You have probably heard that the money you paid into Medisave and MediShield, the government only spends less than 2% of this back for Singaporeans.
Or someone online may have told you: if the government had returned invested savings from CPF back to you, you would be able to have nearly $3 million in savings when you retire?
So, since Singaporeans are already paying so much money, why are we not getting our money back? And if Singaporeans are also paying tax, does it mean that Singaporeans are double-paying for public goods, yet we are not getting our fair share of what we should back, and the government is still earning from us at the same time?
If there is so much money for the Ministry of Health, why am I still paying so much for healthcare?
Singaporeans are paying 60% of their total medical expenses – here’s why:
Free medical services leads to over-consumption. It stems from the belief that your tax dollars should not be used to pay for someone else’s sickness (especially when this person is not taking care of his/her own health). High taxes should not be used to feed social welfare.
But this is just my opinion – I don’t believe in high taxes. I believe in “self-taxation”, that means I set aside my money to look after my own health, rather than to pay high taxes to fund a healthcare system (which is prone to inefficient use) for the rest of Singapore.
When more of Singaporeans believe in a high-tax, high-welfare system… this might change.
However, for those truly in need, social medical workers assist the needy to acquire aid and assistance. This could come through the CDC or through MediFund (a public health fund specifically to assist the unfortunate).
There are also other subsidy programs by the Ministry of Health, have a look here: https://www.moh.gov.sg/content/moh_web/home/costs_and_financing/schemes_subsidies.html
Why can’t more tax dollars be moved to welfare?
It is – If you think about it, all taxes we pay had gone into some form of welfare. Everyone, either the very poor or the very rich, would have benefitted.
Taxes are being used for “public goods”. A public good is something everyone in a country enjoys, whether or not you pay for it. Tax money is channeled to many public services which we take for granted, such as National Defence, Social order (i.e the Police and Justice System), Weather services, International Relations, Environment, Free Recreations (like Parks and Reservoirs) and many, many more.
Specifically on money for the needy, for charity and for social assistance, here is an idea of the scale:
Social transfer (GST credits etc) amount to ~$21b, The Ministry of Health receives ~$7b, The MCCY receives ~$1.9b.
The very poor have access to the CDC – which regulates monetary handouts for them.
So much money is being “wasted” on defence, why can’t this money be moved into more welfare?
Defence receives $12b to spend. Do you think they should be spending less? Defence is a public good and benefits such as freedom, sovereignty and independence are very difficult to value. In fact, they are invaluable. To add to the difficulty of valuation, geo-political defence issues are matters of cunning, subject to crafty politicising and shrouded in secrecy. If we have the ability, isn’t it better to be be well protected than under?
Why isn’t our money invested by GIC and Temasek being returned to citizens?
But it is!
A Constitution amendment in 2008 gave power to the Government to draw up to 50% of GIC’s “Net Investment Returns” (or their profit in layman’s words). This resulted in GIC contributions of about $8b each year to be spent in our national budget.
There have been years where, without GIC contributions, our National Budget would have gone into deficit.
Being a very prudent Government, much of the profit goes back into reserves to be locked up, just in case. Is it too risk averse? That’s up to individual interpretation – but I personally think it is better to be risk averse when it comes to matters of the nation, than to be too lose with spending.
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