Perspectives of a Middle-Class voter
I have been watching the rallies online for the past few days, feeling the responsibility to be an informed voter. I wanted to know what each party stands for, what they fight for, and what they dream for Singapore.
DPM Tharman’s speech at Bukit Panjang SMC was a refreshing one, after hearing about how my middle-class life currently sucks or will continue to deteriorate from many rallies. I was frankly quite sick and tired of all the name-calling and using of analogies to well with the lack of a more accurate word, “bitch” about each other. No more crows, no more doggies and no more roosters please thank you.
I am a middle-class voter from a middle class family. While there were many speeches about how the middle-class is so poor thing, there weren’t many on what can be done for the middle class.
In fact, many of the proposals made me afraid. I wonder who will pay for the $300 to every Singaporean, or the providence of more healthcare benefits and many other proposals that sound so good on paper. Who pays for all these splendid plans? The government…. Or really, the people? Because the money from the government comes from the people…. So are we giving to ourselves what we first give to the government? If we want more, does it mean we have to pay more?
They all sound splendid, and paint a glorious future where everyone gets something good. But the money ultimately comes from taxes – income taxes and GST. The rich definitely can afford paying more, but what about the middle-income folks?
According to DPM Tharman, I think I will be considered an average worker. I cannot imagine paying $850 a month (omg) out of my $3000+ salary. The “free healthcare” and “free social services” are paid by…. Me. I pay more to support the poor, myself and the rich. How fair is this really?
Going by what he says, a middle class person can get $2 back in benefits for every $1 taxes I pay (compared to $1.30 in the Finnish system or $1.40 in the American system). This sounds quite good! But for the poor, for every $1 paid in GST, they get back $6. The rich gets $0.20 for $1 paid. WOAH. If you put it like that, I rather we go for this system which actually benefits poor/middle age than such “egalitarian” systems that sounds so gorgeous on paper but burden the middle income the most.
What I also liked about his speech was his promise for a more productivity-driven system where the focus is placed on improving our skills so that we can be even more employable, no matter how old we get to. Will I want to get the opportunity to move out of the middle class (or my HDB flat)? Maybe. Maybe not.
What I do know, is that I don’t want to have to increase my tax burden.