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28 March 2008

Lessons From The Elections - Part 5 of 5

 ...continuing from Part 4 of 5.

So. What can Singapore learn from all these?
 
4. United States Of America
 
I was having a conversation with an American friend who wonder which is sadder.

An idiot for a president or the 60 million Americans who voted for the idiot?

I laughed at the question but didn't answer as it was rhetorical. It is quite sad really.

With the US doing so badly in the last 8 years, a change seems inevitable. the economy had got to be the hottest topic that needed attention. If you think that I am going to talk about the recent mortgage woes, you're wrong. Wait till you see the figures from the wars. It seems like the military effort in Afghanistan and Iraq not only costs the Americans 4,000 lives of their own servicemen (and counting) but also a whopping bill expected to exceed USD 3 Trillion! I wonder where they get the money given that the national debt is already at a staggering USD 9 Trillion (and counting). It's a vicious spiral and I wonder if the Americans are ever going to get out of it? Probably never.

It will come a day where the Americans will have to kowtow to their new Ch1nese masters whom the latter together with the Japanese own a shitload of US Treasury Bonds and US Treasury Notes.
In short, the Americans tio ownzed.

Anyway, I feel, imho, that the Republican days are numbered for, I see the people losing faith in them and would want to give the next available chance (this coming November) to the Democrats, hoping that they would be able to run the country better.

In fact, signs of change have already surfaced with the House of Representative elections back in 2006 where the Democrats pull off a stunning victories, grabbing 30 seats from the Republican. The 52% simple majority means that the Democrats are now in control of the House of Representatives.
In the same year, the Senate elections saw the Democrats grabbing 5 seats from the Republicans to tie at 49 seats each (out of a total of 100 with the remaining 2 seats going to independents) but the numbers from the popular vote pointed in favour of  the Democrats with 54%).

For the uninitiated, the US government has two houses. The House of Representative (Lower House) and the Senate (Upper House). Both houses work together towards passing of legislation.

However, it seems that Gallup seemed to disagree with me on this.

In fact, they had a recent survey that if the elections were called today, their poll showed that McCain would defeat both Clinton and Obama.

Yes, people wanted a change but a change to a female president or an african-american president, for the first time in American history, is perhaps a bit too big a chunk for them to take in one swallow?

Whatever it is, it is still to early as we have a good 9 or 10 months to go.

We shall see.

So what can we learn from all this?
 
1. Always Save For A Rainy Day


A healthy reserve is good for the country. We grew up on a staple of Hollywood movies where the US is the bestest and most powerfullest country in the world and the de facto leader of the modern civilisation.

Today, returning to reality from the silver screen, the US we see before us, is now a mere bankrupt shell of a nation surviving on borrowed money.

It's a real pity. Really.

So anyway, I am happy to report that our Official Reserves Assets now stand around USD 169 billion according to IMF but given the secrecy surrounding the way the Temasek H0ldings and G1C do things, I wonder if this number is accurate?

In any case, it will still be a healthy number despite several duds like the Merrill Lynch and Shin Corp, among many others that some we know and some we don't. I can understand that with every venture, there are certain risks involved and I can also accept that sometimes these ventures don't work out.
But what I can't stand is the nonchalant attitude towards these losses. Yes, I applaud the excellent work put in to amass our reserves to such a staggering level but that does not give them the right to just burn the losses with such blatant indiscretion. They don't even sound apologetic, dammit!

2. Never Vote A Village Idiot

I say it then, I say it now and I say it again. Never ever vote the village idiot. Period.

Image Credit: http://www.sfgate.com; http://www.discursivemonologue.com
- Voxeros

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