U.S. journalist Matt Miller praises Singapore’s public housing and CPF model as ‘policy’s wonk paradise’
Posted by temasektimes on May 4, 2012
In an opinion piece published in the Washington Post on Wednesday, Miller heaped generous praises on Singapore and urged the United States to learn from its public policy achievements.
“But a few days spent talking with officials, businesspeople, students and government critics in the city-state that now boasts one of the world’s highest per capita income have deepened my admiration for Singapore’s accomplishments,” he began before listing several areas which impressed him.
Describing Singapore as a “policy wonk’s paradise”, Miller praised former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s strict enforcement of anti-corruption practices and his foresight in paying top salaries to attract the brightest talents into the government:
“Top students are offered full rides to places such as Oxford, MIT and Stanford, and then “bonded” to do, say, six years of government service thereafter. Twenty years ago this culture was bolstered by the introduction of the world’s highest public-sector salaries, so that government could compete for the best and brightest.”
Miller was also impressed by Singapore’s public transport system consisting of “gorgeous subways, electronic road pricing that is “every wonk’s dream”, and ample parking spaces in the city.”
On the issue of housing, Miller applauded the Singapore government for helping Singaporeans own their own homes, citing that 80 per cent of people live in public housing and almost everyone owns their homes.
The CPF model was lauded for helping “build up financial assets that can be used to assist locals in buying homes, covering medical expenses and preparing for retirement.”
He ended the article with the conclusion that the Singapore government is a ‘pragmatic problem-solver’ which has improved the lives of Singaporeans in comparison to the United States:
“While Americans fight endlessly about “big government” vs. “small government” yet do nothing to meet our biggest challenges, Singapore has ignored ideological claptrap and focused relentlessly on what works… Singapore thus stands as the leading modern example of how government as pragmatic problem-solver can dramatically improve people’s lives.”
Singapore has been governed by a single ruling party since it attained independence in 1965 which has seen it being transformed from a Third World country into an economic powerhouse with one of the highest standards of living in the world in less than three decades.
*Attached pic: New citizens at the National Integration Council who will form a key pillar of Singapore in the future.