One Trick to Take Care of Everybody (ALMOST)
By Carlo Leon Sadang | 28 March 2022
One Trick to Take Care of Everybody (Almost)
It is in these times of uncertainty and hardships that Filipinos and quite frankly the citizens of the world where a small adjustment can make quite a big impact on everyone. You see every year leaders get replaced. Every year candidates campaign and speak of the very same promises their failed predecessors have told the people. There are too many promises. Jobs, progress, healthcare, housing and all those packages that seem to regurgitate since democracies have been established. Of course for some the crude promises of stability and peace still exist for some countries as they are ravaged by political and economic turmoil. Suffering is aplenty.
But I take the view that giving one promise that is gold to many instead of these small promises that they keep on making only to repeat this process bordering on insanity. Find a promise that applies to everybody regardless of age, gender, sex, political views, the religion that is open for everybody. If you take a look at it, there is only one promise that can be made which can be attained without causing much backlash to society.
I am talking about the pension system.
The Philippines does not have a sustainable pension system for now. If you want to have a decent pension then you must work at least two decades but in the government and you must rise through the ranks. That is the only way. If you work in the private sector, don’t even think about retirement no matter how many years you’ve worked.
If the state would then restart their thinking let’s say and forget about everything and focus on making the pension system sustainable even to the poorest of the poor (provided certain criteria is met) then the state can give something the people can hold on to, For the rest of their lives.
But in order to make the pension system sustainable, you have to increase the pension and make everybody eligible. That means the infrastructure projects, basic services, government investments, military spending will take a hit.
Let’s tackle each aspect of spending that will suffer.
Infrastructure – We’ll have to de-prioritize these things. Schools, Hospitals, Roads and government buildings together with projects will have to be sidelined and reduced by more than 50%. Only those provinces whose needs for infrastructure are severe such as flood control, evacuation areas, sanitation and practically the basic stuff will be prioritized. Infrastructure projects that have existing ones like schools and hospitals will have to give way before getting their allotment. Obviously, infrastructure for major cities really has to be thought over as there is such a thing as overdevelopment and let the development be the priority of the local entities.
Basic services such as permits, registrations, licenses, processing, should reduce their service level by reducing manpower. Now you may ask that lines will take longer and we will get back into the stone age but if the cost of reduction of manpower can add into the pension program then let it happen. The logic behind this is that people don’t usually get into lines every day. The online revolution has also helped a great deal. Remember, we are replacing the inconvenience of services now for a bigger pension for tomorrow. Of course, services that are a matter of life and death can’t be compromised.
For now, government investments should take a backseat unless these investments will be yielding extremely high returns or it would be foreign partnerships where the government does not have to put up capital. Find someone who can get the deal done. Of course, we are talking about investments, not land. Foreign ownership should still not be allowed. Instead, put this in the pension pot.
Let’s face it. We are not going to be a military power anytime soon. If ever divert most of the military spending for border protection and counterterrorism purposes. The military size doesn’t have to be too big. Just try to extract an elite military and pay them well, weeding out the pretenders and requiring citizens to be part of the military. Israel and Switzerland are two good examples. If the Philippines gets invaded by a much stronger country do you think that the current military would make a difference? Just make the entire population part of the defense force while having the elite military handle the occasional emergencies and insurgencies while making the country a useful ally to our foreign allies. The police force uses the same principle, weed out the pretenders while focusing more on intelligence rather than numbers. If foreign consultants are the only way to make us better, let’s swallow our pride.
Let’s make the government as black and white and basic as possible while being part of it when there are special needs. With the money saved, we can now look to improve the pension system.
Now let us take a look at the logic of this move. Let’s take a self-examination approach. Would you rather spread your resources to multiple avenues that you yourself may not necessarily feel the effects or would you want to feel the direct impact of your resources and where it went? A pension is a direct benefit. It is a monthly tangible benefit that you can feel. Yes, you’ll have to wait six decades but the next decades or years after that are the most important. The best thing is that you know when you will get that benefit and how much. A good pension system allows people who contribute as much as they want but get more because of what they have paid for while having the lowest end of the pension bracket decent enough to at least make the pensioner survive without the help of anyone. High ceiling, guaranteed basement.
To have that the government must do the following:
- Convince everybody that this is the best way moving forward for everybody because it takes care of everybody when they reach the backend.
- Convince everybody that they will have to help out the government at times like situations of war and extreme calamity by giving everyone duties based on their capabilities.
Those who are excluded are the following:
- Those who openly and officially dislike this idea.
- Those who will refuse to help out the government like military enlistment and refusing to assist their fellow man in times of need.
- Criminals, rebels and those who have been dishonorably discharged.
- Those who are extremely wealthy and have waived their right to be part of this and give it away instead.
I don’t want to enumerate too many factors from the abovementioned and focus on the basics rather. The best of solutions usually require the simplest ideas.
The reason why I wrote “almost” in the title is though a sustainable pension system is a good idea the final destination is to also cover the front end. That is why it would take the other half to understand that they won’t be happy now, but when they get old they will appreciate the greatness of the idea.
Always remember that as imaginative or creative we try to be, the $$$ signs will still govern at the end. If there is no money to back up your promises, you are only lying. Given that we don’t have money and we are paying loans from foreign creditors let’s just focus on putting the little money that we have into the system that will take care of everybody when the end nears and maybe, by taking care of the backend we’ll be able to focus more on the frontend of the population.
Carlo Leon Sadang is a technical researcher and an engineer. He currently finishing his ebook about ethical and moral standards. He is still actively working as an engineer while writing ebooks on the side.