When Big Government gets even bigger

When Big Government gets even bigger

Get ready for Bigger Government.

That's the message I am getting lately from an already Big G, including from the Prime Minister at his National Day Rally.

It will mean a government intervening more often than it used to, expanding the role and scope of the state.

In the areas Mr Lee Hsien Loong touched on in his national address - housing, health care and education - expect a much more interventionist government using every available policy tool in its arsenal to plug the gaps.

He didn't quite put it that way, but the implications were clear when he assured Singaporeans that their needs would be taken care of: Don't worry, he stressed repeatedly.

When a government tells the people not to worry, it usually means it is going to become bigger and more active.

The thing though is that Singapore has been there before.

Big government, small government - it's a conundrum that many countries go through, swinging from one extreme to another.

In the early years after independence, Big G was the mantra as the country developed its economy and infrastructure to provide the people with basic needs.

No one argued with the dominant role of the state. It knew best, could pick winners for the economy and deploy resources to meet national goals.

Indeed, it would be cited as one reason for Singapore's rapid and extraordinary progress and transformation.

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