Big Picture View : Falling Political Support

Singapore flag price deflating ?

$2.60 at NTUC this year and I am convinced it was closer to 5 bucks last year.

It does not imply anything of course except perhaps that costs of production has come down or we are seeing an oversupply because we really do not need more than 1 flag per house each year. And I am not sure how we should legitimately dispose of the old ones without breaching the law.

But elsewhere around the world, governments are losing support.

Obama’s job approval was at 44% in May, according to Gallup but a WSJ poll in June showed it dropped to 41%. This is as another poll finds that only 7% of Americans have a lot of confidence in Congress, 30% have faith in the Supreme Court and 29% in the US President, a significant drop from 2012.

Between Europe and Japan, political leaders are seeing erosions in their popularities. EU, as evidenced in their latest election results and an influx of anti-EU and Euro-skeptic parties into the EU parliament.

Japan’s Abe is still riding higher than any of his predecessors, yet his popularity has taken a dip from his post election highs. Across the straits in Korea, President Park Geun-hye has replaced nearly half of her cabinet after a massive decline in her approval ratings, as well.

As for good old Australia that Singaporean companies love and adore, just google “Abbott lies” and you will get 6 million sites, along with related suggestions for “Searches related to ABBOTT LIES abbott lies youtube abbott a promise for lies tony abbott lies more lies from tony abbott tony abbott lying tony abbott lies quote

You see, Tony Abbott’s new Australian government is the first to experience a DRAMATIC slide in popularity, less than a year in office.

No wonder China has banned all these websites and searches.

There is nothing to say for UK with their “cabinet of millionaires”, quite alienated from the populace. The “Pasty tax” and “Plebgate” scandals are good examples.

Elsewhere in developing economies, the 2nd most populated country in the world, India, welcomes a populist Prime Minister and Indonesia, the 4th largest population globally, has settled on a crowd favourite for a President last week.

We really cannot have unpopular leaders in good times, during this global economic turnaround we are living through right now. Wealth has never been so prevalent in a golden era of peace and prosperity.

Perhaps it is because wealth is a relative perception afterall and folks are more concerned with wealth comparisons than their personal wealth.

Thus it remains that policies will continue to be popularly driven, crowd pleasing and vote buying which leaves little room for monetary policies to be anything but accommodating to manoeuvre a perfect market outcome.

Oddly, if we measure the offshore popularity of global leaders, I am quite sure Australia and gang would rank high than ever, although offshore investor confidence do not translate to votes.

I suspect global leaders are not unaware that we could be headed for a rough patch ahead and that is why Merkel is considering breaking her promise to serve her full term and opt for early retirement while Obama probably cannot wait to vacate his presidential seat in 2016.

It is a vicious cycle we are in. That popular policies leads to bubbles and greater income inequality which can only be resolved with more popular policies and kicking the can down the road.

That is why, perhaps, I am grateful for the hard choices that Singapore is making right now in their economic restructuring efforts that will hopefully bear fruit when bad times do strike.

Until then, the best trade is the popular trade. Buy stocks and bonds when they buy and buy more after that. Affordable housing and employment need accommodating policies that are destined to make people rich until all the confidence runs out.