Saturday, August 31, 2019

Govt agencies should stop collecting cash

I suggest that government agencies should stop collecting cash. They should insist of being paid through the QR system.

This will force people to move to the QR system. They can pay from their bank account with an app (under PayNow).

How to get a stable and responsive government

Many people think that a democratic system will produce a responsive system, as the elected government has to meet the wishes of the people.

The evidence points to the contrary.

Wisdom of the Crowd

1, How should the salary of government ministers be determined?
2. Should public utilities by run by state owned enterprises?

Give your vote in

WOTC - Independence of judiciary

Wisdom of the Crowd: 98% of the participants said that the judiciary should be independent of the government for three reasons. 2% said that it should come under the government.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Salary of CEO of state owned company

Wisdom of the Crowd: 91% of the participants said that the salary of the CEO of a state owned company should be disclosed for two reasons. The other 9% said that it should be kept a secret.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Friday, August 30, 2019

Wisdom of the Crowd

What are your views of the People's Action Party
Give your vote in

WOTC - People Voice Party

Wisdom of the Crowd: 74% of the participants had a positive opinion of the People's Voice Party under Lim Tean. 26% had a negative opinion.

See the breakdown of the votes and the reasons in

WOTC - Pneumococcal vaccination

Wisdom of the Crowd: 70% of the participants voted that pneumococcal vaccination should be provided free, citing two reasons. 30% voted that it should be subsidized. (Currently, there is no subsidy. )

See the breakdown of the votes in

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Take immediate action to rectify the dysfunctional policies

Singapore operates a dysfunctional system. The cost of living and cost of housing is too high. Most people rely on grants and subsidies to meet these high cost.

Do not give subsidies based on family income

The government prefers to give subsidies based on family income. The problem with this approach is the cutoff point. Based on their convoluted system, some people in the borderline are left out or are given a smaller subsidy than others in similar circumstances.

Another problem with this approach is the trouble taken to determine the amount of subsidy. The facts for each family situation has to be obtained. Some families who felt unfairly treated complained and the staff have to explain the calculation.

Furthermore, the classification of the entitlement vary from different types of benefits.

What is a better approach?

Wisdom of the Crowd

1. How can Singapore increase its birth rate?
2. Should we stop giving prestigious scholarships to govt scholars?
3. Are the scholarships awarded fairly and impartially?

Give your vote in

Quora: What's your reaction to President Trump's latest tweet that he's raising tariffs on China because of their retaliation?

Don Keebrane, Attorney (2008-present)

He’s an idiot. He thinks he can bully China into a trade deal like he bullied his way through the GOP primary. He never should have pulled out of the TPP to begin with. We had roughly a dozen other countries willing to stand by us in condemning China’s theft of intellectual property and other unfair trading practices.

The tariffs have been a complete failure, and he shouldn’t have been able to impose them to begin with. It’s Congress’s job to decide on tariffs, not the president; the only time the president can impose tariffs is in the interest of national security. China’s unfair trading practices aren’t a threat to national security, but he can get away with it because they’re still considered a hostile foreign power. His tariffs also included Canada and countries in the EU that are part of NATO; by definition, a NATO country can’t be a threat to US national security, but the GOP is too spineless to do anything about it.

Trump started imposing tariffs on Chinese goods, only a complete fucking moron wouldn’t expect retaliation.

The difference between our strategy and China’s is China has one. We don’t. President Xi also doesn’t have to worry about reelection, Trump does. That’s why the first industry China targeted with its retaliatory tariffs was the agricultural industry. People from rural areas tend to vote Republican. Imposing tariffs on American agricultural products means American farmers can’t sell their products to China since Chinese importers can buy them elsewhere without the tariffs. The soybean market is dead and other agricultural commodity exports are down by 40%.

On the flip side, we’re just paying more money for American goods manufactured in China. Whenever Trump announces new tariffs the market falls; today it fell roughly 600 points. It’s bad for consumer confidence to have this trade war, and even worse when Trump tweets about it.

He’s not that bright, but his ability to manipulate markets is probably making people associated with him a lot of money. When the market plunged 1,000 points the other day. I’m sure some of his buddies bought shares of some of the stocks that fell and made money after they slightly recovered.

WOTC - SDP response to ND Rally speech

Wisdom of the Crowd: 91% of the respondents said that they are totally or somewhat convinced by the SDP response to PM Lee's speech at the National Day Rally. The remaining 9% are not convinced by the SDP.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Budget of $100 billion to combat rising sea level

Wisdom of the Crowd: 64% of the respondents said that the budget of $100 billion to protect against rising sea level is just an excuse to raise more taxes. 30% said that the budget is excessive. Only 6% said that it was necessary.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Quora: Is China frustrated with the U.S. trade war?

Johnny Fung, Entrepreneur with businesses in China and US answered.

I believe the Trump team is extremely frustrated with the war they can’t win. Since the trade war started a year ago, Trump has called Xi 3 times trying to make deals.

The Chinese are extremely patient. They are preparing 5 to 10 years or even up to 25 years into the future. The US only concentrates on issues every 4 years.

At the beginning of the trade war, China was quite nervous since no one knew the outcome, and Chinese leaders predicted a 1.5 -2% GDP hit. However, after one year, China is standing, and still grows by more than 6%, which comes from deleveraging! The US economy is worse than it actually looks. It is boosted by debts. 40 years ago, debt was a good thing for the US economy because each $1.00 GDP increase cost the US less than $0.50 debt. However, now the US has to use $4.00 debt to generate $1.00 GDP increase. It is clearly unsustainable. That is why Trump has been printing more money, but the resulting GDP increase is very small. In fact, the US will see sub 2% GDP within 6–9 months.

There is also the stock market indicator for both countries. China’s stock value is less than 10% of national wealth, but US’s is 80%. In other words, the US can’t have a big downward trend on stock market. Trump is forcing the FEDs to lower the interest rate, mainly to boost the stock market. By the end of 2020, US stock indices will have another high, then we will see US financial market entering a long term downward trend. Gold will continue increasing in value along with other precious metals.

It is also important to know that for the PPP (Purchase Power Parity) GDP, China already bypasses the US in 2018, standing at 130% of US’s. After another 10 years, it will be 300%.

Chinese leaders are extremely smart on math. Lol, they know what to look for, and prepare China for the worst case scenario.

China is also producing 20 times the engineers that the US is. In 2018, China graduated more than 8 MM college educated students, more than half are engineers; US graduated 440K engineering degree students, but with 52% are foreign students from China and India, US only had 200K domestic educated engineers, mainly Chinese American and Indian American.

If I were US, I would have many sleepless nights.

Introduce a tax on plastic packaging and reduce GST

I suggest that a tax on plastic packaging be introduced with a corresponding reduction in GST.

The plastic tax should be at a high rate to make it expensive for consumers.

This will encourage businesses and consumers to reduce the single use plastic products, such as packaging, bottles and straws,

Consumers will find alternative ways to replace the use of these products. They can bring shopping bags. They can bring their own bottles to replace the plastic cups.

There should be a corresponding reduction in GST to offset this higher tax. The tax payers are already tired of paying more tax which increase the cost of living.

Make CPF contribution voluntary for older workers

Someone was very angry at the proposed increase in contribution rate for older workers. He said that most of these workers do not earn enough. Why force them to save more for their future, when they need the money for their current expenses.

He also argued that the increase from employers will also affect the older workers. Some employers may replace them with younger workers or foreign workers to save cost. Alternatively, the employer may reduce the salary of the older worker to offset their higher expense.

What is the solution?

WOTC - Welfare of the ordinary people

Wisdom of the Crowd: 84% of the participants in this survey said that the PAP does not care about the welfare of ordinary people or are ineffective in carrying out this task. The other 16% had a different view.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Should voting be compulsory

Wisdom of the Crowd: 58% of the participants said that voting should be compulsory to achieve an effective democracy. the other 42% had a different view.

See the results of the votes in

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Wisdom of the Crowd

1. Do you support the increase in CPF contribution rate for older people?
2. Are you concerned with the closing down of DFS outlets in Changi Airport?
3. Who rental will the new operator pay to take over the DFS outlets?

Give your vote in

Time to clear the SG and Johore side of the causeway and second link

I monitored the time required to clear the Singapore and the Johore customs at the causeway and second link on 10 occasions covering different days of the week and different times.

On each occasion, I monitored the time taken for both links and both directions.

In about 75% of these occasions, it takes longer to clear the Singapore side, compared to the Johore side. However, the difference in time taken is quite close, maybe less than 15 minutes.

You can view the actual results here.

Will higher income tax chase the high earners from Singapore?

I prefer that higher income earners should pay a higher rate of tax and be entitled to the same benefits as other citizens. Furthermore, GST should be abolished.

Someone was worried - will a higher rate of tax chase the high income earners from Singapore?

Reduce cost of living

Singapore has perhaps the highest cost of living in the world.

The government tries to give subsidies to low income people to help them cope with the high cost of living, such as the cost of education and health care.

A better approach is to implement measures to slow down the increase in the cost of living.

WOTC - PM Lee's speech at ND Rally (2)

Wisdom of the Crowd: 98% of the respondents to this survey had a negative view of PM Lee's speech at the National Day Rally.

See the detailed breakdown in

WOTC - PM Lee's speech at National Day Rally

Wisdom of the Crowd: 98% of the respondents to this survey had a negative view of PM Lee's speech at the National Day Rally.

See the detailed breakdown in

Monday, August 26, 2019

Suspend GST to stimulate the economy

I suggested that GST should be suspended to stimulate the economy to cope with the impending recession caused by disruption to global trade.

Some people think that it will not help, as most people will still not spend the GST saving due to economic uncertainty.

I disagree.

Why the future for the young is bleak under PAP

The future for our young will be bleak under the PAP.


Penalty for drug abuse

A former drug addict suggested that first time drug abuser should be subject to caning. This will scare young people from attempting to take drug.

Is this a good approach? Is this too severe?

Wisdom of the Crowd

1. Which economic stimulus measure do you prefer?
2. How can we discourage young people from taking drugs?
Give your vote in

WOTC - Economic stimulus package for Singapore

Wisdom of the Crowd: 58% of the participants said that Singapore leaders does not know what to do, 13% said that Singapore should act now and 11% said that Singapore should wait for longer.

See the breakdown of the votes in

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Wisdom of the Crowd - vote on these issues

1. Is skill upgrading the best way to ensure employability?
2. What is the best future for Hong Kong?
3. What happens next, after US and China add more tariff?
4. Should Singapore encourage the move towards electric cars?

Give your vote in

Be positive and constructive

I encourage people to be positive and constructive. What we have may not be perfect, but it may be better than nothing.

Let me give an example.

Higher bursary for higher education

I welcome the higher bursary for higher education. However, I must point out that the increase of $44 million a year is a small amount, when seen in the context of the total budget of Singapore of $20 billion.

The total bursary of $167 million a year is also small. It is probably the cost of 2 F35-A fighter jets.

Nevertheless, I welcome this change. I only want to put it in its proper context.

Read my views here.

Delay at road crossings to Johore

After monitoring the delay at the SG and JB end of the two road crossings, I conclude that about 75% of the time, it takes longer to clear the SG end. However, the difference is usually quite small. So, the longer time is acceptable.

See the detailed results here:

WOTC - Topics for ND Rally

Wisdom of the Crowd: 89% of the participants said that PM Lee should take about reducing the cost of living and the impending economic crisis. He did not - not in sync with the ordinary people.

See the breakdown of the votes in

WOTC - Complacent about govt policies

Wisdom of the Crowd: Only 2% are active in demanding change to bad policies. The other 98% are generally complacent, unless they are personally affected.

See the breakdown of the votes in

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