long as they liked and stopped in different places. Then everyone got a prize.

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  1. [...] Ministars Highest Paid Politicians in the World – Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: PM’s salary in 1970 and in 2012 – Today: Big difference between a ‘fraction’ and [...]

  2. Well, no one complained about PM or cabinets salary in the 70’s – not even in coffee shops or cabbies.

  3. There is probably a “bad assumption” in your comparisons.

    As you claimed that in 1970, your parents’ landed house was valued at $35000.
    Then you mentioned that the same landed house was valued at $1.5m in 2010.

    Have you considered an important FACT, that the time span between 1970 vs 2010, is a cool 40 YEARS? That same house was probably pretty NEW in 1970, but would have been worn-out and outdated in design in 2010, thus fetching such low valuation. $1.5m is probably the value of the “Land” alone, whereas the piece of architecture would have been worth zero.

    A relatively new landed house in 2010, could fetch a value of between $2m ~ $20m, depending on the Land size / location & etc..

    Therefore, the “valuation numbers” that you’ve used above, to compare against the “salaries” is NOT a good representation, and probably misleading?

    Care to clarify please?

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