Monday, January 30, 2012

Obama's 2012 State of the Union Address



Here's the part that matters to us:

"They understood they were part of something larger; that they were contributing to a story of success
that every American had a chance to share – the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for
retirement. The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive.  No challenge is more urgent.  No debate is more important.  We can eithersettle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by.  Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.  What's at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American
values.  We have to reclaim them."


You change the word "American" to "Singaporean" and you will realise he is not just describing America's problem but also our problem. We are one of 2 developed countries with extreme income inequality... outliers compared with others - our inequality is higher than the US most of the time in the past decade. The difference is Obama sees this as the most challenging problem for the American society and one of great urgency while our leaders think that some tweaks here and there and a little helping hand for the poor will be sufficient - one recently elected MP/minister wrote in her Facebook that we should find our own way on this issue of inequality and if you read the article[Link], "our own way" is not to try to narrow the gap and mitigate the effects of inequality significantly but to get the people to accept it by telling them there is social mobility and help those who have fallen very far down into poverty to stay just afloat. Herein lies the basic difference between myself and the ruling party, the opposition and the ruling party and, I believe, most ordinary Singaporans and the ruling party. What she  described is not the Singaporean way, but the PAP way...

Obama spoke about his belief that a person who works hard at whatever job should be able to raise a family, send his children to college, own a home and retire properly. You either believe this should be the goal of society as we advances or not. You can also subscribe to market fundamentalism and believe a man deserves whatever he gets as dictated by the "free" markets. Joseph E. Stiglitz warned us about this in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech:

"The theories that I (and others) helped develop explained why unfettered markets often not only do not lead to social justice, but do not even produce efficient outcomes. Interestingly, there has been no intellectual challenge to the refutation of Adam Smith’s invisible hand : individuals and firms, in the pursuit of their self-interest, are not necessarily, or in general, led as if by an invisible hand, to economic efficiency"

We must not lose sight of the ultimate purpose of having a strong economy and track the outcomes based on this purpose. Ho  Kwon Ping spoke recently gave a speech on how our "wage revolution" has been interrupted[Link]. In it he explained, how the import of cheap labor led to widening wage gaps between  lower skilled  and high income professionals. His data shows that Singapore is far worse than Hong Kong where the govt has stricter control over the import of labor. The policies that resulted in the current situation is clearly an example of govt losing sight of the ultimate purpose of having economic growth - to ensure that a broad segment of the populace enjoy the benefits of this growth.

Obama's test of economic fairness is whether a person working hard at a full time job is able to set up a family, send his children to college and retire properly. I think Singapore fails this test miserably - a large segment of our population will not have enough to retire properly based on the number that will not be able to accumulate the minimum sum by retirement age[how many will have $131K by age 55] and the large number on workfare [Link] people who don't even make enough for basic living.

We are left with 2 paths - to restore our "wage revolution" and ensure that wealth distribution is more equitable or maintain this system of inequality and retain the status quo until people show their rejection ("by occupying") more forcefully and brings this unjust system to an abrupt halt.

39 comments:

how to get rid of algae said...

Obama spoke about his belief that a person who works hard at whatever job should be able to raise a family.Thanks for sharining obama.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Lucky,
as the days go by, i see more and more foreigners among us. I am not against them, some of them do provide good services. But we are only a small city, we have very limited land and resources. This overcrowding and overtax of our education, transport and healthcare system is not healthy !

But the sad fact is there is nothing a lesser mortal can do until 2016.

ps: i saw the news report that day on mrs Goh KS's
1st wife's funeral. I was surprise to see Jeny Chua appeared in that clip. Goggled and found that she is Mr Goh KS's daughter in law.

Sometimes, it sadden us when we see that all these Elites are somehow connected to the leegime.

Clear eyed said...

Only when the majority of Singaporeans wake up to what is happening here and shed their fears to do what is right can the system be restored to a sane balance. The alternative is decidedly bleak - a long-drawn, painful and ultimately messy affair whereby the toxins are forcibly purged from the system at great cost, and not just in $ terms.

Anonymous said...

rhetorics. ten years from now, someone will sing song tok god and another generation of luckies will cut and paste.

Lye Khuen Way said...

Was lucky enough to watch that "State of the Union" speech live ! How inspiring ! Wish my PM could do the same. And yes, Singapore need to claim back its values.

Anonymous said...

"We are left with 2 paths - to restore our "wage revolution" and ensure that wealth distribution is more equitable or maintain this system of inequality and retain the status quo until people show their rejection ("by occupying") more forcefully and brings this unjust system to an abrupt halt."
Lucky Tan

For heaven sake America is not Singapore and Singapore is not America.

Obama is no Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Hsien Loong is no Obama.

And Singaporeans are not Americans and Americans are not Singaporeans.

And are there at least 60% Americans that consistently voted their President from one party for 46 years????

Anonymous said...

Anon 30/1/12 20:14

You have a very good point.

And any wonder why despite Lucky's "wonderful" blog and many other like minded ones, they have little or no impact at all to PAP's minimum 60% mandate at elections? Even when times and things are so bad as claimed by Lucky and others?

Anonymous said...

Maybe 60% did not read Lucky's blog.

Or maybe some had read but still think PAP is the best available choice.

And frankly speaking, they are not that wrong if they think that way.

Sometimes it is the choice of the lesser of 2 evils.

Anonymous said...

Just look at the Workers Party.

Supposed to be the "best" opposition party but out of only 6 MPs, already have one "got problem". And so soon some more.

As for Chiam's SPP, you know lah.

Like that how to vote for more opposition?

Anonymous said...

"Like that how to vote for more opposition?"

You just vote opposition no matter what just to disrupt the momentum & plan of the incumbent. Don't believe in good logic unless it is helping your case.

Anonymous said...

'Singaporean First !' sounds so pale & hollow to Obama's Administration comprehension of the same stock.

Anonymous said...

Will "Obama's 2012 State of the Union Address" ever be applied to Singapore?

Answer: 100% NO

Why?

Singapore is in an environment where businesses have big influences on PAP decisions. These influences have produce results that have benefit the businesses, but not necessary benefit Singapore Citizens, over a long period of time. Business is after all business, they do not have to care for Singapore Citizens.

The business community, especially the small medium enterprises, have grown too comfortable and they know with certainty that the PAP will submit to business pressure whenever businesses make any request.

One request that the businesses always want is to pressure the PAP to continue to open floodgate to allow more and more foreigners to enter Singapore to work here. Businesses know that when they make that request, PAP will definitely approve the opening of floodgate to foreigners as PAP is easily influenced by business requests.

By flooding the job market with foreigners, businesses find all excuses not to hire Singapore Citizens or hire Singapore Citizens on unfair terms of agreements as businesses have easily access to foreigners. This led to more Singapore Citizens being under-employed or unemployed over a long period. These figures are not captured in the unemployment rate of Singapore Citizens which is already the highest when comparison is made between Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Foreigners.

Singapore Citizens can clearly see that PAP policies, especially immigration policy, have benefit the business greatly. This can be proven by examining the high incomes, high salaries, high bonuses, high director fees, high benefit-in-kinds that the bosses of businesses are earning when they declare their total income to IRAS every year.

Singapore Citizens can clearly see that PAP policies, especially immigration policy, have not benefit Singapore Citizens. Singapore Citizens have seen their wages stagnant. Unemployed Singapore Citizens have no chance to be reemployed in any decent job. Under-employed Singapore Citizens are frustrated not able to fully have their full potential put to good use.

As long as PAP continues to open floodgate to allow foreigners to work in Singapore, the income gap between the rich (including the bosses) and the average and poor Singapore Citizens will continue to widen.

Anonymous said...

"As long as PAP continues to open floodgate to allow foreigners to work in Singapore, the income gap between the rich (including the bosses) and the average and poor Singapore Citizens will continue to widen."
Anon 30/1/12 21:54

So what's wrong with that when 60% continue to support PAP? And even if they don't like PAP, some will still vote PAP?

If I were PAP, I would also be doing what PAP is doing. Who wouldn't?

Anonymous said...

So long as LKY is around, don't expect this to happen.
I am not sure that even if LKY is dead, the pap will be able to change course. LKY's selective extreme free market ideology has been too deeply entrenched into the mindset of the pap elites.
The Republicans do not support the measures Barack Obama sets. So it is doubtful whether he can correct the situation. Should the Republicans capture power, they will definitely implement their capitalist way.

A house is not a home... said...

Firstly, our govt takes more care of corporations than of us her citizens.

Secondly, this wealth distribution has been manipulated since mid90s where these millionaire civil servants paid themselves with our hard-earned money for policies that are not to her citizen's benefit.

I believe our social ethos of Singapore is very questionable today considering all these "money-worshipping" MP examples.

Koh said...

I agree with Lucky 100%!!

By and large the average Sporean is fearful of straying from Kuan Yew's constant refrain that we are too small and too vulnerable to be an open society and that genetics somehow legitimates "inequality" in society. He even has the audacity to question Spore's viability as a nation in the long run. Kuan Yew is doom and gloom and is a zero when it comes to ideals like national unity of the various races.

The elite he has raised exist to echo his views with the occasional tweak.

Anonymous said...

Quote: "So what's wrong with that when 60% continue to support PAP? And even if they don't like PAP, some will still vote PAP?"

The 60% consist of those hard core PAP supporters, people working in GLCs, stat boards and civil service who are scared that voting is not secret and those silent and clueless housewives and old people who never bother reading news.

Certainly, this 60% is crumbling away as the younger generation is more net savy and does not depend solely on MSM news. As can be seen on Yahoo and other online news forum, 90% of the participants are opposition supporters. The remaining 10% hard core PAP supporters are massively outnumbered.

As more people become politically aware, it is a matter of time before PAP loses its ruling power. I can forsee 2016 to be a real watershed where more GRCs will be taken by the opposition and PAP support base will slide towards 50%.

Anonymous said...

I like the americans for their rhetorics, especially that eloquent jfk. I think it's becos they were schooled in arts and science at the same time. In terms of talking cock singing song, they are certainly number one.. wish more people here were like that. Yea plagiarism have been rampant all along, some people have been merrily cutting and pasting like everyone is blind... you dun have to just admire Morgan Standey or that Jimmy hotshot anymore but you can sound like them too.. cut and paste lah.

Anonymous said...

Too bad, our system is that people who are not successful should not raise a family as they only end up becoming burden to our GDP and pull the rest of us down, their raising of family here is only polluting our gene pool. :(

Anonymous said...

You can still hide in the woods in US and live off the land if left with no choice. You cannot do that in Singapore, cause those illegal foreign overstayers would probably fight with you for space for their vice activities.

Anonymous said...

"You can still hide in the woods in US and live off the land if left with no choice. You cannot do that in Singapore,.... "

In Singapore there is only ONE course of action .... VOTE Pro-Singapore which means VOTE OPPOSITION.

We have no where else to hide in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Obama is a politician with a social cause.

The Party Against People is a political party with a profit and loss target.

They profit from your loss of your common sense and good judgement.

Whatever the shortcomings of the Opposition Parties;
They are there day in & day out;
Win or lose;
General elections after General Elections;
Making a stand for Singaporeans;
.....

So what happened to the losing PAP GRC candidates after ONE election loss?

They went running back to the private sector straight away.

Transform PAP?
Just election talk.
Transform from within?
Bullshit!

Who are the real Stayers?
Who are the real Quitters?

Anonymous said...

~As long as PAP continues to open floodgate to allow foreigners to work in Singapore, the income gap between the rich (including the bosses) and the average and poor Singapore Citizens will continue to widen.~
There's not PAP cabinet's intention to narrow the income gap. Most likely is to slow down the "widening".

Anonymous said...

I think here are some ways that people can be made to listen to you:

1. Make sure that they can't survive on their own. Just keep their nose barely above water with minimum support. If they don't listen then pulled the support whilst make sure that the rest are watching.

2. Isolate and deprive them of information.

3. Keep telling them how lucky they are and constantly compare them to slaves elsewhere.

4. Import some slaves for them to see it for themselves.

5. Use any and all means to make sure you stay in power.

6. You can see more just by looking around at how things are done here.

Don't blame the 60.1%. Blame those who ensalve them.

Anonymous said...

Darkness of the Brotherhood says, Obama is just good for feel good rhetoric. He says, there is a large gap between theory and reality when Obama speaks, that is why he cannot be taken seriously. He is also very critical of Obama as since he became the President very little has changed. He talks alot, but does very little. I agree with what Obama says, but the test is in eating the pudding, so far no one has come to take our orders yet.

Maybe you are just naive Lucky. Maybe you put to much faith in words. Maybe you should like Darkness look at past historical performance and compare what was said against what was done.

Anonymous said...

Everyone here talk a lot. Who is willing to actually pay more so that the lower income can see their wage goes up. That is the trade off. If you are not willing to pay more for everything from food to transport, then there is nothing to talk about. U can complain about FTs all day every day but it is also these same FTs that are keeping your chicken rice at $3 instead of $10.

Ng Eng Hou said...

I'm one of those who work, but not much chance of setting up a family. I don't dare to think about retirement, because I don't think my CPF will be enough. Most probably I will work till I drop dead.

To address the income or social inequality, I think the best way is to improve social mobility,to let those disadvantaged ones more chances to improve on themselves. If this is not possible, policies should be implemented to alleviate the sufferings.

Just feel that government regulations in a way inhibit people from improving themselves. Let's say if you want to do something as a side job to supplement your income, the regulations can be a great hindrance. For example, some people want to make some cookies to sell, but government comes in to interfere. My own thinking is if the government can't or not willing to help us, don't make things difficult for us.

Greater Economic Freedom + Supportive Policies - The Way To Narrow Income Gap!

Anonymous said...

To the jokers who thinks SG is controlled by corporate companies and is different from the US. Go google lobbying United States. US politicians are quite literally on big companies payroll!!!!

Anonymous said...

Retirement is always a financial issue for most anywhere only because instant gratification serves the worldly herds well.

Anonymous said...

It is not the SMEs who influence the decision...it is more of the GLCs......in my opinion...

Many SMEs are just trying to survive and follow the trends...GLCs are the ones that are influencing everything....because they got the bargaining power...just look NTUC, Singtel and others....

Anonymous said...

Which countries president would stoop down to say he will help a person who is jobless for 3 years to look into his issue. I wonder if our million dollar salary minister will do so considering they earning even more than Obama. LOL

http://news360.com/#article/40976401

Anonymous said...

Just give us back our CPF money.

We want to stop subsidizing the PAP government.

PAP does not owe me a living.

I don't owe PAP a living.

Anonymous said...

"Singapore's drainage standards not up to other cities': Panel"

but our ministers' pay is more than up to standards thanks goodness.

Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for a panel to tell the 60% daft Singaporeans that Singapore's Ministers also not up to standard.

Anonymous said...

Americans are great inspirer and story teller and that's why they rake in billions in box office.

please distinguish between reality and movies.

Anonymous said...

It seems the job of the PAP is to protect the interests of the PAP elites comprising mainly people who are related to one another, their loyal supporters and the businessmen. This comprises the very rich in Singapore. Their incompetence makes life for the rest worse off over the years

Anonymous said...

"By flooding the job market with foreigners, businesses find all excuses not to hire Singapore Citizens or hire Singapore Citizens on unfair terms of agreements as businesses have easily access to foreigners. This led to more Singapore Citizens being under-employed or unemployed over a long period. These figures are not captured in the unemployment rate of Singapore Citizens which is already the highest when comparison is made between Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Foreigners. ...Anon at 30/1/12 21:54"

Thank you for saying it loud for many of us. Unfortunately, the "deaf" ears of papies will not hear it.

I am in my fifties, I can only say it for myself that I have given up hope of being employ in my "old" job even at a 50% discount to the middle 10,000 lowest pay PMET.

Anonymous said...

No wonder FT are pissing on us. Our brightest blogger is a retard.

Obama is part of the problem!
His America is in serious moral and financial decline.
And responsible for the spread of exploitative brand of capitalism.
He makes LHL looks like a bargain.

Anonymous said...

It is true. The PAP government pursues economic growth at all costs. It does not matter if Singaporeans are left behind. LKY said that if you see the FT's driving bigger cars or living in bigger houses than you, that will motivate you to work harder so as to buy those things as well. So basically the PAP just wants to chase the dollar sign. Nothing else matters. Not Singaporeans. Money talks.