Saturday, July 07, 2012

Lawsuit against AIA on Financial Guardian

Review of casino exclusions

Here is another exercise in calibration and differentiation. Some people will be labelled as "financially vulnerable" and be restricted from visiting the casino. Others will not be restricted. All in the interest of looking after their welfare. Back to the nanny state.,000-Sporeans

My preference is to pass a law to disallow gambling debts. If the casino or loan shark gives a loan for gambling or to pay off gambling debt, the loan will be illegal and will not be enforceable. If you cut off this source of funding, the gambling problem will be reduced considerably.

It is all right to gamble with money that one can afford to lose. But one should not gamble on borrowed money. This also apply to speculating in the stock market or, to use a nice term, "investing" in the stock market.

Did the IMF Pledge violate the Singapore constitution?

You can read the explanation in this article

Mr. Kenneth Jeyaretnam said that the pledge of US$4 billion to the International Monetary Fund, without approval of Parliament and the President, violate article 144 of the Constitution. The MAS said that the article refer only to borrowing and does not apply to lending by the Government.

I have to disagree with the MAS. My reasons are: 

  • Article 144 states that "no guarantee or loan shall be given or raised by the Government except under the authority of any resolution of Parliament with which the President concurs". I consider the pledge to be a "guarantee". 
  • Even if the article did not contain the word "guarantee", the article also stated that "no loan shall be given". How can MAS said that the article does not apply to lending by the Government?
I am surprised that MAS would give the above type of explanation - as it seemed to defy logic and common sense. 

Singapore's approach - calibration and differentiation

The PAP Government has developed the system of calibration and differentiation to a fine art. So many government schemes have to be calibrated and differentiated. The latest schemes to adopt this approach are the U-Save and the GST vouchers.

The citizens are often confused about the convoluted formulae used to determine who gets how much of these goodies. Those who get more are happy, while those who get less grumble and complain. It is almost impossible for the poor civil servants to explain the rationale used for the calibration and differentiation.

The main justification for the convoluted approach is the words of the leaders, that these schemes hae to be calibrated to achieve the targeted outcomes - whatever they mean.

To understand the convoluted approach used in Singapore, read this article by Mr. Brown, Also, read the comments. Some people said that the government is being dishonest by misleading the people on what they are given. I do not think that this is a deliberate act, but there is a lack of trust in the government now.

I have just found out another reason for the low birth rate in Singapore. The people spend so  much time figuring out the convoluted systems developed by the PAP government, that they do not have time to lead their normal family lives.

Government purchases - $2,200 foldable bikes

AS A taxpayer for the past 34 years and an avid cyclist,
I find it hard to comprehend how the National Parks Board's (NParks) bulk bicycle purchase
was value for money ('Khaw okay with NParks' purchase of $2,200 bikes'; Thursday).
Target price
should have been less than $1,000
The National Parks Board's (NParks) explanation
that because only one vendor had responded,
and therefore Brompton bicycles (the cheaper of the two options offered)
were chosen, is questionable.

Rise of mega churches

Monday, July 02, 2012

The wage gap

Adequate Life Insurance

Often, you read articles in the newspapers stating that Singaporeans do not have adequate life insurance. They are often published by sources connected with the life insurance companies. The purpose is to get people to buy more life insurance coverage. What is an adequate amount of life insurance needed by the breadwinner of the family? Article

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