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Thread: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

  1. #21
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    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock View Post
    there are people getting handouts who somehow have enough money to own a mobile phone and spend lots of money on it
    there are people getting handouts who have large television sets
    I'm sure there are some really poor people out there who need help, there are also alot of poor people out there who are poor because they seem to think the necessities to live include mobile phones.
    Alot of responsibilities related to social work has been handed down to charities and NGOs to deal with, and then the government uses the reasoning of "social safety nets" to raise a tax?

    and I don't think that people are bitching and wailing too much. if you look at other countries, a slight raise of tax will bring out howls for blood. I think howls for blood and explanation are good, to hold our government accountable to the people. Well let's wail more effectively
    If you look at the numbers (and they are hard to find!), you will see that the rate of philantropic giving in SG, be it private citizens or corporations, is DISMAL compared to places in Europe or the US. This is endemic in most Asian countries. It appears that the government is not the only ones guilty of a meritocratic slant, the citizenry also appear to be of the opinion that if you ain't earned it, you ain't deserve it.

    By all means, do the homework, then wail. Senseless wailing only draws the elite out of the woodwork to bash the 'uninformed masses', to which I proudly belong (masses, that is).

  2. #22

    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    Quote Originally Posted by dkw View Post
    4 million inhabitants, or $10 dollars a person/yr. That's less than $1 a month.....
    err u sure we got so many ppl in Singapore meh?
    And how big is Malaysia? Indonesia? or US? do they spend as much to run their gov't per minister or per inhabitants or per km or per miles (whichever ways u want to calculated) , compared to us?

  3. #23
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    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    Quote Originally Posted by Nisa View Post
    err u sure we got so many ppl in Singapore meh?
    And how big is Malaysia? Indonesia? or US? do they spend as much to run their gov't per minister or per inhabitants or per km or per miles (whichever ways u want to calculated) , compared to us?
    Yes, the SG number is right.

    For the rest, its only a few cents per inhabitant per month. Very cheeep......

  4. #24

    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    Quote Originally Posted by dkw View Post
    Yes, the SG number is right.

    For the rest, its only a few cents per inhabitant per month. Very cheeep......
    Then why do we have to pay so much? And since now it's enough to pay so much, why do we still need to pay more?

  5. #25
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    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    we cant compare to other countries who have higher GST or taxes. i mean if youre talking about countries like NZ , can we deny that the ppl there have better benefits than us here? they have unemployment benefits and care for the aged. here ah? you dont work means your electricity and water supplies get cut off and you die, literally. other countries who have higher tax charges often justified it, by releasing at least partially whatever monies they gotten from their citizens.

    dont worry about 4 years later. just before the election *** would entice most singaporeans by promising the bright future ahead with them, and dangling a few carrots in front while jabbing us behind. can blame us for 'whining' ? the rich basically gets richer, becos of their vast capital, they can afford economies of scale as they buy in bulk. the poor ones? im talking about those families who cant even afford to buy normal groceries (rice even) and GST would be charged on necessities too right?
    爱是要时间慢慢培养的。。

  6. #26

    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    Quote Originally Posted by dkw View Post
    If you look at the numbers (and they are hard to find!), you will see that the rate of philantropic giving in SG, be it private citizens or corporations, is DISMAL compared to places in Europe or the US. This is endemic in most Asian countries. It appears that the government is not the only ones guilty of a meritocratic slant, the citizenry also appear to be of the opinion that if you ain't earned it, you ain't deserve it.

    By all means, do the homework, then wail. Senseless wailing only draws the elite out of the woodwork to bash the 'uninformed masses', to which I proudly belong (masses, that is).
    dkw, the thing is, I understand the need to raise a tax (money needs to come from somewhere)
    I just think that the reasoning stinks of hypocrisy, considering that our country seems to be run by economists
    and that everything is calculated in dollars and cents (ideals even)
    and people are much more stressed out than they used to be
    and everything is about being realistic and about getting results
    Take a look back at our history and look at the philantropists such as tan kah kee and lee kong chian
    You want to talk about a social compact? How about back when people felt like they had a role to play in contributing to the future of our country
    You can raise taxes and concentrate on getting a nice fat reserve every year but then I feel like people are becoming colder and more selfish at the same time in the race to become more competitive. is it worth it?
    chicken and egg situation: are asians just unwilling to help others or is it the government that has imbued this attitude in us?
    I'm leaning towards the latter, considering that there have been great philantropists in Singapore 30+ years ago.
    If you want to talk about maintaining a social compact, maybe the solution is to try to develop a more cohesive sense of community among Singaporeans instead of encouraging a culture where we feel like we need to earn more money so we can spend it on more useless things in the latest shopping mall (god knows we have too many)

    I wonder if we are really that poor or whether we are just way too used to an overly extravagent standard of living.

  7. #27

    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    With an increase in GST, do not assume that everything will stay the same. Business will cite GST increase as reasoning for price increases. So end of the day, lower income family paid 5 percent of 20 dollars now has to pay 7 percent of 22 dollars. It is a chain reaction, with the GST increase, everything is going to increase. Not whining but the lower income are going to find it hard to breath. In case one is wondering about the safety measures for the lower income, well you only qualify if you meet the government's citeria. Some of which are geared against discouraging lower income and educated from having children.

    End of the say it is accountablity on how our taxes are spent..........

  8. #28

    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    You cannot choose how to spend your own money, they decide for you.
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  9. #29
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    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    Quote Originally Posted by Nisa View Post
    Then why do we have to pay so much? And since now it's enough to pay so much, why do we still need to pay more?
    We digress, the discussion is about GST, not ministers' pay. In the present scenario, the 2 has not been linked.

    In any case, if the total cost quantum is so low, what is the impact on the individual person? You should ask the question, is it really fair that Tony Blair only gets paid less than what a UK hospital Senior Medical Consultant earns? To run an country? Hauled over hot coals? Have his private life scrutinised?

  10. #30

    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    1. I would trade our Ministers any time for people who are more passionate, people who don't need the money, but who want to serve the country.

    To be CEO needs different skill set from being a politician. One is about making $$ for the company, the other is about governing.

    Do you really think that, on the basis of ability (not connections), our ministers could become CEO's and earn three times as much?

    In addition,

    2. I would trade our Constitution for one that is fairer to the people.

    3. I would trade our laws and judicial procedures for ones that are more just and more respectful of human rights.

    4. I would trade our political system for one that is more fair to the challengers.

    5. I would trade our media for one that has freedom of the press.

    Imagine! The government intends to raise GST by 40% and no one makes a whimper! No op-eds condemning the raise, no calls for the raise to be fully justified, no calls to examine alternatives other than GST increases. And the newspapers basically regurgitate word for word what was said by the PM, with no mind of their own!

    Do you know how much of a laughing stock this whole charade is?

    According to the PM, this raise is to fund programs for the needy. Yet, he doesn't want S'pore to be a welfare state. Well, welfare by definition is giving money to help the needy. So if we are raising GST to fund programs for the needy, how does that not make us a welfare state?

    Another reason given by Govt is that we need to cut corporate taxes to keep up with Hong Kong, so he raises GST. Well, I guess he figures that S'poreans are easier to bully than foreign investors, who can go elsewhere.

    So now our GST rate is at the mercy of Hong Kong. If tomorrow Hong Kong cuts their corporate tax rates further, then our GST will go up again.

    Did anyone question-- how sensitive are foreign investors to tax rates? While it is a cost of doing business, in my mind it is not the highest one. Investors look at the whole package-- from political stability to forex controls to land prices/rentals to wages. Can he prove that the reduction in tax rates will translate to more foreign investors and more jobs for Singaporeans?

    Any free press would raise such questions, because these are the types of questions a democratically elected govt has to answer. Yet we hear nothing from our press.

    Quote Originally Posted by dkw View Post
    Actually, a fair number of people ARE talking about the extra $40.

    Sorry, I disagree. Whether we overpay our ministers or not is a matter of opinion. Despite their extraordinarily high incomes, as compared to other countries, the truth of it is that the total quantum is very small. Say we are talking about 20 ministers/MOS/ofiice holders, earning an average $2 million a year. What is the grand total? $40 million a year? For a team to run a country? I think its a bargain. Some companies have CEOs that earn 3 times that. They hardly need to raise GST to support $40 million.

    As for losses, I'm sure they have made some major mis-steps, but I believe their overall track record has been good, otherwise how did we accumulate FOREX reserves that puts us in the top 6 or 7 in the world, and one of the highest when taken per capita?

    No, I'm not being naive, politics is politics, and politicians are politicians. But as politicians go, would you trade ours for any other in the world? The US? Asean neighbours? China? France? PM Lee has said so himself, politics is about power and control, but insofar as it relates to setting policy and direction.
    It's well-known that in any country, the civil service is the real force running it. Govts come and go, but civil servants remain for a long time.

    Even in Singapore, although *** has been in power for a long time, most policies originate from civil servants, ministers make their decisions after reading papers by perm secs and other top civil servants. While it is true that they do impose their own views on what direction the ministries should take, do you think that they can do it all by themselves? That they can run the country without all the perm secs and all the civil servants supporting them?

  11. #31
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    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock View Post
    dkw, the thing is, I understand the need to raise a tax (money needs to come from somewhere)
    I just think that the reasoning stinks of hypocrisy, considering that our country seems to be run by economists
    and that everything is calculated in dollars and cents (ideals even)
    and people are much more stressed out than they used to be
    and everything is about being realistic and about getting results
    Take a look back at our history and look at the philantropists such as tan kah kee and lee kong chian
    You want to talk about a social compact? How about back when people felt like they had a role to play in contributing to the future of our country
    You can raise taxes and concentrate on getting a nice fat reserve every year but then I feel like people are becoming colder and more selfish at the same time in the race to become more competitive. is it worth it?
    chicken and egg situation: are asians just unwilling to help others or is it the government that has imbued this attitude in us?
    I'm leaning towards the latter, considering that there have been great philantropists in Singapore 30+ years ago.
    If you want to talk about maintaining a social compact, maybe the solution is to try to develop a more cohesive sense of community among Singaporeans instead of encouraging a culture where we feel like we need to earn more money so we can spend it on more useless things in the latest shopping mall (god knows we have too many)

    I wonder if we are really that poor or whether we are just way too used to an overly extravagent standard of living.
    I would agree with you that we may be developed economically, but as a people, we are far from being a first world nation. I also agree that our politicians are far too clinical. We lack a 'soul' maybe? Social 'glue'? We are a young nation, maybe there is hope yet.

  12. #32

    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    Did it occur to you that no one has scrutinised our Ministers' lives? Cherie Blair (in her night gown) got her pictures taken by the paparazzi when she went to answer the door. Did anyone try to do that kind of thing in Singapore? When Mrs Goh made her "peanuts" remark, what was the worst thing happened to her?

    I haven't met a newsman who dared to scrutinise any Ministers' lives.

    If that is true, can we reduce Ministers' pay for the premium that is paid for them to withstand "scrutiny"?


    Quote Originally Posted by dkw View Post
    We digress, the discussion is about GST, not ministers' pay. In the present scenario, the 2 has not been linked.

    In any case, if the total cost quantum is so low, what is the impact on the individual person? You should ask the question, is it really fair that Tony Blair only gets paid less than what a UK hospital Senior Medical Consultant earns? To run an country? Hauled over hot coals? Have his private life scrutinised?
    Last edited by waileong; 14th November 2006 at 05:13 PM.

  13. #33
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    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    *raises hand*

    A query, what's the biggie abt Blair's wife answering the door in her night gown?

    She's not a human being as the PM's wife?
    She doesn't need to eat, drink, sleep, shit, piss, screw and have to report her every move to the public?
    "Wonders of the Human Mind. Unfathomable to the highest degree."

  14. #34
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    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    1. I would trade our Ministers any time for people who are more passionate, people who don't need the money, but who want to serve the country. ?
    Agreed, but a rare breed, and not enough of them to go around.


    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    In addition,

    2. I would trade our Constitution for one that is fairer to the people.

    3. I would trade our laws and judicial procedures for ones that are more just and more respectful of human rights.

    4. I would trade our political system for one that is more fair to the challengers.

    5. I would trade our media for one that has freedom of the press.
    In principle, agree with every single point.

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    Imagine! The government intends to raise GST by 40% and no one makes a whimper! No op-eds condemning the raise, no calls for the raise to be fully justified, no calls to examine alternatives other than GST increases. And the newspapers basically regurgitate word for word what was said by the PM, with no mind of their own!

    Do you know how much of a laughing stock this whole charade is?
    I see more than a whimper here.



    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    Another reason given by Govt is that we need to cut corporate taxes to keep up with Hong Kong, so he raises GST. Well, I guess he figures that S'poreans are easier to bully than foreign investors, who can go elsewhere.

    So now our GST rate is at the mercy of Hong Kong. If tomorrow Hong Kong cuts their corporate tax rates further, then our GST will go up again.
    Welcome to globalisation. Nowadays, 2 countries competing are almost like 2 companies. If your price is higher than the other, your customers just walk. Don't think so? You remember PSA and Maersk?

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    Did anyone question-- how sensitive are foreign investors to tax rates? While it is a cost of doing business, in my mind it is not the highest one. Investors look at the whole package-- from political stability to forex controls to land prices/rentals to wages. Can he prove that the reduction in tax rates will translate to more foreign investors and more jobs for Singaporeans?
    The total cost of business plays a BIG part. Surely a higher tax rate could not make us MORE competitive, could it?

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post

    Any free press would raise such questions, because these are the types of questions a democratically elected govt has to answer. Yet we hear nothing from our press.
    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    It's well-known that in any country, the civil service is the real force running it. Govts come and go, but civil servants remain for a long time.

    Even in Singapore, although *** has been in power for a long time, most policies originate from civil servants, ministers make their decisions after reading papers by perm secs and other top civil servants. While it is true that they do impose their own views on what direction the ministries should take, do you think that they can do it all by themselves? That they can run the country without all the perm secs and all the civil servants supporting them?
    Not in Singapore, the civil servants do not pull the strings. It has been the subject of some research, ministers in SG are more akin to senior civil servants in other goovernments.
    Last edited by dkw; 14th November 2006 at 05:21 PM.

  15. #35

    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    It made her look very bad (as in unattractive). Not the kind of pix you want to see on the front page.

    And dkw contends that Tony Blair is not paid enough to suffer this kind of publicity.

    Since our Ministers are not scrutinised in this manner, logic would say that we don't need to pay our Ministers such a premium.


    Quote Originally Posted by jsbn View Post
    *raises hand*

    A query, what's the biggie abt Blair's wife answering the door in her night gown?

    She's not a human being as the PM's wife?
    She doesn't need to eat, drink, sleep, shit, piss, screw and have to report her every move to the public?

  16. #36
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    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    Did it occur to you that no one has scrutinised our Ministers' lives? Cherie Blair (in her night gown) got her pictures taken by the paparazzi when she went to answer the door. Did anyone try to do that kind of thing in Singapore? When Mrs Goh made her "peanuts" remark, what was the worst thing happened to her?

    I haven't met a newsman who dared to scrutinise any Ministers' lives.

    If that is true, can we reduce Ministers' pay for the premium that is paid for them to withstand "scrutiny"?
    Looks like your beef is with the ministers' pay, isn't it. As I said, a matter of opinion and not directly relevant to this present discussion. Can leave to another day, please? Happy to engage on that some other time.

  17. #37
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    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    It made her look very bad (as in unattractive). Not the kind of pix you want to see on the front page.

    And dkw contends that Tony Blair is not paid enough to suffer this kind of publicity.

    Since our Ministers are not scrutinised in this manner, logic would say that we don't need to pay our Ministers such a premium.
    No, that's not what I meant. I was asking if Tony Blair should be be paid less than one of his Senior NHS doctors. The part about scrutiny was only to emphasise the point.

  18. #38

    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    1. There's more than enough passionate people to go around. Just that not everyone wants to join P A P.

    2. In principle, our Constitution guarantees freedom of expression. So ask yourself, where is the freedom of expression? If tomorrow I took out an ad that says "PM Lee go fly kite with your GST increase", what do you think will happen? To me? And to the publication that took out my ad?

    Remember Mr Brown?

    People can take out anti-Bush ads in US. They can't take out anti-PM Lee ads here.

    3. I think you need to understand more about globalisation... It's not just a case of who has the lowest tax rates.

    4. Civil servants don't pull the strings but they certainly set everything up. Do you think that the Ministers thought of all the wonderful policies by themselves? Or do their underlings do all the research for them and present them with detailed papers outlining all the alternatives?
    Last edited by waileong; 14th November 2006 at 05:41 PM.

  19. #39

    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    Let me put the question the other way? Should the PM be paid more than the chairman of Goldman Sachs? Should he be paid more than Jack Welch?

    What is your yardstick?

    So he "runs" a country while Jack Welch "runs" a company. And by definition, a country is bigger than a company so the PM should be paid more.

    In that case, why don't we pay PM $50M per year? $100M?

    You said $10 from every inhabitant in Singapore is no big deal. Then what about $20? Still peanuts right? What about $50? $100? Where is the tipping point?

    How can the reasonableness of PM's pay be linked to the amount per inhabitant?

    C&B specialists have come up with ways to measure the worth of a job. For CEO's, it's typically linked to performance, to sales and profits. How do you establish what is the right amount to pay the PM?

    It's fine if you want to discuss another day.

    Quote Originally Posted by dkw View Post
    No, that's not what I meant. I was asking if Tony Blair should be be paid less than one of his Senior NHS doctors. The part about scrutiny was only to emphasise the point.
    Last edited by waileong; 14th November 2006 at 05:40 PM.

  20. #40
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    Default Re: I Want Higher Taxes, Really!

    Hold on a second.

    The one abt trading constitution for 'human rights'. Who defines the rights of a human? U? Me? The govt? Uncle Sam? God?

    The so-called Human Rights thingy are currently defined by no other than Uncle Sam. So, the rights of a human are being defined by the govt of another nation now?

    *Back to topic*

    1. Had seen my fair share and unfortunately, truly passionate & dedicated people are really very rare.

    2. Freedom of expression? In absolute with self-fixed rules that one could bend it to their own advantage allowing the person to say whatever they wish (If that's the case, can I say "the admins of Clubsnap are a bunch of morons")? Or freedom of expression with the accompanied responsibility, proper respect backed with facts and logic?

    4. So, Civil Servants are basically kinda like the underlings & if possible, eliminated since they are technically redundant?

    Maybe could send a feedback abolishing Civil Service - along with SAF (no NSF!), along with all other security forces (haters of the 'draconian ISD' will love this), along with Teachers (Adam will be very sad) as well?
    "Wonders of the Human Mind. Unfathomable to the highest degree."

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