Monday, January 03, 2011

The 18% Solution (to electoral difficulties)

Apple Daily ran an article today on a very interesting decision by the Administration.....I loved the poetry of Google's translation of the opening paragraph so much, I decided to keep it:
銓敘部去年十一月二十二日發函給退休公務員,告知即起調整百分之十八優存利率額度,引起「回存潮」,搶著到銀行補齊十八趴優存利率的存款額度。銓敘部退撫 司長呂明泰昨說,過去制度「肥大官、瘦小吏」,去年修法後對基層公務員較公平,整體而言,國庫每年節省約一億元支出。但民眾批:「公教人員退休躺在家靠十 八趴的利息,就賺得比很多勞工還多,這是哪門子公平?」

Ministry of Civil Service on November 22 last year [MT -- this may be a misprint, Liberty Times the following day has published a copy of a letter dated Dec 22], sent a letter to retired civil servants, this is to adjust the amount of eighteen percent gifted deposit interest rates, rise to "restore the tide ", rushing to the bank filled gifted deposit interest rates lying eighth Deposit amount. Ministry of Civil Service Pension Secretary Lvming Tai yesterday said that the past system, "Mast officer, thin officials"last year, after amending the law more equitable for grassroots civil servants, on the whole, the state treasury an annual saving of about one hundred million yuan expenditure. But the public's approval: "Catholic retirement home by the eighth lie lie interest to many workers earning more than than, this is sort of a kip fair?"
What is says is that on Nov 22 of last year the Civil Service Board sent around a letter to all retirees on gov't retirement getting the 18% interest, telling them that the 18% interest that retirees receive as a result of an administrative decision made forty years ago will be adjusted upward for a great many of them. During the Chen Administration many of these benefits had been rescinded, which is one reason the bureaucracy hated the Chen Administration so much. As the article notes further down, of the 60,000 retired civil servants receiving the 18% interest, 15,000 higher ranking ones will receive a downward adjustment, while 45,000 will receive an upward adjustment. The net savings, claims the government, will be $100 million annually.

Some retirees received notification well in advance of the Nov 22 letter, getting notified in September. Note that the Nov 22 letter would have arrived the week of the election on Nov 27. The focus on the Sean Lien shooting is obscuring many other issues. [MT -- the letter Nov 22 date may be an Apple Daily error]

The 18% interest is one of the many payouts that are pushing the counties deeply into debt, since half of that interest is paid by the central bank and half by the local governments.

As one of the individuals quoted in the Apple Daily piece commented, "一定是選舉到了又在政策買票!" "As the election nears the policy is to buy votes!". It's hard not to see this as vote buying -- the majority of the higher level retirees are KMT supporters and party members, since they entered the system in the days when only KMT members could rise in the bureaucracy. Meanwhile 45,000 lower level civil servants all get a boost of 3-4K from the gov't treasury, nearly 50K annually for many retirees.

Hard to see where all the money for the new municipalities and other commitments of the Ma government is going to come from....
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jerome in vals said...

Hehehe! Reminds me of what I heard yesterday on NPR's Week-end Edition or the like.

"Jesus the REDEEMER." Romance is about redeeming debt, basically. And the next segment covered Ayn Rand!!

Think of it when it's pay back time.

green sleeeves said...

not relevant to 18%,

Brian Schack said...

The KMT makes no secret that it sees the civil service as a source of votes. Here's a quote from the November 30, 2010 Taipei Times:

"How can civil servants support the KMT under the circumstances? Only by ensuring benefits for civil servants can the KMT retain its base,” [KMT Legislator Tsao Erh-chang] said.

It's hard to be much clearer than that.

I expected howls of outrage from the opposition and political commentators, but heard nothing. I guess people still haven't moved away from the idea that party = state.

Taiwan Echo said...

Lien Chan, the former vice president, will have his monthly interest income raised by NT$ 200,000 under the new law.

Brian Schack said...I expected howls of outrage from the opposition and political commentators, but heard nothing.

It's coming.

Jade said...

Unfortunately, most people in Taiwan have a relative, friend or friend's friend in the government sector. It's hard for them to stand up to tell their relatives or friends that you have no shame.

les said...

I have a relative who's a retired civil servant, though green to the bone. When his interest income was slashed he was very stoical about it... understood very well that 18% was unrealistic and unreasonable. No complaints from him at all.
I doubt the majority would feel that way however... most I meet have a real sense of entitlement and make no secret of having joined up for the easy life in the office and the fat pension afterwards.