今天

福利是今天永无果酱

12/12/10

作者/来源:Thoughts of a Cynical Investor (9-12-2010)
http://singaporedaily.net
新加坡文献馆译

明天有果酱,昨天有果酱,但今天永无果酱

上星期五,我阅读一篇《谨慎与纪律》的文章,是报导总理的有关新加坡福利制度(过去,现在和未来)的谈话,这令我想起Lewis Carroll的著作《透过玻璃镜看爱丽丝世界》里头爱丽丝和白皇后的一段对话。

在书里白皇后雇用爱丽丝的工作条件是‘每隔一天给你果酱’。这一条规则是说,‘明天有果酱,昨天有果酱,但今天永无果酱。’这就是每隔一天给你果酱,而今天却不是一个隔天,所以果酱永无着落…

这句话从此被用来表示一个永远不会实现的承诺,这也是许多人认为给予穷人的承诺就是这般模样。

总理对这一课题的无知令我感到气愤,他说,我们不可能承担西方式的福利主义。问题是,有理智的人士是不会提出这种福利要求,反对党和其他从事慈善工作的人士也一样不会。

一名前公务员领导,现任的公共服务委员会主席显示了他的智慧,不久前,他在美国向一些新加坡的奖学金得主演说时言及:‘越来越多的公民,尤其是年青的新加坡人,对一个富裕的新加坡还有着穷人的现状感到十分懊恼。’

争议是因为预算案里头福利开销微不足道。比如政府很看重的就业入息补助,这是个好主意,但过于吝啬。

总理在11月份谈论就业入息补助时提及:‘过去5年的总额是16.5亿元,也就是每年4亿元去帮助40万名低收入工人’。财政部长在今年2月份时说,改善后的就业收入补助计划将需要增加每年1亿元的开销。因此,目前的就业入息补助应该是5亿元,也就是预算案内的营运开支的1.5%。微不足道。是的,把16.5亿元除以5,不会得出4亿元,所以我引用了确实的数据。

如果政府关心增加了常年开支会使到穷人的道德迷失,和破坏了“工作带来自由”的哲学思想(严格的说,这是人性上的不断提高期待,政客会设法迎合选民的问题),那为何不去试试Kaushik Basu的解决方案?这位康奈尔大学教授是印度财政部长的经济顾问,他说,把最低收入群体内的20%人口的收入,用平均数去提升是不足夠的,适当的方法是让他们平等的去分享经济增长的实际收入。

这就是说以一次过的方式把31亿元分发给最贫穷的20%新加坡人口。这数字要少于淡马锡在美林银行上的实际亏损。淡马锡可能会在美林的投资上亏损46亿美元(在2009年3月这数据是70亿星元)(对淡马锡而言2009年3月是个不祥日子,在巴克利银行也蒙受亏损,大约是8亿英镑,当时的市价是大约17亿星元)。

(可以看看这个网站内的更多资料: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/minimum-wages-missing-the-point)

我们有足夠的现金去购买今日的果酱,我们不需要靠借贷去支付强化的就业收入补助。

预算案盈余,公积金收入(间接的通过迂回手法),售出官地所得的总收入组成的主权基金以179.5%的巨幅超越新加坡在2009年的估计国家生产总值。有关国家资产的信息可以看看这个网站: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/property-sales-also-fund-our-swfs/

这篇跳出相子思考(新加坡政府投资公司和淡马锡的总资产是大约为每名新加坡人230000元)的作者向我指出以淡马锡自成立以来的每年17%投资回报来计算,在扣除管理费和通膨后,每名新加坡人每年可以分享28750元。他是以12.5%回报率来估算。

完全不必使用‘明天有果酱,昨天有果酱,但今天永无果酱。这一条规则。每隔一天给你果酱,而今天却不是一个隔天,所以果酱永无着落…’

原文来源:http://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/welfare-jam-to-morrow-and-jam-yesterday-but-never-jam-today/

Welfare: Jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today
Thoughts of a Cynical Investor on 09/12/2010 at 5:20 am

When read I this “prudence and discipline” article last Friday* reporting a speech on S’por’e welfare system (past, present and future) by the PM, I was reminded of the conversation between Alice and the White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s book Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There”.

In the book the White Queen offers Alice “jam every other day” to work for her: ”The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today … It’s jam every OTHER day: to-day isn’t any OTHER day, you know.

“[J]am to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today” has since then become an expression for a never-fulfilled promise, which is what many think the promise to help the poor has become.

What annoyed me was that the PM doesn’t understand the issue: saying we couldn’t afford Eurpoean style welfarism. Trouble is no-one sensible is asking for this, certainly not the opposition parties or the do-gooders.

The ex-head of the civil service and now chairman of the Public Service Commission showed he “got it” when he said at a recent speech in the US to S’pore scholars: “More and more citizens, especially younger Singaporeans, agonize over the fact that there are still poor people in wealthy Singapore.”

The issue is the smallish amount of welfare payments relative to the Budget. Take Workfare the govmin’s flagship programme. It has the right idea but is too ungenerous.

The PM in November said abt Workfare: ”[A] total of $1.65 billion in the last five years, or $400 million a year, to help 400,000 low-income workers”. The Finance Minister said in February this year that the enhanced Workfare scheme will cost the government S$100 million annually. So the spending on Workfare is now S$500m or 1.5% of the operating expenses in the latest Budget. Still peanuts. And yes I know that 1.65bn divided by 5, doesn’t equal 400m. Taz why I quoted the exact words.

And if the govmin is concerned that increased annual payments to the poor will lead to moral degeneration and the destruction of its “Work will make you free” philosophy (seriously though, there is the very human issue of rising expectations and politicians pandering to the voters), why not try Kaushik Basu’s solution? The Cornell University professor, and chief economic adviser to India’s finance ministry, says it is not enough that the income of the bottom 20% rise at the same percentage rate as the average. Instead, they should get an equal absolute share of the income the economy.

This would mean only a one-off transfer of S$3.1 billion to the poorest 20% of S’poreans. Less than Temasek’s realised loss on Merrill Lynch. Temasek could have lost as much as US$4.6bn (in 2009 March this would have been S$7bn) on Merrill Lynch. (BTW, March 2009 was not gd for Temasek. The much smaller loss on Barclays (800m sterling?, was then worth abt S$ 1.7bn ).

(http://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/minimum-wages-missing-the-point/ for more on these)

We got the money for more “jam today”. We don’t need to borrow to fund enhanced Workfare.

The combination of Budget surpluses, CPF money (indirectly via a circuitous route), and state land sale proceeds, have resulted in our SWFs having 179.5% more in assets than S’pore’s 2009 estimated GDP. For more details on our assets: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/property-sales-also-fund-our-swfs/ and follow the links in the piece.

And the author of this cheeky thinking-outside-the-box piece (which shows that the funds GIC and Temasek have works out to S$230,000 a S’porean), points out to me that at Temasek’s 17% annual return since inception with a few adjustments for mgt fee and inflation, each S’porean can get a S$28, 750 payment a yr. He uses a return of 12.5%.

There is no need for ”The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today … It’s jam every OTHER day: to-day isn’t any OTHER day, you know.”

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分类题材: 政治_politics , 政府制度_policy

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