Sunday, March 22, 2009

Creating jobs in a global crisis

I heard on CNBC TV that the banks are still not lending money. They take a lot of money from the Fed at low interest rate and invest the money in US Treasuries and other safe assets to make the spread. Meanwhile, businesses cannot survive due to lack of credit. More people will lose their jobs. 

There is no point in giving money to the banks or to businesses. They cannot survive, if there is no demand for their products. People are scared to spend, so they have to save their money to prepare for the bad times. The global economy will collapse, if things continue to spiral downwards. Fear will fear on itself.

The same condition will apply in Singapore. It is important for the Government to recognise the failure of the current system, and to implement a new approach. The Government can create many new social services jobs to keep people occupied and do some useful work in the following areas:

a)  Take care of the elderly people
b)  Take care of babies
c)  Provide local transport
d)  Provide tuition

These jobs can be at $6 per hour or at an specified rate (sufficient to balance supply and demand). 70% of the cost can be paid by the Government (subject to a maximum of $600 per month for each worker) and 30% can be paid by the user.

For example, an eldercarer can make a house visit at $30 per visit. Each nurse can make 3 visits a day to earn $90. The government pays $21 per visit (subject to a cap of $600 a  month for each carer). The user pays $9 a visit.  The carer can visit clients near their home, to reduce the travelling cost.

A person can provide local transport for $1.00. The user pays $0.30 with $0,70 paid by the Government. If the operator takes 100 passengers a day to earn $100 a day and incurs expenses of $60, there is a net income of $40.

The Government expenditure will keep people employed at a modest income level, and offer a service to improve the lives of people.  As the income is quite low, there will be a temporary measure. When the economy recovers, these people will find other higher paying jobs and the supply for this service will dininish. If there is still a demand for this service, the Government subsidy can be reduced to achieve a better balance of supply and demand.

I hope that this type of innnovative approach will be adopted in some countries or in Singapore.

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