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#1 User is offline   MTP Reggie 

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 08:52 AM

Singapore: A Fascinating Alternative To The Welfare State
John C. Goodman
Mar 31, 2015, 11:24am
Forbes

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Lee Kuan Yew, the first prime minister of Singapore, died last week at age 91. Almost every obituary has remarked on the radical transition his leadership heralded. As John Fund wrote at National Review:

By embracing free trade, capital formation, vigorous meritocratic education, low taxes, and a reliable judicial system, Lee raised the per capita income of his country from $500 a year to some $52,000 a year today. That's 50 percent higher than that of Britain, the colonial power that ruled Singapore for 150 years. Its average annual growth rate has averaged 7 percent since the 1970s.


Part of the reason for Singapore's remarkable climb up the international income ladder is bread and butter capitalism. The Fraser nstitute's Freedom of the World report lists Singapore as the second freest economy in the world -- right behind Hong Kong. As Frasier scholars have demonstrated year after year, economic growth and free markets go hand and hand.

But Singapore has done something even more remarkable than its economic accomplishments. It has built an alternative to the European style welfare state. Think of all the reasons why people turn to government in other developed countries: retirement income, housing, education, medical care etc. In Singapore people are required to save to take care of these needs themselves.

At times the forced saving rate has been as high as 50% of income. Today, employees under 50 years of age must set aside 20% of their wages and employers must contribute another 16%. These funds go into accounts where they grow through time until specific needs arise. For example, one of the uses for these savings is housing. About 90% of Singapore households are home owners – the highest rate of home ownership in the world.

In health care, Singapore started an extensive system of "Medisave Accounts" in 1984 – the very year that Richard Rahn and I proposed "Medical IRAs" for America in the Wall Street Journal. Today, 7 percentage points of Singapore's 36% required savings rate is for health care and is deposited in a separate Medisave account for each employee. Individuals are also automatically enrolled in catastrophic health insurance, although they can opt out. When a Medisave account balance reaches about $34,100 (an amount equal to a little less than half of the median family income) any excess funds are rolled over into another account and may be used for non-health care purposes.

For many years, the only two scholars in the Western world who paid much attention to Singapore were Washington University economist Michael Sherraden and me. Michael approached the Singapore experience from a left-of-center perspective and I came from the opposite direction. We both ended in the same place: this is an alternative to the welfare state that works.

Lately, quite a number of other scholars have discovered Singapore, especially its health care system – again, with both right and left finding a lot to admire. It's taken almost three decades, but Singapore is now the subject of a book by Brookings Institution, a whole slew of posts by Austin Frakt and Aaron Carroll, and a good overview by Tyler Cowen, with links to other studies and comments.

Sherraden recently summarized some of Singapore's major social policy innovations as follows:

Step by step, the Singapore state created a new social policy system that had asset building as its central structure…. In the world of social policy, it would be hard to overstate the exceptionality and the extent of this innovation…. During the past 25 years, Singapore policy has taken important steps toward lifelong asset building, beginning very early in life. These innovations include EduSave, the Baby Bonus, Child Development Accounts, and related asset-building incentives.


For John Fund, Singapore's most significant accomplishment is the avoidance of the mistakes of other countries:


(snip)

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#2 User is offline   Censport 

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 12:37 PM

"But Capitalism always fails! And it's unfair! And it kills people! My non-binary college professor told me so in my Left-handed Mulatto Touch Typist Grievance Studies course!
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#3 User is online   zurg 

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 12:45 PM

I’ve had Singapore on my radar for a long time. Not to necessarily live in, but as a great example of capitalism and proper role of government.

To GWB’s credit, he tried to get Social Security 401k’s done. We should do that and do the Medical IRAs, and do Education IRAs. Everyone to have skin in the game is by far the best move forward.

It’s not too late, except we have to deal with AOC level idiocy.
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#4 User is online   Dean Adam Smithee 

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 01:12 PM

View PostMTP Reggie, on 07 January 2019 - 08:52 AM, said:

For John Fund, Singapore's most significant accomplishment is the avoidance of the mistakes of other countries:


Singapore also avoids one further mistake of other countries: They take illegal immigration SERIOUSLY. As a result, illegal immigration is all but non-existent: mere hundreds per year in a nation of almost 6 million. FOR COMPARISON: Greater Atlanta has a similar population size, just over 6 million, with an estimated 250,000 illegals (and that's probably a low-ball estimate)

The penalty for illegal entry in Singapore is a minimum of 3 lashes with a cane followed by up to 6 months hard labor then deportation. The penalty for hiring or harboring an illegal is a MINIMUM of 6 months in the jug, maximum of 2 years, and a fine of up to $6,000.

The numbers tell the story: As of 2014, there were 350 people arrested that year for illegal entry... MATCHED BY 250 people arrested for harboring them and 69 arrested for hiring them.

Heck, I could take the feds to several place in the Atlanta area where, between those several places, catching 350 would be just a good afternoon's work.
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#5 User is online   Dean Adam Smithee 

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 03:45 PM

View Postzurg, on 07 January 2019 - 12:45 PM, said:

I’ve had Singapore on my radar for a long time. Not to necessarily live in, but as a great example of capitalism and proper role of government.

To GWB’s credit, he tried to get Social Security 401k’s done. We should do that and do the Medical IRAs, and do Education IRAs. Everyone to have skin in the game is by far the best move forward.

It’s not too late, except we have to deal with AOC level idiocy.


There's a time I could have considered living in Singapore, at least for a time. Heck, just about every high-tech company I've subcontracted to (Intel, HP, Motorola, etc) has a presence there.

But... having spent the past 35+ years chasing tech projects all over the USA and overseas - 17 moves in those 35 years including both coasts of the USA plus Dubai and Oman and back, I figure I have one major move left in me: To get the hell out of the Atlanta area.

Post-Navy, not counting being transferred by them: Jacksonville FL; Orlando FL, Miami FL, West Palm Beach FL, Orlando FL, Richmond VA, Dubai UAE, Sohar Oman, Orlando FL, Johnson City TN, Columbus OH, FT Collins CO, Beaverton OR, Portland OR, Oak Ridge TN, Orlando FL, Marietta GA. It gets old after a while.

I'd prefer the next move to be Florida coast on the Atlantic side, West Palm Beach north to Cocoa Beach/Titusville. I especially like the Hobe Sound / Jupiter area, though I suspect even Jupiter is getting overbuilt these days.

Should the excrement hit the ventilation apparatus in the USA? Germany, UAE, Oman, in that order. Germany would be easy; Technically, as Moravian, I'm descendant of a "displaced" German and would be at the top of the list. But I also worked for a German multinational for most of the '00s and have contacts. And I used to have an apartment in Rain, swabia, germany when I had business interests there which I've since sold off. I could do it again. UAE because I have connections. Oman, fewer connections but the cost of living is attractive; I could find happiness amongst the many British expats who are ALSO there for the same reason.
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#6 User is online   Dean Adam Smithee 

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 08:58 PM

View Postzurg, on 07 January 2019 - 12:45 PM, said:

I’ve had Singapore on my radar for a long time. Not to necessarily live in, but as a great example of capitalism and proper role of government.

To GWB’s credit, he tried to get Social Security 401k’s done. We should do that and do the Medical IRAs, and do Education IRAs. Everyone to have skin in the game is by far the best move forward.

It’s not too late, except we have to deal with AOC level idiocy.


Truth be told, I just don't trust the A-holes in charge of such things in the USA to get it right. WAY too many thumbs on the scale.

Closest we've got to "Medical IRAs" here is FSAs (Flexible Spending Accounts). We've got them at Smithee Org, via Medcom. contribute up to $2,500/yr tax-free. Spend it on whatever medical you want. Sounds good, right?

Except if you've been particularly healthy the past year, and didn't NEED to spend $2,500. It vanishes into Medcoms pockets but for $500 you call "roll over".

'frickin legalized thievery as far as I'm concerned. This year? so as not to lose it? I spent $640+ on "First aid" supplies that I didn't really need.

(Well, as a volunteer First Responder I always have coveted a Pelican #1460 EMS Case just like they had on Emergency (1972-1979). Well, now I have one. $285 for a frickin' glorified Tackle Box. Sheesh, this is right up there with $500 hammers and toilet seats for the military.)

I'm not kidding:

http://oi68.tinypic.com/2cru05e.jpg
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#7 User is offline   grimreefer 

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 10:40 PM

I didn't read the whole article, but did they mention it's a very, VERY strict police state?
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#8 User is offline   oki 

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 11:28 AM

View PostDean Adam Smithee, on 07 January 2019 - 08:58 PM, said:

Truth be told, I just don't trust the A-holes in charge of such things in the USA to get it right. WAY too many thumbs on the scale.

Closest we've got to "Medical IRAs" here is FSAs (Flexible Spending Accounts). We've got them at Smithee Org, via Medcom. contribute up to $2,500/yr tax-free. Spend it on whatever medical you want. Sounds good, right?

Except if you've been particularly healthy the past year, and didn't NEED to spend $2,500. It vanishes into Medcoms pockets but for $500 you call "roll over".

'frickin legalized thievery as far as I'm concerned. This year? so as not to lose it? I spent $640+ on "First aid" supplies that I didn't really need.

(Well, as a volunteer First Responder I always have coveted a Pelican #1460 EMS Case just like they had on Emergency (1972-1979). Well, now I have one. $285 for a frickin' glorified Tackle Box. Sheesh, this is right up there with $500 hammers and toilet seats for the military.)

I'm not kidding:

http://oi68.tinypic.com/2cru05e.jpg



In 94 I was the S3 Driver for our Battalion. One of the things I will never forget was coming across the order for a 10MM Snap on Socket... $100.00 Just went to Snap On web site and they are listing them for $16.50 The other thing I learned was just how restricted they where in who they get just about everything from. Pen's, Stationary, a whole host of things they had to go through G.S.A. G.S.O. (I forget the exact name) which could be purchased much much cheaper locally. Give units more flexibility in this regard and a whole sh$t load of cash will be saved right then and there.

Your lucky, at least you don't need a Doc's order to spend flex dollars. Also, we can roll over 0


Oki

This post has been edited by oki: 08 January 2019 - 11:30 AM

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#9 User is online   Dean Adam Smithee 

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 02:08 PM

View Postgrimreefer, on 07 January 2019 - 10:40 PM, said:

I didn't read the whole article, but did they mention it's a very, VERY strict police state?


That, on it's own, does not cause me any heartburn BECAUSE anyone who doesn't like their strict rules is perfectly free to leave. Besides, the things they're strict about - everything from littering and graffiti to illegal immigration - are things I wouldn't be doing anyway.

People may remember the '04 case of Michael Fay, the 18 YO American living in Singapore who was sentenced to 4 months in jail and 6 lashes for "Theft of Gov't Property" (stealing traffic signs) and "Vandalism" (slashing tires and scratching paint on cars). I have no sympathy for the Michael Fays of the world.
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#10 User is offline   Hieronymous 

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 05:00 PM

View Postgrimreefer, on 07 January 2019 - 10:40 PM, said:

I didn't read the whole article, but did they mention it's a very, VERY strict police state?

I was looking for that too. My brother has been there, and that was the first thing he mentioned about it.
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#11 User is offline   grimreefer 

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 09:10 PM

View PostDean Adam Smithee, on 08 January 2019 - 02:08 PM, said:

That, on it's own, does not cause me any heartburn BECAUSE anyone who doesn't like their strict rules is perfectly free to leave. Besides, the things they're strict about - everything from littering and graffiti to illegal immigration - are things I wouldn't be doing anyway.

People may remember the '04 case of Michael Fay, the 18 YO American living in Singapore who was sentenced to 4 months in jail and 6 lashes for "Theft of Gov't Property" (stealing traffic signs) and "Vandalism" (slashing tires and scratching paint on cars). I have no sympathy for the Michael Fays of the world.

Oh I love visiting there. It's one of my favorite ports. No way in hell I'd ever live there though.


Fay committed an obvious crime and got no sympathy from me either. It's the little things most visitors wouldn't think were illegal that'll get ya... although most are just a large fine and don't involve a caning. :coolshades:
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#12 User is offline   Severian 

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 10:30 PM

I think it was Neal Stephanson who wrote a great essay called “Singapore: Disneyland With The Death Penalty.”
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#13 User is offline   grimreefer 

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 10:57 PM

View PostSeverian, on 08 January 2019 - 10:30 PM, said:

I think it was Neal Stephanson who wrote a great essay called “Singapore: Disneyland With The Death Penalty.”

:lol: I don't think I've ever seen a more accurate descriptor. B)
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#14 User is offline   BerkeleyUnderground 

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 11:02 PM

Years ago, I used to be a huge fan of NPR and it seems like the success of what Lee Kuan Yew accomplished in Singapore was sort of often talked about.
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#15 User is online   zurg 

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 09:24 PM

View Postgrimreefer, on 08 January 2019 - 10:57 PM, said:

:lol: I don't think I've ever seen a more accurate descriptor. B)

+1
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#16 User is online   Dean Adam Smithee 

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 06:24 PM

View PostSeverian, on 08 January 2019 - 10:30 PM, said:

I think it was Neal Stephanson who wrote a great essay called “Singapore: Disneyland With The Death Penalty.”

View Postgrimreefer, on 08 January 2019 - 10:57 PM, said:

:lol: I don't think I've ever seen a more accurate descriptor. B)


Apply this to Inner-City America. You'll get no quarrel from me.
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