National Day Rally speeches are not intended to be funny. I am sure, however, that any good speaker would throw in a joke or two in the speech just to hold on to the attention of the audience. So, how is this for a joke:

‘When ERP was increased, we also reduced road tax and improved public transport. As a result, many more Singaporeans can now own cars. With more cars on the road, we need to increase ERP to keep traffic flowing.’ – PM Lee Hsien Loong, National Day Rally 2008

ERP was intended to reduce traffic.
COE system was also intended to reduce traffic.

According to the Straits Times report today (18 Aug 2008): ‘He said that since 2000, the Government has been making it easier for many more Singaporeans to own cars. Vehicle-related taxes have been progressively reduced and more Certificates of Entitlement (COEs), which one must have before purchasing a car, have been released.’

This has made vehicle ownership easier and put more cars on the road.
This has increased traffic.

Solution: Increase the ERP.

And then, when it starts doing its job, implement more policies to put more cars on the road. When when traffic gets worse, increase ERP.

A never-ending spiral of ever-escalating costs. A money tree that really grows. Wow! That’s brilliant.

To be fair, I merely read the quote in the Straits Times article online. Something could have been lost in the translation. Perhaps there is some nuance to the words that may be better apprehended if one watches the speech. Perhaps it was a candid admission of a flaw in the policy of making car-ownership easier since 2000 and that something would be done to fix it once and for all and that it would not be turned into a cash-squeezing spiral.

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