atans1

PAP got a point on welfare programmes

In Economy on 14/02/2018 at 10:26 am

[M]y first wish is that Medishield Life be expanded to cover evidence-based healthcare interventions. I raised this at the IPS dialogue with DPM Teo Chee Hean last month and his response was to cite the classic neoliberal argument* that if you provide free medical care, a “buffet table syndrome” will result. This means that individuals will get all kinds of diseases and treatments just so that they can enjoy the free medical benefits. This is not his fault, it is a widely held belief among health economists from various right wing think tanks primarily in the United States who have advanced this argument.

Dr Paul Tambyah

http://yoursdp.org/news/paul_tambyah_39_s_speech_budget_2018/2018-02-12-6222

(Do read the speech from the only adult in the SDP portiburo. If only Mad Dog would step down and Dr Paul replaces him, the voters perception of SDP would change, enabling the SDP to be the Opposition not the Wankers’ (Or it it “Worthless”?) Party But Mad Dogs don’t do resigning, only biting. Sad.)

The PAP would also make the point that all welfare programmes grow and grow, as expectations rise. This in turn overwhelms other worthy state expenditures. Are they wrong?

Here’s what’s happening in the US

the crucial driver of US indebtedness is not military or discretionary domestic spending. It is the spending on “mandatory” entitlements, primarily social security payments for pensioners and healthcare programmes for the elderly and the poor. Along with interest on the nation’s debt, these make up more than two-thirds of federal spending, a proportion that is expected to grow. In the absence of a debate about how to reduce spending on big entitlements, or how to generate more revenue to support them, political fights like the one just resolved are theatre. They have the potential to do damage if they go wrong, but no chance whatsoever of changing the long-term outlook. The trajectory of the US debt burden is disquieting. The country is headed, by all accounts, for deficits of at least $1tn a year, which amounts to 5 per cent or more of gross domestic product. The total stock of US debt, now standing at 80 per cent of GDP, will pass 100 per cent before a decade is out if current policies are sustained.

FT

Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, has just urged Congress to tackle the ballooning national debt, saying it posed a “dire threat” to economic and national security.

Btw, I’m sure Dr Tambyah would consider the FT and the the US intelligence community to be major part of the neoliberal establishment.


*Why you think he started sending potential ministers to the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard? Harvard is a another major part of the neoliberal establishment.

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  1. It seems so until you actually look at the numbers. Total US government expenditures is just under 21% of GDP, not much higher than Singapore’s 18.5%. Mandatory spending is half the budget and are going into welfare. That is higher than Singapore but low by European standards.

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