Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Financial musical chairs

Like many of the "mainlanders" living here on island, I came here, and stay here, for the warm weather, relaxed pace, beautiful sunsets, quality scuba diving and access to other interesting places Asia has to offer. It would be nice to make a real commitment here and perhaps buy a new car or a more permanent home. However, it is very hard to contemplate such a thing when I read the newspapers each day and find out more and more about the absolute staggering financial incompetence being constantly rained down by this government.

The latest ineptitude is the mass retirements taking place in the next week as government employees take advantage of a lump sum cash out equivalent to 30 percent of their salary. I know of people well below age 40 retiring as teachers and other like jobs through this offer. From what I can see, these people aren't NFL running backs worn out at such an early age, so I really have to wonder who in the heck were the government officials who looked at the oceans of government debt and decided adding $1 million of needless red ink in a double dipping retirement scam was a good idea when teachers, and other workers, never get raises, class sizes are way too large, per pupil spending is ridiculously low, NMC needs a new campus, and some big hotel like World Resort needs another big tax break. Tongue firmly in cheek on that last one.

I don't begrudge any worker taking advantage of this offer, they’d be a fool not to, but I am rather miffed that idiotic things like this happen regularly. Because of nonsense like this, it is only a matter of time before my teacher's salary, which unacceptably never rises, stops coming, and the $2000 a year that gets involuntarily diverted from my checks to the retirement system, but never makes it there, disappears completely, which means the longer you stay here, the more you get screwed. There is also the little insult that my wife has been waiting nine months to get her tax refund back, and all calls, faxes and emails are fruitless. I’m sure there are plenty others waiting longer for more money. I've never heard of a government that works in such a fly by night manner. Government is supposed to make sure the system is fair and honest, not to be the flimsy, dishonest agency themselves.

This whole place feels like a game of financial musical chairs, and it is going to be very hard to keep talented medical, legal, and teaching professionals, among others, here for the long term if things do not move toward the direction of competence.

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