In the Straits Times report titled, “Subsidies cannot solve problems: MM”, MM Lee Kuan was reported to have said the following about Singaporeans asking for subsidies to help with the rising cost of living:
As long as we have a dynamic economy, we can solve our problems. Subsidies cannot solve them.
I read the newspapers and the simplest thing is to write and say, subsidise. Rice, oil, bus fares, even putting seat belts on school buses. That is the surest way to go downhill.
Multiple subsidies have led to a welfare system that has trapped Europe in slow growth. Europe’s welfare systems have lowered incentives for people to strive and to excel.
We can’t grow tapioca, or corn; we can’t compete in making Nike shoes or sewing gowns. We have to move up to more complicated jobs and services.
We have to earn enough money by working hard and smart in manufacturing and services to pay market prices for food, rice, wheat, maize, vegetables, fruits, fish, meats, chicken and eggs.
The Government must ensure that everyone has the highest-paid job he is qualified to do. If his salary is below the minimum for a decent life, the Government will top up with Workfare.
Let us be grateful that we have long-term stability and therefore continuing high-value investments and good growth.