When You Don’t Know What To Do Claim It’s All Part of a Long Term Strategy
Any wishful thinking that the US-China trade war would soon be over was dispelled by Trump’s announcement last week of a 10% tariff, effective September 1st, on the $300 billion of Chinese exports which have so far escaped.
The PAP Government have always claimed that it is only because of their careful planning and long-term strategy for Singapore coupled with efficient and incorruptible administration that we have become an economic powerhouse. I have instead argued that this is a case of the PAP claiming credit for economic trends that would have happened regardless of their leadership, or the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this therefore because of this). While we do not have the luxury of counter-factuals in economics, the probability is that Singapore would have enjoyed fast growth regardless of who was in charge. Singaporeans certainly never had to put up with the loss of freedom.
Neither was the economic austerity and forced saving that was imposed necessary. Famously Tharman justified this in Parliament as saying that our sovereign wealth funds, GIC and Temasek, were investing for the long term. Using the cover of “long term investing” and the bogus need for secrecy has allowed the PM to appoint members of his family, particularly his wife, to be in charge of managing your money and paying themselves secretly what are almost guaranteed to be obscene amounts while making unverifiable claims as to the returns achieved. All I can say is that if we have reserves even 10% of what we should have based on Temasek’s and GIC’s claims then why does Lee Hsien Loong constantly talk about the need to put up taxes?
Yesterday Chan Chun Sing in a state-media orchestrated pre-election speech to the Tanjong Pagar Club, continued the PAP tradition of claiming credit when things go well but blaming external circumstances when things go badly. By saying that the Government is adopting a “targeted and long term perspective in its economic strategies” (translation: the Government is “gasih buta” about what to do!) he is just asking Singaporeans to trust them in the same way the Government asks you to trust them when it says it is investing for the long term so you cannot have your CPF money back at 55.
In another laughable comment CCS said that “We have always been transparent and honest with our people”. In fact the transparency and honesty has been completely one-sided. The PAP have always imposed sacrifices on the people, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable, while trying to deceive Singaporeans in their Budget presentation as to the resources available and actual spending. They will not tell us what assets the Government owns and they certainly will not tell us how their spouses, offspring, relatives and cronies have profited in terms of jobs, scholarships and contracts as a result of Government connections. The Government is too afraid to tell us even the simplest piece of information such as how much the PM’s wife is paid let alone what assets the Lees have accumulated in 60 years of unfettered rule. Meanwhile Malaysia moves way ahead of us in good governance and transparency.
It has never been more true that people get the Government they deserve. I am not hopeful that anything will change after the coming election.