Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Gluttonic Tendencies

“We cannot continue transferring the nation’s wealth to those at the apex of the economic pyramid while hoping that someday, maybe, the benefits of that transfer will trickle down in the form of steady employment and improved living standards for the many millions of families struggling to make it from day to day.

That money is never going to trickle down. It’s a fairy tale. We’re crazy to continue believing it

This was written by NYTimes columnist Bob Herbert in his commentary aptly titled: Safety Nets for the Rich.

BH spoke of the amazing dichotomy, and incredulous imbalance, in the multibillions in bonuses for Wall Street bankers and the straight jacketed American public, faced with keeping their day job intact even as the country’s deficit grows to US$1.4 trillion.

That is a huge sum in deficit to be covered.

Probably the US would be able to ride their deficit storm, but the longer its economy remains in the doldrums, this figure would continue growing.

What is Uncle Sam to do?

What else but what it does best: send out young Americans to far-away land to fight the good fight for democracy.

I digress, but this posting is not about the US of A.

According to BH (Bob Herbert, not Berita Harian), two-thirds of all the income gains from the years 2002 to 2007 went to the top 1 percent of Americans.

I’m wondering what the percentage is like for our country.

A country will probably prosper if the middle class (in terms of income) is the biggest of its population segment simply for the fact that it would relieve the state from the burden of socialism, which is the reality of subsidies anyway.

State handouts should be restricted only for the poor and hard core poor segment in a country.

Given a scenario where there is fair distribution in wealth – which meant that the poor and hard core poor will be fairly small in size – there should then be an equally fairly equitable distribution in the variety of levels of services.

Far too Utopian a scenario?

Perhaps, but shouldn’t it be the kind of future we should be looking at?

Tun Dr Mahathir was a firm believer of the trickling down theory, whereby the giving of a select few of gargantuan amounts in opportunities to grow and become wealthy would help kick start the downstream effect.

Didn’t work, as the Statesman missed out on the strength of one of mankind’s seven sins: gluttony.

What we got was a suppressed labor market where the wage levels in the 1990s and in 2008 remains pretty much the same plus or minus a few Ringgits for the low paid income earners.

Looking at the many “revelations” from the Auditor General this year, the leaks in RMs that could have instead gone into the economy is same old same old.

(No convenient links here: they're all over the place.)

Old news really, as nothing came out from the AG’s revelations last year.

Surely we're not expecting anything else this year, are we?

Just like it was before, trust us to go about town with these, and watch the furor over what could well be criminality (at least for neglect) in the handling of public funds die a typical Malaysian style death.

Aren't we ever the forgive-full.

Like BH says: It’s one Big Fat (Blip)ing Fairy Tale Dream to be hoping for the hammer to fall on these miscreants.

Semuanya OK.

Whatever the (blip) that means.

Artist Impression

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