ST Opinion editor Chua Mui Hoong wrote a great common sense piece today!
A good government first needs to create the conditions for business to flourish. Then it needs to spend and redistribute the wealth created to maintain harmony and fairness in a society, to enhance citizens’ wellbeing. Doing the latter is not being populist.
Spending money to ensure universal health coverage is not populist – just the responsibility of any decent, humane government that has the wherewithal to do so.
Helping the jobless and underemployed get back into the job marketplace via wage subsidies and training is not populist – just good old common sense to get people back onto their feet.
Nor is spending on early childhood education to help poor children do well in school populist – just good investment in these kids’ futures.
If a government has rich state coffers, but its people feel stressed and anxious at every stage of their lives, it cannot be a good government.
A good government strikes a balance between collecting enough for a country’s future, and spending enough for the present.
It has to satisfy the elite generating most of the wealth, and the masses whose labour help sustain it. The 47 per cent, the ones who earn below US$1,800 a month.