Taxes must rise for social spending to increase: Ng Eng Hen
Yahoo News 31 Aug. 12
The money needed for increased social spending can only come from higher taxes, says Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, reiterating a point made recently by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Speaking on the sidelines of a forum on the prime minister’s National Day Rally speech on Thursday evening, Ng said Singapore’s ageing population necessitates higher social spending by the government.
He noted that by 2025, there will be roughly two to three working adults for every elderly person in Singapore. The Ministry for Community Development, Youth and Sports also estimates that by 2030, elderly people aged 65 and above will form almost one-quarter of Singapore's citizen population.
“Our society is ageing, we will have more aged people, and we want to take better care of the disadvantaged and disabled,” he told reporters. “Just by numbers alone, even if you spend the same amount, social spending has to increase.”
Responding to a question posed in the forum and addressing an audience of about 200, Ng said, “If you want more social spending, you have to find the money only from taxes.”
Lee had said in his speech on Sunday that taxes would have to be raised within the next two decades to fund higher social spending. He also explained that, though people have said the government could rely on reserves to finance the increase, it has already in a way been doing so through the use of returns from investing the reserves.
When asked by a forum participant about the possibility of using budget surpluses to fund the nation’s increments in social spending, Ng pointed out that the government does not have surpluses, noting that PM Lee had even mentioned in his rally that it took out S$8 billion from Singapore’s reserves in the last financial year.
“If our economy grows, if the size of the economy grows and revenues come in, then perhaps we don’t. But as you know, we have some limits of growth in terms of labour and our land, so our economy is projected to grow one to three per cent,” Ng added.
“But these are issues I think that are best dealt with when we need to, it’s just that we first have to determine the national conversation — how do we better take care of the disadvantaged groups... and then decide from there how much, what we need, what we can afford and how (we can) husband our resources to take better care of them. I think that’s a better conversation."
This guy is nut! I wonder how he became a Minister but again history has proven that you don’t really need one to be in the Cabinet.
Ok I agreed with him that we need money for “social spending” and raising taxes is just one way of generate the fund.
First we must look at who you are taxing to fund your social spending and the money needs to be really given to those who really need help. Are you taxing all Singaporean to buy a gold taps or fund a Singer career?
I have a few suggestions on how to increase fund for social spending.
First cut the Minister’s pays, after all they are public servant and already have all the benefit of transports, medical and pensions.
Tax should increase only for the top earners in the country and reduced for the rest. This is so because the rich must have social responsibilities to the society since they earn their wealth from the people.
Although our population are ageing but technology is improving, so why should taxes be increased for the next 20 years? In fact it should remain the same if not cut due to advancement of science.
Finally what is happening to our reserve and country investment? If GIC earns from its investment, which it claims, then these profits should be used to fund social spending and not just for the government to play with. These are money belong to Singaporean.
Eng Hen scenario above is like:
You give your father 20% of you salary as an allowance. But on top of this you need to pay rental and utilities. Your father wants to rent his flats to an expat and he reduces the size of your room but increase the rent yearly. Meanwhile he used the money he earn from your allowance and the rental fees to gamble in the casino and claims he won every time but now he is asking you to give him more allowance for the next 20years so he can take care of you when you stop working.