Operation Occupy Wall Street


#2461

I have several retired friends over there who I occasionally play games with, and one's a retired accountant.
The situation's not good, but it's not as bad as Singapore.

I, personally, am completely against retirement benefits - pensions - which are not defined return. The risk shouldn't be on the worker's side.


#2462

Term limits in California have proven to be a big disappointment. Government worked better with legislators who understood the system and weren't constantly looking for their next job.

My big #3 that could never happen would be to prevent anyone who gained a Congressional seat from being a lobbyist for the rest of their life or receiving money from lobbyists, but that's so fuzzy and anti-freedom that it's impossible.

That one I could go for.


#2463

I haven't thought it through much, but wouldn't congressional term limits require a lot of changes to the way the congress currently works? Aren't there chairman-ships and whatnot that are assigned based on seniority, etc? Even if these rules aren't in the house rules themselves, would it be disruptive in the short term by forcing the parties to figure out new ways to deal with that kind of thing?

Also, it's an interesting question if they're better off with or without. Is a career politician more or less beholden to corporate interests than one who's explicitly looking for a new job in a few years? And how much time does that take vs. campaigning vs. actually knowing how to get things done. It's a pretty thorny issue, I think.


#2464

Accountants, who generally start out making more than median US salary, are not what I would call moderate earners.


#2465

He worked for charities.

You're also missing the point that he has figures for this stuff. Lots of figures.


#2466

Sorry, I must have misinterpreted your post. Are you in the US, and your accountant friend is in Singapore? Or are you in Singapore, and your accountant friend is in the US?


#2467

Hard to say. The best thing might be to give them two terms then put them in Gitmo for the rest of their life. You would only get very, very dedicated people and they wouldn't be tempted by promised jobs afterwards.


#2468

That's a little excessive, and more importantly you're paying room and board for them without getting anything for it. I'd be okay with just restricting them to jobs as non-elected government workers with no power, like at the DMV or post office.


#2469

He's in the US and has figures for the US.

The problem in Singapore is that many poorer people have largely relied on the CPF, the government pension fund, and it's not delivering nearly enough for people to retire on (in fact, it's growth last year was half the 5% inflation).

The CPF is 15.5% for the employee and 20% for the employer, and while it also covers healthcare...it's not exactly a small percentage. (And that's ignoring the low-paid who never had their employer's side paid...)


#2470

Well, if he has actually done the research on retirement in the two countries, that's more than I have; so I shan't presume to argue from my position of apathetic ignorance. :)


#2471

Yes, he's not saying the US position is good (it's bad, and getting worse), but the situation in Singapore is already terrible.

It's basically not a good example, and how some right wingers use it as one...well, they're wrong to do so.


#2472

I think I'd choose Gitmo.


#2473
  1. "The Singaporean model of healthcare is better than the American model."

  2. "Singapore is a model society."

...parsing for differences... searching... hunting... sifting... trolling... nope! Can't find anything, two statements must have identical meanings!


#2474

Well, I think it's hard to take just one slice of that society and suggest it as a model to build on, without taking into account the entirety of the system.

I don't think it's clear that one aspect of Singapore's system would work without the rest of it.


#2475

Good point. Just the other day the train ran on time and everyone spontaneously converted to fascism.


#2476

I'm not suggesting that having good healthcare would make the system convert to authoritarian capitalism (or even that such a conversion would necessarily be bad), but rather that it may not be possible to just take one piece of Singapore's extremely authoritarian system, and have it actually function correctly without the authoritarianism.


#2477

So because you think that in order to achieve the outcomes of Singapore's health system, America would need to also become an authoritarian-capitalist society, then when I say that Singapore's health care system is better than America's, I am embracing Singapore as a model society?

This is a lovely bit of shifting the goalposts. Either you haven't achieved theory of mind yet or it's a rather subtle bit of trolling. Assuming the latter, well done.


#2478

I think you would definitely want to check whether at all independent stats went into measuring Singapore's health system before using it as an example of anything.


#2479

I'm merely saying exactly what I said.

Since Singapore is essentially authoritarian, worth strong capitalistic elements, you may find it difficult to implement such a system to the same degree of effectiveness in a society where the government doesn't have the same degree of control over its population.


#2480

As someone who has extensive experience with both Singaporean authoritarianism (I've lived and worked in Singapore for going on five years now) and Singapore's healthcare system (which I have used for going on five years now), I can assure you that they have nothing to do with one another. There is nothing about the effectiveness of that system that in any way, shape or form is dependent on the Singapore government's "control over its population" (which I suspect you significantly overestimate).

[And as an aside, I am utterly amazed at how many people who have never lived in or even been in Singapore seem to believe that they are experts on Singaporean political society (yes, I'm looking at you, Yale). Singaporean political society is actually much more nuanced than simplistic one-word charactertures such as "authoritarianism" are able to capture.]