Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Taxes and the distorted perspectives of some elites...

Here is the hidden video of Mitt Romney speaking to a group of rich donors to his campaign. This video has damaged his campaign because he said his job, if he is elected president, is not to take care of the 47% who will vote for Obama "no matter what". He sees these poeple as leechers dependent on the govt and don't pay taxes. He then goes on to talk about how he succeeded on his own ability "not being born with a silver spoon" because his dad donated all his wealth away when he died.

It is very strange how Romney cannot see what is so painfully obvious to everyone else and how his view about the world turn out to be so distorted . He is going to pay dearly for this startling disconnect with reality and the ground.

I want to show you another video of a Singaporean leader speaking on the topic of taxes and inequality in response to a certain Mr. Soh who asked if capital gains tax for the rich should be raised in order to close the income gap. I have written earlier that there are 2 viable options here to address the inequality in our society ...wage restructuring or tax reform with transfers.

The minister in answering the question stuck to the PAP stand that good education together with social mobility is the solution. He started off by saying other developed economies ("matured societies") have "ossification" of the society where "the rich marry the rich" to provide good education for their children and opportunities. Does this minister even know what he is talking about? What he said is so detached from reality. I wonder where he is coming from. Singapore has the largest income gap among all developed nations. Our education system is highly elitist in nature compared with egalitarian system they have in places like Finland, Sweden, Australia and Canada. In all other developed countries power is shared more equally among the people and free press scrutinizes the actions of those in power and the rich. The rich people else where are subjected to high progressive taxes and inheritance taxes so that wealth is transferred back to society. Most developed countries, educate more people to university level than Singapore (Singapore is well below the OECD average). I can't believe how a this minister who is in charge of the MCYS can have such a distorted view of reality.

He was one of 4 or 5 people to received a president scholarship in his cohort of 30-40K and was given the best education and lavished with job opportunities after that in our elitist system - many others with more or equal talents do not get the same opportunities. He forgets that the other 99.98% of the people do not have the same opportunities as him. Today, only 27% of each batch make it to university and others join the workforce without a degree and  many of these people struggle to compete for jobs and income with foreigners coming here with better qualifications - no thanks to the policy formulated by this minister's party.  These people are struggling not because they are refuse to work hard but because of the system put in place that resulted in the 3rd world wage structure we see in our economy.

"Even if this generation, I can't get you out of the poverty cycle, ...the problems that you face. Even if I can't do anything in this generation. We must make sure, we do our very best for the next generation,,,even if I can't get you out of your poverty cycle, even if I can't do anything in this generation, we must make sure we do our very best for the next generation...so that the next generation is not disadvantaged. ...and when we say helping the next generation to the same opportunities is not just about social transfer of 'I tax you and I give you'.  That one is a short term solution and probably the easiest to do.......the next generation have equal opportunities to shine come from education, housing, healthcare and so forth" - Minister.

He is so clueless. I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I hear him speak. Saying that taxing the rich to transfer to the poor is the "easiest" thing for the PAP govt to do is just absurdity.  This is ideologically the hardest thing for the PAP govt to do. Under the PAP govt, taxes for the rich has monotonically decreased and they fund this in recent times by raising GST - a regressive tax on the poor who now pay more taxes. As for ensuring the next generation have "equal opportunities" through housing and healthcare schemes is really a disconnect from reality - the costs of these 2 items have risen rapidly compared with median income and is a great de-equaliser for our society as it burdens the struggling middle class and sinks the lower classes into poverty. As the cost of healthcare rises, we still do not have in place a universal healthcare system that will shift the burden away from the sick and their families.  We have a system in which prosperity is not shared in the current generation and unless major changes take place it will not be shared in future generations. The minister distorted view of reality tells us that we cannot secure our future and that of our children under a leadership determined to travel along the same erroneous path. Just 2 days ago, the PM spoke about having a population of 6 million people. ...when the people still haven't even accepted and adjusted to the 5 million population that we already have now.

129 comments:

dotseng said...

Good Morning Lucky,

"The next generation have equal opportunities to shine come from education, housing, healthcare and so forth"

You are right. The delusional chap can't even take care of the CURRENT generation and now he claims to be able to take care of the NEXT generation.

How logical is that. Wonder no more wh no one seems too interested to have a conversation with them

Darkness 2012

MohamedKassim said...

Plus with PM's ambition of 6Million Population with continued pro immigration of foreigners will put our next generation to beggars state.As this country does not have the resources, space, or even job creation to meet the aspirations of the next generation of Singaporean graduates who have to fend for themselves fighting govt induces immigrants for jobs and everything.It is worst than bleak bec of the failed policies of a desperate political elite who just wants to increase population to keep their depleting vote bank at the expense of future generation of Singaporeans.This is fundamentally wrong and no reason can substaniate this or trade off.Only trade off is for people to retrench these ministers at the next election if they share the bleak view of what these people are trying to do for power-as Singaporeans did with former Foreign Minister George Yeo and ministerial troop with him.

Anonymous said...

"Just 2 days ago, the PM spoke about having a population of 6 million people. ...when the people still haven't even accepted and adjusted to the 5 million population that we already have now."
Lucky Tan

Who are the people?

Who haven't even accepted?

Have you forgotten the 60% who accepted (voted) PAP and still going strong?

Win over the 60% acceptance and you will win all acceptance, doesn't matter whether forced or voluntary acceptance.

Doesn't matter black cat or white cat, if it catches mice, it is a good cat.

Anonymous said...

One day they will just leave it to Lucky Tan and Company to run your own lives.
Just wait and see.

Anonymous said...

"He was one of 4 or 5 people to received a president scholarship in his cohort of 30-40K and was given the best education and lavished with job opportunities after that in our elitist system - many others with more or equal talents do not get the same opportunities. He forgets that the other 99.98% of the people do not have the same opportunities as him."

Bingo we have a winner!

All the classmates and schoolmates of the minister of MCYS shud stand up, call him out as just one of the "really lucky ones". The system of deciding who is the next leader at 18yrs, based not even on the best academic results, is truly ABSURD, and this is THE MAJOR cause of the foul ups we see today. The system is led by mediocre yes-men who are not even smarter than the pigs in Orwell's animal farms, they are just winners of national lottery, or sons of previous winners, or (nowadays) sons of FT!

Anonymous said...

I will only take the ministers words if they volunterily send their children to Normal stream/ITE, deprive them of tuition & extra help, take crowded trains/buses to school, get scolded by teachers. Then we see if social mobility,meritocracy,level playing field is in place. If not, spare us the bulls**t. S'poreans are not that dumb.

Anonymous said...

Lucky, thank you for putting up the video of our Minister's reply. After watching Romney I felt sorry for the Americans but I think we are worst off for having such idiots living in their dream world.

Anonymous said...

In GE 2016, only the vote matters.
And 60% of our friends and relatives voted for the Party Against People.

We each need to make a personal commitment;
To convert one PAP supporter from amongst the 60% of our friends & relatives who voted for PAP;
into an Opposition voter.

Kin Lian Tan said...

Hi Lucky
Thank you for an insightful article. I like the video about Mitt Romney and the comments by the commentator.

Minister Chan Chun Seng came from a poor family background and is able to make it good. I like to acknowledge that this is a "plus point" of the Singapore system. It does give credit to meritocracy that is practiced here.

I agree with many of the views that this does not justify the system that is practiced in Singapore. Minister Chun is described as one of the "lucky ones". I agree. It is like "striking the Big Sweep".

We do have many people striking the Big Sweep or the Toto jackpot each year. It should not be used to justify a system that is based on this kind of luck.

I support your view that we must reduce the income gap and give people at the lower level a better chance in life. We should not just depend on their luck in striking the lottery.

LUCKY. Please get rid of the stupid CAPTCHA. I have tried 20 times and it keeps rejecting my post.

Anonymous said...

Kee Chiu is a classic bookworm and paper general, he is hopeless one lah!

Anonymous said...

Just because kee chiu came from a poor family;
does not necessarily bless him with any additional insights into the plight of the poor;
nor can we assume that he has any compassion or enthusiasm for helping the poor.

The proof of the cooking is in the eating.

Anonymous said...

kee chiu talks a lot;
translated into actionable commitment;
it's not the government's job to take quick and prompt action;

still poor in your generation never mind;
you can tan ku ku and hope for your next generation.

That is why we must vote wisely now.
In this generation.
In GE 2016.

Anonymous said...

"I have not here been considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing
thought. Stuart Chase and others have come near to claiming that all abstract words are meaningless, and have used this as a pretext for advocating a kind of political quietism. Since you don't know what Fascism is, how can you struggle against Fascism? One need not swallow such absurdities as this, but one ought to recognise that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy.
You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when
you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself.
Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties,
from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one's own
habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase — some jackboot, Achilles’ heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno, or other lump of verbal refuse — into the dustbin where it belongs." unquote.

(George Orwell Politics and the English Language)
http://orwell.ru/library/essays/politics/english/e_polit

(George Orwell The Prevention of Literature)
http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/prevention/english/e_plit

(Doublespeak - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublespeak

(Doublethink - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublethink

(Feed Me To The Fish CPIB What Is Corruption in Singapore)
http://feedmetothefish.blogspot.sg/2012/09/cpib-what-is-corruption-in-singapore.html#links

Joshua Chiang

Anonymous said...

"Just 2 days ago, the PM spoke about having a population of 6 million people. ...when the people still haven't even accepted and adjusted to the 5 million population that we already have now."

Correction: Straits Times downplayed the numbers. PM Lee said we could do with 6 million or so.

Their original number was 6.7 million. They're hoping to settle at 6.5 million but they sell you 6 million.

The old men and women in their 50s and onwards will support this policies because it doesn't really impact them. They're dying. The younger Singaporeans have to live with it.

I don't understand the rationale of Minister Kee Chiu. You are voted as a governmen to fix today's problems - this generation's problems...so what justification or hubris allows himto speak of future generations when today's problems are not solved? He's assuming very strongly that his party will be in-charge for another 25 years more indefinitely.

Where will the minister be when the next genertion are born? He won't be around. They're playing the same future card and are toying with the people's hope. It seems to me what matters and concerns the minister the most is 60.1% Singaporeans. The other 40% can struggle.

This minister is deaf to rationality. He's a sweet talker. That's what he is.

Anonymous said...

If you examine a little bit carefully, all the signs of ossification in the singaporean society are there. I find it a joke that Keechiu talk out social mobility for the next generation when the current generation are not even reproducing due to the pressures of high cost living, uncertain economic circumstances for most unless you are in the SAF, Civil service etc and excessive foreign imports.

Veritas said...

What Chan Chun Sing said is not wrong. The rich always marries one another. They are also the government. The role of the government is ironically to protect the poor against the rich--that is to protect the poor against their own class.

The opposite always happens. Government often extract wealth from the poor, so that elite class can remain idle, from the fruits of labour of the poor.

The extreme case happens in India. The Brahmin and Kshatriyas shit on Dalits for thousands of years. The dalits work as hereditary shit collector and prostitute. The upper caste marries one another. The whole society sink into shit, more miserable than caveman or barbaric nomads. This is if we let the rich shit on us.

Society solve such problems by revolutions. Sometimes, letting a little blood flow from elite will get rid of the worst scum of a society. Without hacking of the head of Charles 1, we will not have democracy. Without sending Louis 16, and all his lackies to guillotine, today the entire Europe still in slavery system.

In SG, wealth extraction is in a very well concealed form, that one would not notice it. First, PAP take all your land by Land Acquisition Act. Places where elites stay like Bukit Timah and Katong are left unmolested. Next they jack up land price, and make sure property appreciate faster than wages. That will condemn you and your sons to eternal slavery.

Until Singaporeans understands this and stop being greedy about property, we may never change to a equitable society.

Anonymous said...

21What a waste.

If only he joined the WP or SDP or NSP instead. His background, his persona would have garnered huge votes.

He bought the ticket, but boarded the wrong train.

sgcynic said...

Chan's comments come across as "i can't help you now. It's not helpful to do so. But i will help you in the long term" His view is aligned to that of the PAP government. Think long term (supposedly) and not short term. That's why they will tell the starving / homeless / terminally ill person that he cannot withdraw his CPF to meet immediate urgent critical needs but assures him that his CPF will be there for his retirement.

PS: I simply cannot follow Chan's logic of not raising taxes for the rich and implementing a more progressive tax structure in the country. Never mind, this will help us achieve a more equal and just society as aspired in our pledge, never mind that doing so will at least help alleviate the pain and suffering of the less well off and less fortunate segments of our society. Never mind.

Anonymous said...

What Chan Chun Sing said is not wrong. The rich will always marry the rich. Just look at the farmer and ask yourself why is he trying so hard to worm himself into the heart of the only daughter of the one million hectare landowner called Mr Big Bully.

eremarf said...

Chan Chun Sing is just looking out for the interests of people in his class, a shill for elite interests.

1. Low taxes on the rich are probably due to our aim as a finance centre to attract local wealth (whether it's legitimate or dirty). Ignoring the ethical dimension of laundering money, it also means we have to be competitive on taxes, i.e. we need to tax less than other countries do. This is a poor industry to aim for - because it brings along wealth inequality and social immobility.

2. Rich people marry rich people? Not so true in Scandinavia. I think Nordic people are very cool about marrying across social backgrounds, and proud of it. I think whether rich people marry rich people is more affected by culture and social attitudes - whether there is trust, homogeneous social identity, or whether there is a sense of class divide, race divide, etc.

3. CCS is at least right that re-distributing wealth via handouts isn't such a great idea (because it destroys dignity). But we can do it through alternative methods. Providing cheap housing allows families to allocate their resources to other things, and improves their quality of life. Investing in strong education and healthcare does the same, and in addition, creates a bigger and more productive middle class in future, who will produce and consume and drive the economy (more than if they were poor, in prison, uneducated, dying from health problems).

The thing is - CCS is only making promises about housing, education and healthcare. Will anything actually be done? We don't know. But based on recent trends - it seems as if Singaporeans are actually losing ground on these issues, compared to the past.

Anonymous said...

keechiu had pointed out a doubleproblem in singapore.

the elitist richmarryrich syndrome DOES actually exists in Singapore. See how Lim chong yah's family is related to another famous family. It is not really wrong, but this ossification DOES take place in Singapore. KChiu is pretending that it is a western problem. NO, it is not.

In addition to this undesirable consequence, Singapore suffers from a second problem in that PAP does not believe in taxing the rich more, this message comes across very clearly from Keechiu video.

In conclusion everydy singkies are double disadvantaged from both the ossification phenomena as well as the unfair tax practices. Kchiu video is just a summary of motherhood wishy washy ideas. His speech is clearly intended to defend the existing pap position. PAP is always defending itself because it believes it is god and is never never wrong. It is very tiring to have conversation with such people.

zero

Veritas said...

Rich and poor married in higher frequency when society do not have high inequality or when a culture permit such things. The Nordic culture has low inequality. People marry for love. The Chinese culture although more materialistic have no insurmountable barriers for inter-class marriages. However, this is often one-way.

Indian society after 5000 years of social stratification is a different story. For a Dalits to marry a Brahmin, they will have to re-incarnate into Brahmins. Today, many people are still lynched because of inter-caste love relationship in India. If we let elites shit on us longer and longer, we will eventually turn into something an Indian society.

Anonymous said...

One thing stands out at the moment: While the govt says it wants to listen to Singaporeans on what Sporeans want for the future, while it claims it is looking at change and has made a few teensy tweaks to the system, the ministers have been jawing on and on about how Correct everything they've done so far has been, and WHY THINGS SHOULD CONTINUE ALMOST EXACTLY AS THEY ARE NOW.

How do you hold a conversation, or anything else, with people with this kind of mentality? It is the kind of mindset that has driven citizens in other countries to the streets to revolt.

I wonder how, in about 20 years, the govt will solve 6 million people getting old. Import yet more people?

Anonymous said...

Mitt Romney sounds exactly like a Millionaire-In-White.
Must be an honorary member.

Anonymous said...

This is the guy who used the example of $1.50 char kway tiau.

Anonymous said...

First Mr Soh, whether he was planted there or not, should be commended - he at least offered a palatable, win-win way as first tiny step to fund programs to help the needy, by taxing the capital "gains" from property speculation. I do not see how this will take away anything from the rich speculators - America, Spain, Australia and Uk all have capital gains tax on real estate speculation (ie if property is sold within a short span of time, usually less than small number of years). These capital gains taxes did not stop speculators from buying!

People should not buy into all the PAP coolaid anymore - their strategy is to promise on "soft improvements" like education, better "quality" healthcare (while making 60% more profit on same medicine sold in retail pharmacies) and more transport subsidies (which go to the operating companies' but not your pocket). "Quality" improvements, by definition cannot be counted in dollars and cents. You should watch what is actually done, or not done: house prices are still rising, FT inflow unabated, inflation still the highest in the developped world (and higher than all except India and Vietnam in Asia), education still being tweaked every few years, higher and higher income inequality (ferraris sold out, Mercedes and BMWs have ling replaced Toyotas and Honds as best sellers), COE prices permanent highs...

Last, the top civil servants pay review is long overdue - why has there been no report to parliament?

Charles said...

"Today, only 27% of each batch make it to university"

Can you point me towards the source of this number?

Charles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ufo said...

One of the famous PAP behaviour - 'I know Best'. Other famous PAP behaviour includes 'Superior than thou', 'Blame the Singaporeans', 'Point the finger', 'Play Hero', 'Distort the truth'.

Anonymous said...

"I can't believe how a this minister who is in charge of the MCYS can have such a distorted view of reality."
Lucky Tan

He stood in a GRC together with LKY in the last election which has a walkover.

Lucky Tan, why were you not in his place, with your non-distorted view of reality?



Kin Lian Tan said...

Hi Lucky
Thank you for an insightful article. I like the video about Mitt Romney and the comments by the commentator.

Minister Chan Chun Seng came from a poor family background and is able to make it good. I like to acknowledge that this is a "plus point" of the Singapore system. It does give credit to meritocracy that is practiced here.

I agree with many of the views that this does not justify the system that is practiced in Singapore. Minister Chun is described as one of the "lucky ones". I agree. It is like "striking the Big Sweep".

We do have many people striking the Big Sweep or the Toto jackpot each year. It should not be used to justify a system that is based on this kind of luck.

I support your view that we must reduce the income gap and give people at the lower level a better chance in life. We should not just depend on their luck in striking the lottery.

Anonymous said...

your writing is getting kind of long winded and old

Anonymous said...

"You should watch what is actually done, or not done:"
ANON: 26/9/12 14:41

Do this the easy way.
Vote in more Opposition Members of Parliament.

I'm sick and tired of doing free national service.
Including keeping an eye on the Party Against People.

My motto since GE 2011 is;
Guilty till proven otherwise.

Lucky Tan said...

Mr. Tan,

Thanks for your comments.
I'm well aware of Minister Chan's incredible feat of social mobility. But he is a rare exception.

Lucky Tan said...

Charles,

The link is found here.
http://www.spp.nus.edu.sg/ips/docs/media/yr2012/InfoDaily_40_of_Singaporean_youth_300812.pdf

PM Lee released the numbers and stated his intention to raise it from 27% to 40% by the end of the decade.

Lucky Tan said...

anon 16:33,

Maybe I'm getting old. I'm well aware of the attention span of younger people.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lucky - Excellent analyses. Keep up the good work. Never mind whether you are old or young, at least you are wise.

Anonymous said...

"I have written earlier that there are 2 viable options here to address the inequality in our society ...wage restructuring or tax reform with transfers."

There is 3rd option - for the govt to stop profiting from its citizens.

Instead of providing mkt subsidy and channeling huge surplus into GIC, the govt shld truly subsidise public housing & peg it to 3 to 4 times of annual family income. Lengthen the minimum occupation period if they must to make sure that buyers r buying a home for the long term.

Next include land sales into govt revenue like all govts around the world and use the $10 bil plus in additional revenue to lower the cost of tertiary education which has gone beyond the reach of not so well off Singaporean. The money shld also be used to fund public healthcare & to bring down GST.

Half the profits of utility providers like Singapore power & pub shld be used to provide rebates for the first $200 of all mthly utility bills. The other half can be retained for reinvestment. Likewise, half the profits of SMRT & comfort Delgro shld be used to provide fare rebates for Singapore citizens who use public transport. Only Singapore citizens.

Lucky - you have missed a huge portion of govt revenue that do come in the form of direct taxes and is not currently recognized as govt revenue in the annual budgets. This hidden portion has become a monster that suck the life out of ordinary Singaporeans because we pay the world's highest water tariff & the world's 6th highest electricity tariff.

Minghui Kuok said...

The Romney speech was most likely targeted towards people abusing the leaky social security system. What made the video so appalling though was the very fact that he's demonizing one entire lot due to a chosen number of black sheep. Within such a timing, the release without a doubt is a cyanide taken.

In a very eery sense, this is the kind of attitude we're seeing all the while: over-generalizing of the situation at hand. If you want to defend your stance, make sure you explain things at their own level, not yours. Elitism doesn't work this way though.

To me, the minister's words should be backed up by a certain plan. If he can't give the listeners something to chew about, the only thing he will get would be knives unsheathed. What I've seen in the video seemed eerily reminiscent of the whole American Dream ideology. Idealism written in paper but not necessarily translated to reality.

Anonymous said...

"PM Lee released the numbers and stated his intention to raise it from 27% to 40% by the end of the decade."

Did not Wikileaks released data that MOE does not intend to have so many degree holders, precisely because our economy can't hold them?

Anonymous said...

So hard hitting, and so true.

Lye Khuen Way said...

Many of us who care to blog or just post our honest comments will agree with Lucky Tan that the ruling party just still do not get it.

The income inequality and that crazy "affordable " public housing flat should be the two most important issues to tackle.

Some would add the irresponsible opening of the floodgate to foreigners and "scholars" but if you tackle the two issues, these other bear bugs would automatically be eliminated.

No more over crowding, less train breakdowns, higher TFR,.......

My pet believe is that the latter-day PAP elites went for the American MBA which emphasize "Growth" & "Profit".
Who among the early PAP ministers and their Perm Sec had MBA's?

PhD's yes!

I

Anonymous said...

"PM Lee released the numbers and stated his intention to raise it from 27% to 40% by the end of the decade."

Are you sure? Read below.


Wikileaks: MOE does not encourage more Singaporean students to get a tertiary educationWikileaks.orgSingapore boasts a highly competitive and well-regarded primary and secondary education system, but the number of Singaporeans completing a tertiary education is relatively low. Only 23 percent of Singaporean students entering primary school complete a degree at a local four-year university. In other knowledge-economies such as Japan’s, around 50 percent of students complete a university degree. However, according to Cheryl Chan, Assistant Director of the Planning Division at the Ministry of Education (MOE), the government does not plan to encourage more students to get a higher education. The university enrollment rate will continue to be maintained at 20-25 percent because the Singaporean labor market does not need everyone to get a four-year degree, she asserteCan

Anonymous said...

In order to continue to be the elites;
They must suppress the Sinkies.

Daemonic said...

Hi Lucky,

Thanks for all your insightful articles. I believed our PM and his government are faced with a difficult situation if they cannot continue to rely on the influx of foreigners to fuel the economy. The govt (by proxy the PAP) had become the largest employer in the economy. Like the landlords in ancient China, they monopolized the key economic resources while squeezing the farmers (or working class) hard. In addition to being the largest land owner, it uses the various policies (foreign levies, consumption taxes, income taxes, additional buyer stamp duties, etc) to enrich its own pockets. With a healthy, growing economy, the PAP can afford to reward its supporters and ministers with generous yearly increments of >3%, bonuses exceeding 6 months and other fringe benefits.

If our economy grows at the same pace like other advanced economies at 1-3%, the govt's budget deficit will easily balloon. This will expose the govt and specifically the ministers, perm secs and heads of the Civil Service as gigantic leeches that consume far more than what they can produce. If the PAP or the govt is thus forced to curtail the benefits it can reward to its followers then it stands to lose even more support in future. The govt knows if its budget deficit continues to grow, all Singaporeans will begin to examine how it spends it money very carefully. This may open up whole new cans of worms such as questions like are million-dollar salaries and various benefits like durian parties and overseas cooking courses for perm sec justifiable.

Anonymous said...

Let's bring them down with the rest of us in GE 2016.
Make them all unemployed like the rest of us.

sgcynic said...

Just retort Chan with this:

"General sir, if you can but yet are unwilling to do the RIGHT and EASY thing of increasing social transfer to provide IMMEDIATE help the less well off in our society, what makes us think that you can and will be able to do the TOUGH things that you set out to do in the LONG TERM? Wait long long? We stay together awhile you move on to your next appointment?"

Anonymous said...

CCS is a very good example of a wasted brain. No doubt he has a good brain but this good brain has turned bad because of the system LKY crafted. In order for them to advance their career they have to think and support the thoughts of LKY. This blind following leads to the lost of their ability to think independently. What a waste. There are many like that. Just look at Tharman. When he was outside the government, his views are fresh and insightful. But the closer he gets to the Lees, the more he has to toe their lines and what u get is lots of rubbishs flowing from his mouth.

Anonymous said...

"CCS is a very good example of a wasted brain."
Anon 26/9/12 23:18

Alamak, you expect him to talk like Lucky Tan?

If he did, he would, just like Lucky Tan, not even be a PAP election candidate in the first place, let alone become a minister.

Anonymous said...

CCS becomes "Corrupted Common Sense" once you join the Dark evil force.

Anonymous said...

Lucky, frankly I prefer a flatter wage structure than higher taxes as it preserve the principle of hard work.

Anonymous said...

But to add is that the present tax level for the rich is a bit too low

Lucky Tan said...

anon 05:37,

There is a pre-supposition that wealth is acquired by "hard work". If it is the income gap will not be so large because people can only work so hard. Go back to what Bob Shiller said in a video I posted a few weeks ago and the one I just posted showing Mr Soh posing a question to Minister Chan. When the income gap is this big something else is going on, the advantage of wealth becomes too high and labor is paid little. Such a system is not only economically unsustainable and unstable ...it takes time to fix the wage structure (the PAP is not even doing this) and in the mean time Shiller suggested to adaptively raise taxes before destabilisation.

The PAP approach to look at this whole thing and say it is "acceptable" so long as you have a chance to make it. They fail to recognise that this is only acceptable through their ideological lens ...look at what is happening in Hong Kong, when trust breaks down and things can happen quickly.

Anonymous said...

"...look at what is happening in Hong Kong"
Lucky Tan 27/9/12 07:39

Lucky Tan, why you want to compare Singapore with Hong Kong??

In Hong Kong, tens of thousands could protest on the streets.

In Singapore? The last time our "Aung Juan Soon Chee" organised one in 2008, he couldn't even get more than 20, including children!

Since then, he hasn't organised any and is now back to harmlessly and quietly hawking books on the streets.

So you see, Singapore is unique and we must find our own unique solution, most crucial of which is how to win over the 60% from PAP.

No way and no sense to compare with other places and people.

Anonymous said...

Think outside the box.
Think regime change.
The entire barrel of apples is rotten.
And no amount of CONversation will change anything.

Anonymous said...

Those immigrants will grow old like us and put our already dwindling resources at tremendous stress. Why can't they foresee it or most likely falling on deaf ears after the last election. Economy seemed vital than other people sufferings. The old Singapore I am proud to call home but now, I don't even recognise my own country.

Anonymous said...

Illustrative PAP-MIW Joke
-------------------------

Q: How do Millionaires-In-White say "fuck you" in Singapore?

A1: Your HDB flat is affordable.
A2: Your HDB flat is subsidized.
A3. A family on $1,000 income can own a flat

A4. Your healthcare is affordable.
A5. You have subsidized healthcare.

A6. "The next generation have equal opportunities to shine come from education, housing, healthcare and so forth"

A7. "GST is to help the poor"

I encourage Sinkies to add on other Answers to this joke.

Anonymous said...

"The Chinese culture although more materialistic have no insurmountable barriers for inter-class marriages. However, this is often one-way."

You're playing down the materialistic aspect of the chinese culture. The chinese have a long history of kllling one another and you're likely to see a chinese spitting on the ground than any other races in this island. Chinese people want "face". They will do stupid things like buying expensive cars and condos but never invite people to their homes because they have to scrimp and save on everything else expensive they'd purchase in the name of " not being looked down upon". They have a poor sense of toilet culture and still needs to learn how to practise graciousness. They need to learn from the Japanese.

You know, it's gonna be different for different people. Everybody gonna have their own opinions about it. But me personally, I don't like to work in a chinese culture. Don't get me wrong. You can be whatever you wanna be. If you want to be chinese, moslem or christians, I'm fine with that. Good for you! If that's what you want to do, go ahead....go ahead and do it. But for me, i don't like my work and my lifestyle as well as my politics be influenced by chinese culture or christianity for that matter...

But I don't go around telling people how shitty some place is...'cos I can respect the way things are.

And I'm chinese.

Anonymous said...

Dear Veritas,

Chinese people don't like to marry people with no degrees. Happened to my friends. His parents denied him marrying a peasant PRC, a singaporean lady with no degree, etc.. Poor chap had to run away from Singapore to get married in China.

Many races who come to live in Singapore including Hong Kees, dislike Singapore because chinese people are literally dirty. The toilets at the MRTS and kopi tiams attest to this.

When a chinese buys a car or a house, they always want others to "look" at them. I think you have a BIG blindspot on your own culture.

Anonymous said...

Lol. This is a joke.

All i can say now is that even if my generation can no longer vote for you, I will make sure that I will my very best to get my next generation to vote for you.

I think he is missing the point that WE vote him in to improve OUR lives. If he can do that for "this generation" then he should leave politics until the "next generation" where he can do something for them.

We need leaders not philosophers.

Veritas said...

I do not deny materialism counts in Chinese marriage. Generally you see rich marrying the rich. You see rich marrying the poor as well, especially if the man is rich.

But no body is going to murder you for doing that.

In India, thousands or tenth of thousands murder occur because Dalits tries to love a Brahmin. It is so frequent that many newspaper cease reporting most cases. Occasionally, you could still see them reported.

In India, you get the most sickening culture that love do not counts. If a Dalits wants to marry a Brahmin, the easiest way is to commit suicide and hope he re-incarnate in Brahmin immediately.

And I really surprise at stupidity of some commenters who claim the cleanest city in the whole world Singapore as dirty. These people should GET LOST from Singapore and go India.

Veritas said...

India is a country that the poor let the elite shit on them for too long -- 5000 years. The elite call themselves Brahmins and call the poor Dalits.

I see Singapore going that direction and PAP is importing hell lot of FT Indian advisors to re-invent us into Indian society.

Today, we are having some hereditary occupation. If you are Malay, SAF no welcome you. If you are non-Indians, you can only hope to re-incarnate to work for Citibank CDP.

We are already Dalits. India is a society where poor is too kind and doesn't uprise. China solve the problem of shit elite by periodic revolution of 300 years. In Europe, the English, French and eventually Bolshevik revolution scare the shit out of elites. Hence, Europe rich give good life to people from 1950-1980.

A little violent is necessary. If LKY haven seen the recent spectre of racial conflict and rise of patriotic Singaporea nationalism, would he talk " pace” that citizens “find comfortable". And think we should give even more threats of violent against PAP. We are too docile.

Veritas said...

Recently LKY talk "We have slowed down the intake of foreigners but we will continue taking in foreigners at a pace” that citizens “find comfortable,"

Keep it up Singaporeans, we need more nationalism.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHGaH-7wq6M&list=UUHtQoet239-iKjAlPCVZfNw&index=3&feature=plcp

Anonymous said...

Veritas,

Just so you know, you're skating on very very thin ice.

Anonymous said...

This fucking Veritas think in Singapore no racism, is it? Malays not marginalised, is it?

Fuck you lah!

Anonymous said...

Go write your own blog, you mother fucker! You fucking hell close your own blog and come over on LT's blog to be a commentator warrior?! KNN CCB!

Veritas said...

If you follow my comment, I have long voice for Malay, way before Chee Soon Juan started his Malay forum. I have written countless article support positive affirmative policy for Malay.

I have spoken for Malay community.

I make fair comment.

Anonymous said...

The only thing we need to know is that the Pro Alien Party is really interested only in protecting rich people.

The scholarship system is designed to offer hope for the talented poor.
So that they can be co-opted into the side of the rich people.
This is to ensure that the talented poor never becomes a source of leadership for Opposition parties.

Anonymous said...

It's not so much about talent or about the poor.

It's about 60% who are happy and satisfied with PAP and so they voted PAP.

Because some can be poor but they are happy and satisfied with PAP what. So they voted PAP lah.

Don't ask me why they like that lah. Don't ask the opposition because they also don't know or else they would have won already. Ask the PAP. I think they know how to make some (not all) of the poor vote PAP and that's why PAP won.





Anonymous said...

I strongly believe there are some of the 60% who are poor but they still voted PAP.

Cannot be all the 60% are rich what, tio bo?

By the way, I consider the poor as those earning $2700 or less per month which is the median salary in 2011. Meaning 50% of working people earn below this salary and the other 50% earn above this salary.

Anonymous said...

"..fair comment..."

That can't be further from the truth. If you close your blog, what balance are your providing then in terms of fair commentaries?

I think you hit a raw nerve of many of the posters here, mate. When you make comments, do think about the social compact and the social context in which you are making your comments to and your audience too. Avoid being caustic and explosive.

Cheers!

Veritas said...

Re

That can't be further from the truth. If you close your blog, what balance are your providing then in terms of fair commentaries?

I think you hit a raw nerve of many of the posters here, mate. When you make comments, do think about the social compact and the social context in which you are making your comments to and your audience too. Avoid being caustic and explosive.


What exactly am I caustic and explosive?

I am too sensitive and too kind, too ready to "forgive" wickedness even when many more people have curse such wickedness before me, much fiercely.

Are you mentioning about cutting Charles 1 and Louis 16? Most western history will agree that it is a good thing even if this is a personal tragedy to both of them. The system they stands for is enslavement.

Are you mentioning about Indian caste system? Everyone other than Indians are already sick to nausea about the system. Just pick up any serious work on MPH or library.

I am see Indian caste system taking its root here now. Whats wrong with that? I think caste system and our neo-caste system is wrong. Not me.

I support Malay rights as well as social equality. I also screw Chinese culture, cursing especially landlordism.

My of my thinking comes from Marx and other socialist writers. I am also shaped by Buddhism having spend 6 years in Maha Bodhi School memorizing far more Buddist scripture than most Singaporeans. How can I resent Indian culture if I am so internalize by it and like it so much. I am just making fair comments on Indians.

I am not a racist. Call me a racial-realist and socialist. Only those wicked people will support caste system.

Anonymous said...

The way I see it is that this maniacal influx of foreigners, PRs and new citizens is an attempt to strengthen the stratifications in our society. After 47 years, Singaporeans have wisened up to the PAP politics and daily propaganda. And the government notices this.

If the aim of flooding this island with foreigners because of the economy, then that can’t be it. The two casinos here and the ERP charges would have made it up for our need to survive.
The real aim is to dilute the Singaporeans consciousness so that the government through this systematic destabilisation would then resurrect and strengthen the old order and stratifications of power. To do this, destabilisation is needed for long-term sustaining of power.
The divide and conquer technique is overused in this island. Even Chee Soon Juan is entering parliament just as Tan Kin Lian, Tan Jee Say and Tan Cheng Bock were allowed to participate in the Presidential Elections so that “divide and conquer” technique would dilute all the opposing candidates. Eventually the sore thumb Tan Cheng Bock was outwitted by this simple act.
Today’s Singapore is a country divided. More and more stratifications are introduced. The ladder is getting longer in the hierarchical structure of our society. The elite want to remain in power. And such a drastic attempt is seen here in Singapore. You don’t see this in Japan where the society is stabilise but the leadership are constantly replaced. In Singapore, the citizens are replaced.

Furtherance to that, the PM has admitted in his National Conversation that he doesn’t have a vision for Singapore.

Anonymous said...

"am also shaped by Buddhism having spend 6 years in Maha Bodhi School memorizing far more Buddist scripture than most Singaporeans"

Did Buddhism taught you to be impolite in passing on sensitive issues? You can comment on sensitive issues. By all means, please do. But you got to be polite in doing so. You don't have to pay deference to sensitive topics. Just avoid coming on too strong. I suppose use of language is important here. Avoid put-downs or derogatory remarks that only to allow people to see at times as a ranter or you throwing off your frustrations or emotionally unloading yourself. You're perceivd to be less objective when you do that.

Kepp doing what you do. But avoid insults or disparaging people. Think before you click submit.

It is better to say..."this is a social injustice"....or..."this is outrageous and unbecoming"..."why should we tolerate this as a society?" or "I get offended that...."

these are better ways. We don't have to agree. But we have to respect each other as humans. Even when we notice that to do so is tough because such humans hold which harms other humans....

we could say..."i respect you too much as a human being to allow you to take on that perspective..."

Think about it. And put the ego aside.

May all sentient beings be happy.

Anonymous said...

"May all sentient beings be happy."
ANON: 28/9/12 08:35

Why are you telling all this to Veritas and the rest of us?

Why don't you tell that to the old goat who refuses to go quietly into the night?
Stop calling us daft, spurs in our sides and etc.

What about the old goat's proteges?
example: The 3 meals in a hawker centre eye doctor?

Anonymous said...

Anon 0835 was probably piqued by Veritas's mention of Bhuddism.

It was nice of him/her to want beings to be happy, noble and kind of the person. However,
he/she may like to be more magnanimous and tolerant of others.

Anonymous said...

"Until recently when Junior Lee (Prime Minister of Singapore) approved the building of at least two casinos to raise government revenue, Lee has also maintained a personal policy against gambling, although sweepstakes such as “4D” and “Toto” were allowed. In his speech as Minister Mentor, despite a proposal from Stanley Ho to operate a floating casino in Marina Bay, Lee angrily responded: “No, over my dead body!” He was also against the proposal to have Formula One racing in Singapore." unquote

(Lee Kuan Yew The Singapore Strongman « Chinese Indonesian)
http://chineseindonesian.wordpress.com/2009/10/25/lee-kuan-yew-the-singapore-strongman/


(Pseudonymity Judiciary has not moved to check the Executive's misuse of the law)
http://udhr19.blogspot.sg/2006/06/judiciary-has-not-moved-to-check_09.html

(Cry Freedom Where's The Defamation Part)
http://swordofdemocles.blogspot.sg/2006/07/wheres-defamation-part.html

(Young Pay-And-Pay Blog The price for being ARROGANT)
http://young-pap.blogspot.sg/2011/05/price-of-arrogance.html

(Catholics call for Israeli hate-crime crackdown — RT)
https://rt.com/news/catholics-christian-vandalism-hate-598/


(Where Bears Roam Free How IDF teaches children to kill innocents, and how SAF mimics them)
http://wherebearsroamfree.blogspot.sg/2012/09/how-idf-teaches-children-to-kill.html

(Singapore Notes One Man Justice)
http://singaporedesk.blogspot.sg/2012/06/one-man-justice.html

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/prosecution%E2%80%99s-star-witness-admits-she-%E2%80%98wasn%E2%80%99t-truthful%E2%80%99-to-cpib-.html

(News for Harold Tan Hock Chye - Singapore)
http://sg.theasianparent.com/harold-tan-singapore-education-systems-black-sheep/

Joshua Chiang

Anonymous said...

The old dogma that low taxes reward hard work will eventually be overthrown by the huge income inequality. When income extreme inequality gets extreme,old propaganda will no longer work.

Many people are starting to see that a large part of the rich's wealth comes from rise in property prices, not from hard work.

Wealth from rise in property prices does not come from solely being more hardworking, but a mixture of factors,some controlled by the government policies such as under supply of flats, liberal immigration policies and low interest rates.

Those who work hard but wages are kept low due to liberal immigration polices will no longer accept the excuse given by ministars anymore.

They would question, why should a bus driver Singapore be paid lower than those in taiwan? Did they not work just as hard? Is hardwork the sole driver of wages? Or is it the unfair economic structure? Is it because of how the rewards are being distributed by government polices...

Anonymous said...

"It was nice of him/her to want beings to be happy, noble and kind of the person. However,
he/she may like to be more magnanimous and tolerant of others."

One who gives advice is an egoist. I am writing out of compassion.

Anonymous said...

It took Apple's CEO only 1 week to admit a mistake.

Apple CEO: Agreed, We Blew It With Maps
http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/the-exchange/apple-ceo-agreed-blew-maps-135536339.html

Contrast with our Millionaire Ministers.
Who never admits a mistake.
Except to say; "tweak", "re-calibrate" and etc.

Anybody here still think they are worth the millions we (or rather the old goat) is paying them?

Anonymous said...

Wah! Only 1 week, and Apple's CEO says sorry.

Did not even have a National Conversation with consumers to find out what consumers want in the next 10 years.

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time in history

Where most of the newly wealth is created by land and rental, the peasants who provided the labour get the least share of rewards.

The result was overthrowing of many kings and dynasties.

Anonymous said...

No need to look at history.
Just look around you today.
Open eyes big, big.

Anonymous said...

"Once upon a time...The result was overthrowing of many kings and dynasties."
Anon 29/9/12 09:33

Once upon a time mata wear shorts what.

Now where got?

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time, no foreigners what, except some from jiu hu (Malaysia) which is more or less the same as us. So not much problem.

Now got PRCs, India Indians, Pinoys, Myanmar, and even from Africa, like Uganda or Timbuktu. Where got the same as us? Problem, tio bo?

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time, no foreigners what, except some from jiu hu (Malaysia) which is more or less the same as us. So not much problem.

Now got PRCs, India Indians, Pinoys, Myanmar, and even from Africa, like Uganda or Timbuktu. Where got the same as us? Problem, tio bo?

Anonymous said...

Last time there was no internet.

Now there is internet.

Imagine the difference between the past and present...

Anonymous said...

Doesn't matter Internet or no internet, wide income gap or not, or whatever lah, PAP can get at least 60% votes and 93% seats at every election for 47 years!!!!

Anonymous said...

"...PAP can get at least 60% votes and 93% seats at every election for 47 years!!!!"
Anon 29/9/12 11:45

Why only PAP with leaders like LKY, GCT and LKY son LHL can achieve this?

Singapore also got many talents and clever people what, like Chee Soon Juan or even Lucky Tan.

In fact Chee Soon Juan is so clever that he wrote many books, one of which is even a best seller that raked him $30K in just 10 days!

But why they cannot achieve what PAP achieved? LHL smarter than him?

Anonymous said...

60% is the tipping point :)

Anonymous said...

if one looks at the US presidential election, is it not very clear the kind of ideology that separates the democrats and the republicans?

and is it not also clear that PAP's ideology is firmly republican? sprouting the kind of trickle-down hogwash championed by the rich like mitt romney.

Anonymous said...

PAP's ideology is to champion at least 60% are happy enough to vote PAP during elections.

But it applies only in Singapore, and for PAP only. Not even for the opposition.

And of course not for Obama, Mitt Romney, Najib or even Aung San Suu kyi.

And of course other countries ideology we also cannot use lah. Just look at our "Aung Juan Soon Chee". He tried but failed miserably for 20 years!



Anonymous said...

Anyway, I do not have a good impression of this minister. Why bother to listen to his speech. Waste of my time.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lucky

I am interested to know the tax rates that the top ten percent income earners are paying, including any tax deductions, subsidies, tax rebate [pronatalist ones included] etc. compared with the common folks, perhaps someone from the second quin-tile. Is there any evidence that we are facing the same inequitable tax situation in US, where billionaires like Buffet is paying less tax than his secretary? Is there any numbers or analysis that you can provide for us all?

I hope if possible the GST tax can be left out in your analysis. Granted, the GST tax is itself undeniably abhorrently regressive tax regime, though there has been offsetting GST rebates for the lower income households

Anonymous said...

"I am interested to know the tax rates that the top ten percent income earners are paying,..."
Anon 29/9/12 23:06

According to Minister Shanmugam the top 20% income earners, companies, and non-Singaporeans pay 84% of the total taxes in Singapore to finance our $52 billion government budget expenditure. The rest pay only 16% of the total taxes.
– Gintai blog, 16 June 2012, My meeting with Minister K Shanmugam

So is the tax rate for top ten per cent income earners still relevant?

Anonymous said...

Doesn't matter what is % tax rate for top 10% income earners.

Doesn't matter top 20% income earners pay 84% of all taxes.

What matters is the 60% who voted PAP every election, and doesn't matter whether they pay high, low or no taxes.

Because everybody already paid taxes, which is the GST, and which matters.

Anonymous said...

nice read.

yes everything they talk about is for the future, for old age,
CPF so you can retire and live happily ever after till 85
Medicsave cap so if one is sick at 85 there is money for treatment.. does not matter if one is already dying at 65
they cause the problems that current generation are facing and unable to solve and continue to sell the long term, next generation fairy tale which they will not be around to take responsibility if it fails.

the usual blame on low birthrate. but if you were to search around for a Gynaecologist. there is a long waiting list which does not match with all the tale spinning.

the future, barely can see any if this continues

Anonymous said...

"...but if you were to search around for a Gynaecologist. there is a long waiting list which does not match with all the tale spinning."
Anon 30/9/12 09:25

If it is a private and well known gynae, this is understandable. Because many rich foreigners, pregnant ones included, want to seek the best medical care in Singapore.

So long waiting list for a good gynae may have nothing to do with our own citizens' low birth rate.

Just like high property prices may have nothing to do with our many citizens not able to afford them.

Anonymous said...

To them, it's your perspective that's distorted, and it's your perspective that needs conversion.

Anonymous said...

You die your business,
why shud the Rulers be
bothered with your well-being?
Their concern is how to amass wealth.

Anonymous said...

"So is the tax rate for top ten per cent income earners still relevant?"

the fact that eighty percent of the tax comes from the parties you've mentioned is irrelevant to the question at hand concerning how regressive or perhaps even progressive our existing income tax system is, whose nature is determined by the percentage or proportion of one's total earnings a person has to submit to the tax authority. I am also baffled why you bring in corporate tax and non Singaporeans, wholly irrelevant to the subject matter at hand, when my request has already stated to leave out constituents extraneous to the subject in question.

So, in answering your question, it does matter what is the effective tax rate for the top ten percent, despite the numbers you quoted, or to be more accurate, you re~quoted.

eremarf said...

@anonymous

"According to Minister Shanmugam the top 20% income earners, companies, and non-Singaporeans pay 84% of the total taxes in Singapore to finance our $52 billion government budget expenditure. The rest pay only 16% of the total taxes.
– Gintai blog, 16 June 2012, My meeting with Minister K Shanmugam"

I'm not sure if you can trust Shanmugam (or any other PAP spokesperson). Leong Sze Hian has already shown that our government can repeatedly shift goalposts when commenting on labour, employment, wages and CPF (e.g. "oh we were using this measure last year, but this year we changed to something else, that's why although wages actually dropped, it shows an increase on our chart"). So, I would really have to take what Shanmugam says with a whole handful of salt. The definition of what counts as "tax" will probably be crucial.

I have also met libertarians in Singapore such as angrydoc who keep bringing up income tax statistics (BTW Romney does the same) to show that Singaporeans are supported by the tax monies of the elite. He ignores that we have no capital gains tax, no inheritance tax (which the elites pay elsewhere - but not in SG), or that we have sales tax (GST) paid by all SGeans (and a regressive tax!), and finally that some of our public housing, healthcare, and education subsidies are implemented via CPF - where you get subsidised based on how much you get taxed!

So I'm really not enlightened about how we're taxed, and I don't have answers for you, Anonymous. But I do wish to say that the rich do not become rich in a vacuum. They are rich because they live in a safe society, with social infrastructure (educated people, law and order, family and friendship support etc), with physical infrastructure (roads, airports, ports, telecomms, etc). And they are not sole-ly responsible for their success in life. (Worse - many of them have succeeded through the exploitation of others or the environment which is often unethical and cruel.) Why then should they not contribute to those who in the first place contribute to their success?

Since I'm writing here - I would suggest readers look at Robert Shiller with a pinch of salt too - he has been co-opted by the Republicans. Look at his 2012 book defending finance - nothing wrong with that - except that it's irrelevant and repeating known facts (while avoiding the lessons we should have learned from 2008).

And also, I want to highlight what some alternative voices are saying... that our world today is similar to the Great Depression era, i.e. production has far outstripped consumption. I mention this because consumption is partly linked to income inequality - as J. Stiglitz has pointed out, the rich don't really consume as much as everyone else, the poor, the middle-class. Thus - income inequality worldwide could be what's driving down consumption and causing the crisis (crises?). At the same time - there's too much wealth (remember the rich don't consume - they save and invest) looking for safe investment and perhaps driving bubbles (which QE is trying to prevent), at a time when there're no safe investments.

Have a look at some of the 1929-1933 newspaper articles - the insights are amazing (esp the last article on that list): http://ftalphaville.ft.com/blog/2012/09/24/1173781/a-time-of-hoarding-and-inflation-fears-1930s-edition/

Cheers all! Thanks Mr Lucky for hosting us all. :-)

eremarf said...

@Mr Lucky and Anonymous dude asking for difference between top 10% effective tax rate vs second quin-tile:

I would be very interested too. If possible - it would be nice to see data for the top 1%, and the top 0.1% too.

My gut feel is that our tax regime must be very favourable to those with wealth. How else can it be that wealthy people from not just the region but all over the world are parking their wealth here?

Another gut feel I have is that nobody in a position to provide such data really wants to. We lack our Warren Buffets here in Singapore. People who are willing to speak up for society instead of their short-term material self-interest (which seems really perverted to me - how can wealth accumulation be so important to individuals?!? Ever?!? I mean there's much more to life than becoming crazily wealthy, right? Such as making yourself, making people around you, happier. Or at least preventing their suffering?).

Or could it just be our climate of fear that's preventing moneyed conscience from speaking out?

Anonymous said...

Why was Estate Duty removed?

Was the Estate Duty removed to
benefit and favour a segment in
society?

Veritas said...

Re

Why was Estate Duty removed?

Was the Estate Duty removed to
benefit and favour a segment in
society?


The rich has another logic. 爸爸賺錢,兒子花錢,有什麼不對? 為什麼要分給窮人。

The truth is somewhere in the middle. Abolishing estate tax will create dynastic wealth that let the most idle rich people feed on the most productive people.

Veritas said...

And also, I want to highlight what some alternative voices are saying... that our world today is similar to the Great Depression era, i.e. production has far outstripped consumption. I mention this because consumption is partly linked to income inequality - as J. Stiglitz has pointed out, the rich don't really consume as much as everyone else, the poor, the middle-class. Thus - income inequality worldwide could be what's driving down consumption and causing the crisis (crises?). At the same time - there's too much wealth (remember the rich don't consume - they save and invest) looking for safe investment and perhaps driving bubbles (which QE is trying to prevent), at a time when there're no safe investments.


Stiglitz do not come out with the above theory on thin air. It was borrowed from Karl Marx. Many of these pro-people economist actually borrow extensively from Marx stealthily. Anyone who mentioned Marx will get shunned and blacklisted by the rich and powerful.

I beg everyone to read Karl Marx. I have benefitted a lot from his world view. Its unfortunate that scumbag like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pot..etc tarnish his name. He is the wisest man in economics, on par with Adam Smith.

eremarf said...

Hello Veritas

I used to describe myself as a Marxist too. But perhaps that was out of youthful ignorance. Marx was a great man with great insights, but being Marxist has its own narrow set of meanings today (often political). I think all intellectuals today would concede that they stand on the shoulders of giants, and nobody means any offence to Marx when they apply their ideas to explain and advocate things in the real world today. And, I think the people we read today tend to have ideas which might echo or substantiate Marx, but which are different from what Marx wrote. For example:

Stiglitz - this guy, when he writes about inequality, comes from an economics perspective. He provides empirical proof (fit into strong theories) from the recent past, from other times and spaces, for what Marx "observes". Where Marx argues perhaps from the premise of what is moral/ethical (i.e. how capitalism harms humans), Stiglitz argues from the premise of optimising outcomes for society. This doesn't diminish Marx at all, but adds another facet to the argument: it is not just UNETHICAL to allow unfettered capitalism, it is INEFFICIENT. (But the rich are not interested in efficiency it seems - they just like to be RELATIVELY richer and more powerful. It seems.)

David Graeber also adds to Marx because he approachs the topic by looking back in time at historical societies, and across space at primitive societies. He finds that anthropologically, capitalism is an anomaly. Graeber provides evidence that throughout time and space, humans do not often act "rationally" (in the capitalism/economics sense). In close-knit units of humanity (e.g. the family, the tribe, etc), capitalistic relations CANNOT hold. To have them hold would destroy what it means to be human. To reduce humans to capitalistic relations, has both historically and presently involved viewing people not as humans (e.g. trade with external tribes, slavery and sale of humans as commodities, wage-slavery a la present times as described by Marx - you might be interested that allowing labour to become a commodity isn't a very common thing across human societies - it has often been regarded as a right, or as a fundamental/constitutive part of a person's identity).

So, Veritas, I don't know. I think we all stand on the shoulders of giants. The important thing is that their insights help us to improve our lives I guess. That's the more important thing. Thanks for all your input so far I hope we can together make a better Singapore for tomorrow (like Mr Lucky is doing). Cheers! :-)


Caveat: I am probably mutilating these authors' ideas horribly - but I try my best to transmit my lay knowledge to a lay audience. The more I grow old, the more I realise I don't know much, so I will probably revise my views later in life again. Thanks for bearing with me.

Anonymous said...

All your comments here are interesting.
But without votes, it will be the same old pigs in government in 2016.

60% of your friends & relatives voted PAP in GE 2011.
Won't you please consider spending just 5% of your time & effort to convert one of them into an Opposition voter for GE 2016?

Anonymous said...

"Won't you please consider spending just 5% of your time & effort to convert one of them into an Opposition voter for GE 2016?"
Anon 1/10/12 09:31

Not easy lah, I tell you.

For 20 years, Chee Soon Juan even hold public protests, went to jail, made bankrupt and even got high calibre Tan Jee Say as SDP candidate in GE 2011 to convert people into Opposition voters.

Yet SDP was not even near to winning a single seat, let alone win a seat!

So you say lah, easy or not?



Anonymous said...

Be patient. If Aung San Suu Kyi can, why not Aung Juan Soon Chee, now that he is not bankrupt any more and can contest GE 2016?

Anonymous said...

"Not easy lah, I tell you."
@ ANON: 1/10/12 12:19

Actually, I find it very easy.
Just chat amongst your friends and relatives.
The ones that are close to you.
Through casual conversations, find out which ones voted PAP.

Then target the PAP supporter with the weakest conviction over the next few months in one-on-one conversation.

If he has ageing parents. And has to hire a maid to look after them.
Then say something like "Wah. You mean you have to pay a tax (the maid levy) for your filial piety?"

If he has hired a maid to look after his baby.
Then say something like "Wah. You mean you have to pay a tax (the maid levy) for starting a family?"

There are so many unfair taxes and charges. Learn how to use it to support the Opposition.

Example
--------
In Tampines, they are raising the conservancy charges.
Because they need the money to buy LED lights.
So that they can save money on electricity.
Unbelievable but true.

Anonymous said...

I'm not asking you to convert every single friend and relative.
I'm saying to just convert one.

I'm saying, everybody (40%), just convert one of your friends or relatives.
Your quota is just one.

Just one.
For your children's future.

Anonymous said...

You must be daft and silly to some extent. Why talk of conversion? Get real! They are everywhere, the machinery is everywhere. The whole island has been politicised. You ain't going to change Singapore. Shut up! And follow! You must be fucking stupid to think that Singaporeans will hear you. You're a fool. Why are you letting the government or whatever you believe toy with your hope? You should find work overseas.

My friend, I'm not stupid. I'm realistic to the core. I know when I'm down and out, my wife will leave. That's life. Everything runs on money. Even love.

We have commercialised love. These are the times that we live in. You see, if the PRCs, the pinoys and the INdian nationals, Indonesian here wanted to convert every other PRCs, pinoy or Indian national to vote for the opposition in their OWN country (China, India, Phillipine....), they could have done so.

But did it work? Nope!
China is still the same. Loud and greedy and amoral. India is still dirty and practises caste system in the front door, phillipines is still poor, smoky and somewhat dangerous. You think the folks in these countries don't want to change their governments? Huh? Do you? They know they can't. Because the corruption in phillipines, china (who you know), etc are too deeply set that they can't effect the change all these decades.

Did they spend their fucking telling others in the countries to vore for the opposition? No! Because they're not stupid like you.

What did they do? They're got their asses overseas. In fact, they're here.

And you, my friend, should take a lesson and do the same....stop converting people to opposition. Start looking for opportunities overseas, you fucking moron. Observe the PRCs and learn from these assholes....you want things to change....move. Again you don't have to migrate...just find work overseas! And live there and don't return. Keep your pink ic.

Give yourself 5 years. Because the first 5 years overseas, you will be tempted to return. Hold it and stick it out. ANd you'll be a happier citizen out of singapore. Here is not the place for us singaproeans any more. We're being sold out by our own government.

Anonymous said...

@ ANON: 1/10/12 22:36
For a "fucking stupid" person like myself, I sure got a huge reaction from you.
Maybe you are a Millionaire-In-White internet troll?

For the rest of you Sinkies.
I'm not asking you to convert "Singapore".
I'm asking you to convert just ONE of the 60% of your friends or relatives who voted for the Pro Alien Party into an Opposition voter.
Your patriotic quota is just ONE.

"Singapore" is made up of people, the Singaporeans.
To change "Singapore", you must operate at the ground level ... the individual Singaporeans.
Your friends and relatives.

Singapore can only be changed one individual Singaporean at a time.

"Standing up for Singapore" means standing up for Singaporeans.
Your friends, your relatives and most importantly, yourself and your family.

Is it so difficult to have a simple one-on-one conversation with a close fried or relative whom you meet regularly?
Just use that opportunity to quietly convert him over a period of months and years.

"... government of the people, by the people, for the people ..."
Abraham Lincoln at the Gettysburg address.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gettysburg_Address

Anonymous said...

Fuck you lah! Talk cock and sing song! Every person who criticised your opposition proselytisation is labelled a PAP internet troll. No wonder fuckers don't vote for fucking opposition. Tell Low Thia Kiang to improve his fucking English first. He is an embarassment when he speaks English.

Anonymous said...

If no one speak up against stupid fucks like you, fuckers like you go on the net and constantly get others to vote opposition simply out of hatred for PAP and not about presenting the facts like what Mr. Tan does. How am I to be persuaded to vote for opposition for the simply the sake of voting for them? I have not seen much opposition at work but I sure saw Pritam Singh on a bus trip to Malaysia over the National pre break long holiday. Opposition are invisible. They are only visible during election time.

If you want me to vote for an opposition, then show me how are you gonna take on the PAP. PAP is everywhere.

Anonymous said...

@ ANON: 2/10/12 21:21
I'm not interested in converting your die hard Pro Alien Party vote.
Every lunatic political party, e.g. the Nazi Party, will have die hard followers.

I'm only interested in ONE among the 60% of my friends & relatives who voted for the Pro Alien party out of stupidity and ignorance.

I was once a dumb and ignorant PAP supporter & voter too. For no less than 20 years.

For the rest of us Sinkies.
I'm not asking you to take on the PAP. Please don't do that.
Just follow your conscience and do your ONE little bit for your children's sake.

Just as Tin Pei Ling got a free ride into parliament on the GRC ticket to gain her credentials and experience.
So too we must give Opposition members our support to get into parliament to gain their experience and credentials.

Remember. Corazon Aquino was just a housewife who answered the call of duty to go on to become President of the Philippines.

Anonymous said...

"Remember. Corazon Aquino was just a housewife who answered the call of duty to go on to become President of the Philippines."
Anon 3/10/12 08:47

You must be joking lah, using Corazon Aquino as example.

Tens or even hundreds of thousands of Pinoys took to the streets of Manila to revolt against then dictator Marcos. And Corazon became President on People Power.

Our hero "Aung Juan Soon Chee" could not even get more than 20 people, including children during the last public protest he organised in 2008!

And at least 60% are happy and satisfied with PAP govt, no matter how bad times are, or how many foreign talents came here to squeeze with them.





Anonymous said...

ANON: 3/10/12 09:12
"And at least 60% are happy and satisfied with PAP govt ..."

Congratulations.
Then you have nothing to worry about.
Now go play on the PIE expressway.
And bring a Millionaire-In-White along with you as a playmate.

Anonymous said...

Under Obama, top 1% received 93% of income growth. Let's blame Bush?

In Singapore, didn't u say that Cow was doing a great job with housing?

Anonymous said...

In Singapore, everything is relative.

Cow is doing a great job with housing relative to Horse(Mah).

PAP is a great political party relative to the opposition parties.

Even if you have $1 million, you are poor relative to those billionaires. Because in Singapore there are many billionaires, especially foreign ones turn into PR and turn into citizens.

This is why the income gap is so wide because even having $1 million is not considered rich in Singapore now. But they can still be happy and satisfied and also vote PAP during elections. That's perhaps how PAP can get 60% votes despite the wide income gap which Lucky Tan is always harping on.



Anonymous said...

PAP govt knows better than Lucky Tan and those blog critics how many Singaporeans are rich, or at least happy and satisfied.

That's why PAP can afford to have those policies that made some (only some) angry and frustrated, BUT many more are happy and satisfied.

Anonymous said...

Illustrative PAP-MIW Joke
-----------------------

Late one night in Singapore, a robber surprised a well dressed man coming out of the office of the CPF Board.

The robber held a gun against the man's ribs and demanded "Give me your money!"

The man stiffened, but said indignantly, "You can not do this to me. I am a Minister."

"In that case," replied the robber, "give me back my money!"

yongxian said...

You forget to mention that while the state controls the press here, in developed countries, the rich owns the 'free press'. The rich influences public opinion using mass media the way a fascist state does using propagandas. Is it merely a pointless choice between listening the state's lies or the corporation's lies.

The poor needs financial education, not another education minister (or president). The unemployed needs an understanding of market demand, not a free paper degree. Problems from higher population are solved by having better transportation, security, housing, manpower and cultural management, not by lowering the population (holocaust? Genocide? Mass deportation?) Or stopping growth (simcity pause function?). For the problem with mass ignorances, their judging skill needs refinement through education coupled with the loosening of censorship. Privatising the press will not give us better informed citizens, it is irrelevant to the problem.

Modern liberalism was decades old but failed to solve any real problem while the west was industrializing. If raising tax alone will solve any problem, then there should have been no problem in the west since. That didn't happen.

Do you know the implication of Universal healthcare? Did you serve NS before? If you did you would have known how 100% free medical benefits can seriously deprive medical care to those in real needs of them, while most who could have gone without medicine hog the system. Just imagine when doctors (economically impaired they are) will not be constrained by the treatment cost and will always recommend the most expensive and over killing checkups. Since Singapore has not much talent in medical research (sadly) and we buy most of our patented drugs overseas that cost us a bomb, this raise cost, and creates a vicious cycle of tax increase. That doesn't just apply only to healthcare, it applies to transportation, food, education and accommodations. While we all want to be charitable, remember none of us can donate more than what comes in our paycheck.

Anonymous said...

Lucky, the rich may flee SG due to higher taxes. The poor/middle class may also flee SG due high cost of living if govt dun wan do anything. i hope you can provide more insights on unlevel playing field in SG and hope the govt reads ya blog, i'm sure they do.

I feel there are many things Govt can do to tax the rich more but they are just too bo chap to do.

The govt always ask for feedback from poor/middle class becos they have never experienced it themselves.

COE : Rich can own 3,4 cars. Why should they compete with us for COE driving it up? Why can't LTA have a separate CAT or make the household pay double COE for 3rd car onwards? They have finally done it for prop but i feel still not enough.

ERP : Why should <1.6L car pay same ERP as >1.6L cars?

Anonymous said...

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