3/21/2009

The AIG fallout

The stubborn persistence to be paid huge bonuses even when the company was going bust and needing US$185 billion in public money to keep it afloat is the height of plain stupidity and abusive arrogance. The House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel called it 'Near criminal indulgence.' The Americans were outraged. But will the expectation of high and exorbitant pay and bonuses continues to be the way of life or will they see the end of an era of robbers and thieves? Paul Heng, the MD of NeXT Career Counsulting here thought that it could be the beginning of the end of big, fat, obscene bonuses. Singapore is not free from such near criminal indulgence. We have been blindly and greedily following the Wall Street thieves in their daylight robbery and extortion of public money or shareholders money. And the best part is that we are proclaiming that our pay is still too low, not enough, they needed to be pay more. How much more? How much is enough? When an employee can throw away $50k for a cooking course, you cannot be so blind not to know that he is obviously being paid too much that he can't wait to burn it away. As a public policy, it is of great importance to pay the employees well, especially the talented, for them to live well and contribute well to society and country. But when paying well becomes excessively well, something must be gravely wrong. Then there are other consequences in the formula. High pay, high consumption, high cost of living, high cost of everything that needs higher pay is like a dog chasing its own tail. The workers are working just to keep paying for their food and essentials. At the lower end, the high cost of living is just that. No money left for anything, not even for retirement. And forget about an expensive cooking class. The govt has a very important responsibility to grapple with high cost and high pay controversy. What it should least do is to add to it and make this vicious cycle turn even wilder. The workers can never earn enough when other agencies are all waiting, counting how much they have in their pockets and CPF, and price their products and services to make sure that every cent is taken away from them. This is called affordability pricing or market pricing. A way to make sure that what you earn is just enough for them to take away. Many still cannot see the woods from the forest and think all these high property prices and high pay is a good thing. So the high HDB price, the high medical fees, education, etc are all affordable and good. The high rentals that the landlords are charging the shops and businesses are paid by the consumers, every cent of it. What is important is to curb the growing cost that often is unncessary and self inflicted. When cost is lower, the people can live more comfortably with lesser pay. The value of money is not eroded away that fast. Otherwise the money in the CPF, even a few hundred thousands, may worth nothing when it is time to take them out. And if the cost of 2 or 3 bungalows continues to go up, the public employees will demand that they are not paid enough and want to be paid in 10 or 20 millions. Hold the madness. Stop the dog from chasing its tail. It is never ending. It is unrestrained greed. The best part, the balloon must burst one day.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beginning of the end of big, fat, obscene bonuses? That's as good as saying it is the end of greed.

Can you change a human trait that existed since the beginning of mankind? Never!

In fact what we have seen is - the greedier the better.

Lost Citizen

Anonymous said...

The greedies and vains know not the virtue and value of conscience.

redbean said...

ya, too much partying and good wine can get one intoxicated quite easily. then reasons or logic become an illusion. a new kind of reality and morality will take their places.

and they do not need to convince themselves of the new tooth. the tooth will convince them.

Anonymous said...

the pap will always follow the 'trickle down' economic theory no matter what the people want.
the only way to unplug their ears is to vote some of them out.

Anonymous said...

Human beings are inherently lazy by nature,some believe. Without such mechanism to drive them the society would be at a standstill soon they acquire their basic living standard thus high pay for high cost of living and it goes on. what do you think?

Anonymous said...

But then again if we really live without such mechanism, our flats are paid off within let's say in 15years time, then you would see people are less motivated, they would reluctant to accept lower pay or dirty job again because they are no longer need their salaries as eager or urgent as now, ultimately foregin workers flow in, high pay high cost problem will still exist.

redbean said...

not necessary that life must always be working and working and working. there are more meaningful things about life with working. when one is no longer dependent on that pay check to make ends meet, it is a privilege to live life and enjoy life.

don't listen to psychopaths who think life is nothing except working and to earn more and more.

Anonymous said...

Life, or rather living, in its' most basic/natural nature is; fill the stomach, have a shelter and mate.

Had Singapore Leaders followed the Rules of Nature, our population would have grown by three folds.

Anonymous said...

working, working and working until age of 85? are with human being or animals, even race horses, farm cattle are allow to retire

redbean said...

i like what anonymous said about living. eat, sleep and mate. what a life! there is nothing more enjoyable than mating with the right mate. going to theatre or a concert is nothing. unbelievable that people spent so much money on these superficial things called art.

sorry artists, just joking.