He may have advised Barack Obama, but he is also critical of his financial-industry rescue plan, quoted on record as saying that whoever designed the Obama administration's bank rescue plan is "either in the pocket of the banks or they’re incompetent." It would be too far fetched to suggest the professor at Columbia University is in the pocket of politicians or being incompetent. More likely, he has been fed garbage and regurgitating same. His four jaundiced views:
First, individuals were compelled to take responsibility for their own needs. For example, through the savings in their provident fund, around 90 percent of Singaporeans became homeowners.
Homes which are priced to erode life savings, leaving nought for retirement and medical contingency needs.
Second, Government programs were universal but progressive: while everyone contributed, those who were well off contributed more to help those at the bottom.
Right, and GST is not regressive, estate duty was abolished to relieve the financial burden of the poor.
Third, the government intervened in the distribution of pretax income - to help those at the bottom, rather than, as in the United States, those at the top.
Is that why minimum wage is vigorously resisted, while top income earners pay only 20% and corporate tax rate is capped at 17%? (USA highest marginal tax rate is 39.6%, corporate tax peak at 35%)
Fourth, Singapore realized that the key to future success was heavy investment in education.
The defence budget was increased by 4.3 percent over last year to $12.28 billion, a jump of $504 million, representing 12.3% of FY2012 Total Expenditure. The budget for Education was reduced from 10.8% to 10.6%. Nuff said.
Fortunately, Stiglitz's gaps in the knowledge about our country are not lethal. What is dangerous is when Singapore Business Federation (SBF) Mission Leader Zainul Abidin Rasheed, who is also a former Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, nonchalantly promotes Iraq as a business destination: “I believe Singapore companies can benefit from Iraq through the export of goods and services that will meet the demands arising from the reconstruction efforts and the government’s investment in both hard infrastructure."
March 20 headline: 50 killed in Iraq attacks on eve of anniversary (of United States-led invasion).
In the collection of letters published in 1698 as "The mystery of phanaticism", an anonymous author, signing himself 'A B', wrote:
"Twas well observed by my Lord Bacon,
That a little knowledge is apt to puff up, and make men giddy,
but a greater share of it will set them right,
and bring them to low and humble thoughts of themselves."