A Fairer Distribution
The toughness of a person is tested through hardship, and his character is revealed in how he handles adversity. Yet, to progress, there must be opportunity. Such opportunities are sorely lacking for our Gen X-ers, the sandwiched Gen Y and our increasingly disillusioned millennials. What outrages them is having to fight a system of entrenched inner-circle elites, while being starved of the chance to build a strong foundation that they can even arm themselves with.
Meanwhile, many Singaporean families are struggling with rising cost of living, while a record number of local PMETs are being retrenched as each year passes. The supposed social safety nets, or “trampolines” as the government likes to call them, might help those who have fallen on hard times stay afloat, but they are hardly enough to help them bounce back.
While direct taxes are low such as personal income tax are low, indirect taxes are very high. Some examples of these indirect taxes include GST, taxes levied on utilities, e-commerce tax, COE, ERP, stamp duty, petrol and diesel taxes and so on. Taken as a whole, Singaporeans in the working class and middle-class are sinking under the burden of all these taxes.
The total fiscal reserves available to the government every year is more than sufficient for current spending. As such, there is no need to perpetually raise taxes and hurt the wallets of Singaporean families. This is a narrative that has long been held back by the government. I have raised this issue several times in parliament, providing facts and figures to support my stance.
Rather, the tax system can be adjusted to achieve more desirable social outcomes. What I would like to see is a revamp of the tax system so that more of our fiscal resources are devoted to lowering social inequality, replacing the current “goody bag” voucher handouts culture with a proper roadmap to build financial resilience for Singaporean families, and grooming young Singaporeans into world-class talents by giving them more exposure and opportunities.
This can be achieved. Here are some of my articles written as a parliamentarian and speeches I have made regarding how our fiscal resources can be better deployed.