Where else do you think public goods and services come from? The roads, the rails and the reservoirs cost billions to build. The public services and the people that provide the muscle, someone needs to be paid.
What about the MediSave top-ups? The CPF top-ups? The GST rebates, the utility offsets and the CommCare funds? And all those SPRING initiatives? All these are multi-billion dollar programs and money needs to come from somewhere.
Sure, Tharman did say that there will be no GST increases “in the imminent future”. But this is not the imminent future. It has been two years since he made that statement and in the bigger picture, GST and income tax has not been increased for over a decade.
it is not possible for taxes never to increase, not unless you want to go from mega city to mega slum.
Ok, with that out of the way, we look at the next argument: GST should not be charged on “necessities”. What are necessities? Food items, medicine, education, disability and public transport.
And why not?
Rich people can consume more (and better versions) of these things than an ordinary person can. So why should GST be erased for them?
Moreover there is the famous “GST Rebates”, for the very reason that these monies are returned to the people whom are at the bottom rung of the social ladder.
It’s like shopping first and then getting the tax rebates at the airport.
Finally, I know people like to ask Ministers to reduce their salaries. Please; collectively their salaries do not amount to much. It can’t even pay for one MRT station.
So increase the taxes please, it is long over due in my opinion. We’re not spending enough on social needs. Eldercare facilities can do so much more with more money. We can have more hospitals and more beds, more and better staff.
The people who give our children education and care can be paid better, be rewarded better.
We can stop depending on volunteers, volunteer organisations and charity for much needed help in looking after the many, many segments of society that require professional services and professional help.
Oh yes, of course there is the SMRT. The only reason why Hong Kong, Taipei and Japan can function so much better is because they are pouring bucketloads of money into the system (some at the expense of some segments of society). Facilities and engineers do not grow from the ground.
All these things need money. Public money comes from taxes.
And these monies do not appear in government coffers magically.