Ex-governor: US should look to Singapore on how to bring back jobs

Ms Jennifer Granholm.
PHOTO: Youtube screengrabs / CNN

Look to Singapore - said former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm in response to a question about how President-elect Donald Trump's administration can bring back manufacturing jobs to the US.

She was responding to a question put to her by a Yale student at a recent live townhall show by CNN. Clips of the show have recently been making the rounds online in Singapore.

Mr Kyle Tierney, who supports Mr Trump, asked the former Clinton surrogate: "Trump has promised to bring back manufacturing jobs. How do you see the Trump administration distancing itself from continuing crony capitalism and making sure that the government isn't picking winners and losers in a tweet or press conference?"

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In her reply, Ms Granholm said it "is not just about taxes" and asked the audience to consider which country "does it best".

She shared that she posed the same question to a business roundtable of chief executives, asking which country makes it "irresistible for you to decide to go there and what are they doing".

Anti-Trump protests kick off ahead of his White House inauguration

  • US civil rights activists vowed on Jan 14, 2017 to defend hard-fought gains in voting rights and criminal justice during the presidency of Donald Trump, kicking off a week of protests ahead of the Republican's inauguration.
  • About 2,000 mostly black protesters ignored steady rain to march and rally near Washington's Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, as speakers urged them to fight for minority rights and President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, which Trump has vowed to dismantle.
  • The rally also included the Hispanic group La Raza, politicians, relatives of African-Americans slain by police, the National Urban League, Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights.
  • The rally came hours after Trump blasted U.S. Representative John Lewis after the Georgia Democrat and civil rights campaigner said Russia's alleged hacking aimed at helping Trump put his legitimacy into question.
  • The Rev. Al Sharpton, the rally's organiser and a veteran civil rights leader, said Democrats in Congress needed to be sent a simple message: "Get some backbone."
  • About 30 groups, almost all of them anti-Trump, have gotten permits to protest before, during and after the inauguration. Thousands of demonstrators have vowed to shut down the inauguration.
  • The National Mall in Washington could become a sea of bright pink the day after Donald Trump is inaugurated as US president if the vision of a pair of Los Angeles women is realized.
  • For two months, Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman have called on people around the world to make 1.17 million pink "pussyhats" for those attending the Women's March, a rally on Jan. 21 organized with hopes of bringing attention to civil and human rights issues.
  • The women have asked volunteers around the world to help sew, crochet or knit pink hats with ears by using simple patterns available on the project's website.
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  • They say it is easier than knitting a scarf, the typical starter project for novices.
  • Marchers can get a hat by contacting a maker through an online distribution system, through social media or at sites in Washington.
  • Organizers have said the protest could draw around 200,000 people, but Suh and Zweiman decided to aim for the 1.17 million people that could feasibly fit in the Mall.
  • For some knitters at the "pussyhat party" on Jan 13, it was hard to put the needles down as the deadline nears.

The answer, she said, was Singapore.

"And I said, well what is it about Singapore? What are they doing that we're not doing? And they said - it's not just about taxes," Ms Granholm said.

"It's the fact that they are assembling land for us to locate our factories there - it's that they're training people for specifically the jobs that are coming out of that factory. It's because they're providing us access to capital, they have the whole wrap-around strategy for how they become irresistible."

She said that the US has to be "irresistible to advanced manufacturers (around) the globe or we are going to lose out", adding that she would like to see "a comprehensive plan from the Trump administration".

Mr Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th US President on Friday.

This article by The Straits Times was published in The New Paper, a free newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.

Jobs that suffer from a high turnover rate

  • Lawyers

    Right now, the legal profession is facing a glut of fresh grads all vying for limited training contract spots. But five years down the road, most of these rookies will have moved on and left the legal world behind.

  • Lawyers

    Despite some of Singapore's highest starting salaries, high job security and the fact that having a kid in law school is a bragging point for many parents, lawyers just keep quitting.

  • Lawyers

    It seems to boil down to two very simple points. The first is that lawyers often have awful work-life balance. The second reason is because law is one of the "default" choices of high scorers, who soon find that doing a job you're not that interested in is very difficult.

  • Teachers

    Some teachers enter the profession because they feel genuinely invested in the future of the youths of Singapore. Some enrol in NIE because teaching is supposedly an iron rice bowl, the pay's not bad and you get school holidays.

  • Teachers

    Unfortunately, teachers from both camps end up burning out. A recent news report shed light on the plight of teachers who leave the profession because of the stress, long hours, lack of work-life balance and, most notably, the piles and piles of admin work.

  • Teachers

    Anyone who's got a teacher in their lives knows that most continue to work at home, doing admin, marking scripts and planning lessons till late into the night when they should be spending time with their own friends and family.

  • Real estate agents

    Newspapers often shine the spotlight on real estate agents who've made it big, like the girl who made her first million last year.

  • Real estate agents

    Despite the chance of fat commissions, real estate is not an easy industry to break into, especially given the fact that the market has been in the doldrums ever since the property cooling measures were put in places years ago.

  • Real estate agents

    More Singaporean property owners and buyers now also prefer to bypass agents altogether thanks to the internet, and it's easy to see why agents are fighting for an ever-shrinking pie.

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