Average workers. Average workers pay for them.
If you didn’t catch DPM Tharman’s ripper of a speech on Saturday, you’re in luck. We’ve pulled out 10 quotes that best explains where all the money for “free” healthcare and education systems come from.
1. “There is no way of giving something to everyone… there’s no way of achieving it without raising taxes on the middle income group… You cannot do it by just taxing the top 1%.”
2. “The middle class pays very high taxes in order that everyone gets something. The example of France was mentioned. France is actually quite a good healthcare system… But it is an extremely expensive system, for the middle class, not just for the rich.”
3. Of opposition proposals – “Each time you look at these proposals, you find that they’re only talking about what the government gives with one hand, without talking about what the government takes with the other hand.”
4. “What are income taxes like in France? The average worker, I’m not talking about the rich, the average worker (pays) income tax, 15%… The French have a not that high income tax rate for the middle income, 15%. Singapore, close to 0% for the middle income group. GST, or what they call VAT, in France, 20%.”
5. “So if you imagine it in a Singapore context, our average/median worker… earns about $3,800. If you have the same french tax rate here, it means every month, he/she will be paying the government $850. Just on income tax and VAT, or GST. And this doesn’t count yet, the payment for what they call payroll taxes…They have a 21.5% payroll tax.”
6. “So when you think of free healthcare or close to free healthcare, when you think of the free social services that we all like the idea of, you must realise that it is not free. The average citizen is paying for it, and paying for it big time.”
7. “And they are also paying more because everyone including the rich and the upper middle income group are also benefiting. It is not a fair system.”
8. “(In Singapore) How much does the middle income group get in benefits, one form of subsidies or another, compared to the taxes paid? For every $1 paid in taxes by the middle income group, a family will get back $2 in subsidies.”
9. “How does it compare with these countries which appear to have very fair systems – free healthcare, free many things or close to free many things. Scandanavian countries, look at Finland. For every $1 paid in taxes by the middle income group, they get back $1.30… United Kingdom, for every $1 of taxes paid, they get $1.40 back.”
10. “How much do the poor get? If you look at the bottom 10% of Singaporeans, for every $1 of taxes they pay, which is mainly GST, they get back $6 in subsidies. These are facts. How about the rich in Singapore? Those in the top 10%, for every $1 they pay, they get back 20c. That’s what I call a fair system. Don’t overburden the middle income group, give them a fair deal. Give the benefits the poor deserves, particularly in education, in healthcare, in workfare and through the other training subsidies that we have.”
DPM is as cool as a cucumber, as smooth as silk. If you ever thought he was dull, his rally speech would prove Jurong.