“Honest conversation” on FTs: Let’s have it, not juz pretend that we’ve having it, Iswaran

In Economy, Political economy, Political governance on 05/10/2012 at 6:16 am

S’poreans must have honest conversation about immigration: S Iswaran late last week. But will we be allowed to, minister?

No, I’m not talking abt what Uncle Leong pointed out about the growth in FTs despite all the talk of by the government of it being curtailed. The analysis and comments of Uncle Leong and many others based on the government’s very own data has resulted in this attempt via originally new media (then amplified by the constructive, nation-building media) at damage control.

And let’s ignore what rogue scholar, TJS, has somewhere analysed*: that it’s not true declining population lead to economic ruin. He is after all, as Lawrence Wong, would put it “anti-PAP”. And he could even, at a stretch, be classified as one of Sim Ann’s  demons who  “spew hate and prejudice against individuals or groups”. Remember, he bitched against bungalow owning ministers, when, I’m told, he too has a bungalow.

No: My complaint is why don’t we get told how well Japan is doing?

A country has three choices when its TFR (total fertility rate) drops Get the TFR back up; encourage immigration; and do nothing i.e. let the population age.

Most countries try to increase TFR, some succeed. Japan tried it, failed and as it doesn’t do immigration, it prefers to use robots, it is managing the decline in population.

Japan has shown, a country with a declining population can still do better than other developed countries as figures from HSBC (published earlier this year) show which contradict the doom and gloom that one LKY says abt Japan.

Growth per capita in the 2001-2010 decade

Japan 1.6%

UK 1.2%

Germany 0.8%

US 0.7%

France 0.6%

And looking at the overall GDP numbers, Japan’s record is as good as that of the Germans, who now have created the Fourth Reich in Europe.

US 1.6%

UK 1.5%

France 1.2%

Germany 0.8%

Japan 0.8%

So the Japanese have well, considering their aging and declining population. Perhaps our PM should be listening to them, and trying to take some tips, especially on the use of robots (say to replace Lawrence Wong and Sim Ann who seem to be stuck with some PAP robotic messages that are a throwback to when LKY ruled the roost). And get dad to stop talking rot on Japan.

As to the need of the elderly population needing younger S’poreans to pay taxes to keep the place going, that both PM and Tharman mumble about, ain’t the governing PAP forgetting that it instituted the CPF system precisely to avoid a “Pay as You Go” social security system. (OK, OK, I’m unfair on the PAP on this but two can play the BS game.)

It’s you die, if you got no CPF (Don’t look to VivianB for help. He will only sneer at you for being poor) So by the PAP’s own account, the elderly (like me) don’t need a growing and younger workforce to support.

So Minister, although you are a Hindoo, somehow I think this verse from the bible is applicable to you (and your fellow ministers) when it comes to having an “honest conversation” about FTs:

(Note “mote” means “a particle of wood or chaff” i.e. it’s very, very tiny)

Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.


*Sorry no link as I’m not too impressed by his analysis. He left out that his favourite Nordic countries tax its people too much for my taste.

  1. How about including the Chinese and India’s TFR and Growth in your examples?

    An honest conversation should include giving equal MSM time to both sides. At the end of a 3 month debate, have a referendum and let the people decide what they want to do about the immigration policy.

  2. […] – Dewdrops Notes 露语: Hiding Your Incompetence – Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: “Honest conversation” on FTs: Let’s have it, not juz pretend that we’ve having it, Iswaran – Gintai: My CPF – Who decide? You or […]

  3. Re your point about Nordic taxes, i have to admit it is high, but you have to take into account that their citizens get universal health care and free schooling. In addition they get unemployment allowance and pensions. The point is: Singapore taxes are not as low as the Govt would like us to think. Consider someone who is buying a car, which is likely the second biggest purchase in his life, who is paying ten to fifteen times more what a Dane or Swede is paying for theirs. Do you know how many years those savings on the car can be used to supplement your tax expenses?

    • Depends on where on graph person is earning. Low income of course don’t mind high tax on high income earners (like me). I minded when I was working. On cars: free to choose to use taxis or public tpt. Choice was mine.

  4. honest conversation….. but can S Iswaran handle the truth?

  5. Good one,support your excellent suggestion that PM Lee re-look at Japan,high per capita GDP,low TFR,etc,very similiar to Singapore except that they dislike foreigners,whilst Singapore prefers foreigners.
    Before you,Nobel laureate Paul Krugman was the lone voice shouting to the West to look and learn from Japan,you are in great company.

  6. This is somewhat tangential and completely unscientific, but yes Japan gets too much bad press for its supposed decline because, I mean, have Japan bashers spent much time in Japan? It is friggin awesome! I go every year, sometimes twice, and have been to most parts now. Just a very impressive place with people who take real pride in quality.

  7. Our Ministers have selective reasoning. Their salary must benchmark against the highest earners in our country rather than other governments but for workers salary, they want to benchmark against wages of 3rd world workers.

    If we do the reverse and benchmark our Ministers salary against similar pay of 3rd world governments and benchmark workers salary against those doing the same job in 1st world countries, how would they feel?

    The difference is that in the 2nd example is that more people will benefit.

    Both scenarios are not desirable. We need to use better benchmarks for both groups to prevent once group from benefiting at the expense of the other.

  8. The other Asian country that PM Lee and his team should look seriously into is South Korea.I still remember vividly the time when MM Lee was laughtng at Taiwan and South Korea when reporters asked his view about Taiwan and South Korea as Asian NICs,both adopted liberal democracy.
    He was happy to tell them that these two Asian countroies had no alternative as both needed Uncle Sam protection from their communist neighbours,hence their need to please USA,he claimed Singapore would play catch up should these two Asian countries make it with liberal democracy.
    Well,Taiwan may be having a difficult time as it faces the coming superpower China,but South Korea today is definitely a country worthwhile for Singapore to play catch up.

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