It was a pillar of our social infrastructure. It gave the people a sense of assuredness, peace of mind, and a great feeling of security. That was our CPF.
Over the years the changes introduced to the CPF scheme have gradually transformed this institution of the people’s savings into an institution of grievances and frustration. It all started many years ago when some economic whiz kid discovered that there was too much money in the CPF waiting to be had. Anyone with a bright idea could lay his hands on this people’s treasure that have been laid aside to earn pittance from the interest rates.
Now you understand why HDB flats are affordable and why the CPF savings are no longer enough for retirement? The policy of pricing HDB flats according to affordability is like pricing HDB flats according to how much the people have in their CPF savings. Brilliant. And the rest is history.
This logic can be applied to the ever increasing medical costs. The CPF has been turned into a vehicle to enrich the medical profession. You have plenty of money in the Medisave or in medical insurance. Thus you can pay for the increasing medical fees. You can afford it, like it or not, your saving will be taken away from you in advance to fund the medical industry. And you may not need it at all. Medical fees and housing prices will keep going up as they are affordable, because there are money in the CPF savings.
Did anyone really scheme to use the CPF for his own gambling habit, to fund his big billion dollar bets? Did anyone think that in such big gambles he could reap millions in bonuses when luck is with him, and simply ignore the losses as the losses came from other people’s money, not his own pocket? No need to pay back. The CPF contributors would be made to patch up the holes somehow through the shifting of goal posts or more schemes. I really hope that no one really thinks that the CPF money is for them to play. It is theft of the people’s hard earned money in all disguises. The line differentiating gambling from investments is too fine to make a difference.
And I am very uncomfortable for anyone, or any economist, to lump the people’s hard earned money as the country’s reserves. It is the people’s money and not anyone else’s reserves. Once the reserves tag is glued on the people’s money, the one holding the key to the reserves may think that it is his for the taking or for his own schemes of things. I find it not only immoral but down right dangerous.
No one can argue about putting aside some of our income as savings. But there are other important things to consider about savings. For those who can afford to, by all means save as much as you can. There are many out there who cannot afford to save. Saving is like eating half a bowl of rice or keeping the stomach half empty, to put some money aside. Forcing people to go hungry is not helping the people but ensuring them a slow death. Help the poor is to make provisions from other sources of revenue to allow them to have their bowl of rice and not go half hungry and not go half hungry by taking away the rice.
And there is a time to say providing for the rainy day is enough. The insurance agents will tell you that there is never enough in the insurance that you bought. Hmmm, reminds me of the reserves in the NKF as well as the reserves in the country’s vault. How much savings will be considered enough? Never enough. But the pragmatic reasoning will say up to a point, one needs not keep stuffing into the tin can for the tomorrow that may never come. There must be a sense of proportion.
This brings to a point about savings by the oldies. At 60, 70, or 80, as long as one is self employed, one must continue to put money into the Medisave. What kind of stupidity or daylight robbery is that? At these ages, everyday is a bonus. If one is economically productive, one should be allowed to spend his keeps while he still can. Forcing grandpas to save! Economically active grandpas would have the comfort of his savings being left untouched. To add to more savings is the logic of an idiot, or robbing the oldies. Now why would people want to rob the oldies? Wicked isn’t it? No, they say they are helping the oldies so that they have more money to pay the hospitals when needed.
There are many things that make the CPF smells foul. When the noble objective of a scheme is twisted to serve less noble objectives, or warped objectives, all schemes will turn foul. There is no need for oldies to keep savings. There is no moral reason to deprive the oldies from their hard earned savings to enjoy their twilight years even if it is for the use of god.
Now what is the real reason to compel the old uncles and aunties to keep saving when they may hand in their identity cards anytime? Is it mercy or merciless?
We have a very regimented institutions forcing people to save and save and while making it very difficult for the people to get back their hard earned money. On the other hand we have institutions like the HDB and the hospitals who are trying to take your money because you have money in your CPF. They price their products and services according to affordability and market forces, or to take every cent from you. It is like a candle burning on both ends.
I have a better CPF scheme. Everyone must contribute 80% of his income to the CPF. Then he will have money to buy affordable flats, and money for all the medical bills, and for retirement. No more worries liao.