Someone claiming to be a civil servant (and ex-reporter) replied to an article of mine on the above, As he has some good points, I tot I’d share it. My comments follow.
I’ll answer briefly the two questions you posed.
Firstly, why we need a larger population if each individual saves for his own retirement. Strictly speaking, we don’t. What we need is a larger *working* population because only those who have active incomes pay taxes. The taxes collected is used to run the country. It is simply not tenable nor sustainable to run a country with *both* a shrinking pool of tax revenue and a growing proportion of retirees.
For instance, even with steady population numbers, we expect the size of our law enforcement to maintain its strength (if already adequate). Our law enforcement staff is mainly supported by tax payers. Retirees generally enjoy their services but do not pay for the police. With waning tax revenues, it would be reasonable to cut funding and strength of our law enforcement agencies. And it stands to reason that crime rates would go up.
The same reasoning can be applied to health care, defense, or education expenses. Retirees don’t pay for these (other than a token co-payment).
Secondly, why the need for minimum sum and CPF Life. In my opinion, the Government is trying to be tactful in stating their reasons. I’d be more blunt here. Simply stated, the minimum sum is a proxy for your financial acuity throughout your working life. Financially savvy individuals would, by the time they retire, have a nest egg many times the minimum sum. Folks like you would be in that category. The Government does not have to worry for these folks.
Conversely, if you hadn’t even been able to save the minimum sum, what basis does the Government have to believe that you will be able to manage your own money to sustain you till death and not burden the rest of the population? If someone hadn’t been financially successful during their most productive years, would you believe that he is more likely to multiply his retirement account, or if given a chance, misspend or “mis-invest” his money. What then? What if they have no children or their children couldn’t support them or are themselves retired. Are you willing to support these folks for the rest of their life?
You yourself mentioned that life expectancy is much greater than before. That means whatever savings a retiree has would have to last for a longer time. If someone hadn’t sufficiently planned for his own retirement, what makes you think he could plan for his sustenance till death?
The views expressed here are mine and mine alone.
Whatever it is, it ain’t brief. So there goes his/her “briefly”.
Absolutely correct on first point though. My question was aimed at hopefully drawing out this answer.
This answer shows the BS (OK “incompleteness”, “economy with the truth”) that is the govt’s explanation here:
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”
Mr Ariely therefore recommends a degree of compulsion. People should have to buy some insurance against longevity risks just as they are required to buy a basic level of car insurance, he says.
The problem is the govt’s solution, CPF Life. We juz don’t know if it’s any gd: black box calculations and no protection against default (yr CPF Life, it dies, you die). Sometime soon I’ll give blog further on these points.
As to Kee Chui’s *Population figures – nobody knows” comments last week: This is what the moderator at the event where he spoke (and a respected economist) posted on Facebook Chan Chun Sing, this is what
As an economist all I can say is that it’s not a very helpful answer.
A final population of below 4 million implies a drastic collapse of the economy not seen even in the Great Depression
10 million implies an impossibly crowded, highly unequal, socially divided society.
That we want to look after our citizens, or provide good jobs for our young is an independent truism.
No comment on an issue that is a key determinant of long term well being for future generations?