Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Obama lifts the spirit of the nation....

The economy may be in the doldrums. The complete solution nowhere in sight. Who else but Obama can lift the American spirit and offer hope with the power of his words.....

Part 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. You can watch the whole speech here at BBC. Full text found here.

For confidence building and mobilising a nation to face its greatest challenges, this speech is as good as it gets. It is really hard to believe he has been in office for just one month given the number of plans (stimulus, foreclosure, healthcare etc) his govt pushed through.

I did picked up this part:

"You see the flow of credit is the lifeblood of our economy. The ability to get a loan is how you finance the purchase of everything from a home to a car to a college education; how stores stock their shelves, farms buy equipment, and businesses make payroll"

There is little doubt what he said is correct and true. They have to get credit flowing again for the economy to lift itself out of this gloom - there is simply no other choice unless Americans are willing to let everything fall apart and rebuild from economic ground zero. However, if you think about it, isn't the high debt level of American households one of the causes of this crisis? Unfortunately, the only way out of this crisis is for Americans to spend borrowed money again....get into debt to buy cars, their education...and business have to borrow to "make payroll". Looks like a society that is caught in a debt spiral. There is a lesson for all of us here from America. We should be wary when govt hike prices and then provide loans so that they can tell us things are affordable because we can service the loan instalments. It started with housing, then they hiked universities fees providing student loans so that people start repaying them when they work. A friend of mine couldn't afford to pay his mother's hospital bill at a govt clinic and was put on an instalment plan. Singaporeans who have arrears on their utilities bill are now put on instalment plans. Slowly but surely we will end up as slaves to our debts just like what the many Americans are today. There was a time when housing loans can be repaid in 5-10 years and cars were purchased with cash...and no-one needed to borrow to fund their education. Not all ideas from America is good. Just look at the problems that debt brought to America - we have to guard our society against this. The Americans are stuck and can't get out of this cycle.


The last part of his speech was pure inspiration:

"if we come together and lift this nation from the depths of this crisis; if we put our people back to work and restart the engine of our prosperity; if we confront without fear the challenges of our time and summon that enduring spirit of an America that does not quit, then someday years from now our children can tell their children that this was the time when we performed, in the words that are carved into this very chamber, 'something worthy to be remembered.' "


Singapore News Alternative said...

MAS had just announced that minimum income for unsecured loan (credit card) to be lowered from $30K to $20K wef 1 Mar 09. This is not the time to encourage ppl to be spending on debt, especially the lower income workers.

Anonymous said...

In Singapore, personal affordability or suffering is not the main concern of the gahmen. They look at the big picture and if you folks have to suffer or incur more debt for the sake of the big picture, so be it. That's why HDB prices vs wages have leap many times compared to the past. How do you think the gahmen can accumulate so much reserves (big picture) when there are no income from natural resources?

Anonymous said...

unfortunately he couldn't lift the pockets of the entire nation

debts drive growth. in that sense, we shared the american spirit'

let's put it another way.

your debts finance millionaires.

in other words, you put millionaires in charge, they will ensure you remain in debts!

welcome to the rule of money!

Norman said...

My Dad was an accounts assistant. When he passed away I took the title deed and saw that he took only 7 years to pay off the loan for the flat. My friends with poly diplomas have to take 20-30 years to pay off theirs.

Onlooker said...

Obama have to lead his country out of Bush's recession.
Most of American recent progress has been achieved through Technological innovations and researches.
The fact that their academia have recognized the debt economy and it's possible side effect before it came to full blow is testimonial to their Think tanks capabilities.
And although they have imported a lot of their talents too,Most of those talents will stay there on their own accord because they have a democratic system where they can vote out people who have FAILED them.
While here ,We have to bribe our imports (supposedly Talented) with excessive amounts which they will try every means to break (contracts) out of and justify (spending) with.

Anonymous said...

What has the arrogant old man to say now. That we screwed up because we did not pay them well enough. It's all our fault

Anonymous said...

"My Dad was an accounts assistant. When he passed away I took the title deed and saw that he took only 7 years to pay off the loan for the flat. My friends with poly diplomas have to take 20-30 years to pay off theirs."

sad isn't it?
and many people are still fooled into being grateful to the pap for the fake subsidie they call market subsidie.
more like market subsiDIE.

Anonymous said...

LHL lifts the profits of the GLCs, TLCs and NTUCs.

Anonymous said...

This is how the pap Leegime amass such a vast fortune:

1. Overcharged on public housing.
2. Overcharged on car ownership.
3. Underpay on CPF balances.
4. Over charge for all government services.
5. Until a few years ago, force acquisition of private properties at dirt cheap prices.
6. Change free medical services to a paying one.
7. Force Singaporeans to rely on themselves and their families when they are in difficulties.
8. Drastic cut in expenditure on free services and welfare assistances to Singaporeans.

Anonymous said...

we probably got to seriously think of how we 'finance' our growth.

it is sad that much of our growth are fueled by credit. If the credit suddenly disappears it would probably collapse which would trigger more pain. The walls come tumbling down and we would have to build from scratch.

Judging from the news, it seems like they are expecting massive defaults unless these people can borrow. But to what end? Or are they delaying the pain which would eventually come? Maybe to stop the collapse and hopefully come out with magic bullet to solve the problem.

there is a proverb which says the the borrowers are slaves to the lenders. Too much debt is probably bad for singaporeans who need to slave till they die. I wonder if it would make things worst if we lend to people who already have problems paying. and I wonder if we solving the problem or delaying it.