1/16/2006

gst: we need discrimination

is it right to tax those who are struggling to make ends meet? many singaporeans on the lower end of the income bracket did not pay taxes before, until the introduction of the gst. this is a sweeping tax formula that does not discriminate the people who are being taxed. it is super efficient as an instrument of collecting taxes for the govt and covers practically every consumable items. now all singaporeans are being taxed. this taxation through gst hits the poor more than anyone else. yes, it also means that the rich will also have to pay more in their purchases of big ticket items like housing and cars. to be socially more just, perhaps a little discrimination shall be introduced into the system to leave out the lower income group. they are now taxed quite heavily all because of gst. basic necessities like food and water, transportation, medical, housing and conservancy fees are all subject to gst. the amount of gst paid under just these few items will come to several hundred dollars. transportation at a monthly expenditure of $100 per head multiply by 2 adults and a child could easily come to $250 or $3000 per annum. gst payable is already $150. does the govt have any interest to alleviate the poor from being taxed so heavily? would they introduce some discriminatory rules into the gst to favour the lower income group? i think this is a first in the world for the poor of a country to shoulder such a huge tax burden relative to their income.

9 comments:

Speedwing said...

The argument behind the adoption of GST is that the more you spend, the more you will be taxed. This always assumes that the rich people who spend more will be taxed more and the poor people who have less to spend will be taxed less. I think what you want to see is the situation where the basic essentials for a normal life be GST-free. Public transport, the poor people's means of getting places, for instance be free of GST. The rich who drive their BMW, Merc, Lexus, MPVs etc should pay GST on petrol. GST for food, rents, utilities may also be means tested for exemption. How about that?

redbean said...

yes speed,

you are getting what i am driving at. the poor are already poor. they should not be taxed to be poorer, at least for the basic essentials in life.

the concept of gst to tax for consumption is reasonably sound. just a little modification. no rules can be so perfect that it can be applied across the board blindly.

it requires a little bit of thought and effort to make the rules more liveable. that's why a heart is very important. some got a misplaced heart. some don't even have one, i think. the robots.

the thought of means testing always put me off. it suggests that it is acceptable to put a person under a microscope to inspect him. why is it that people who think that this is ok will not allow themselves to be put under the microscope too? declaration of their assets and net worth to be transparent?

if one dares to suggest such a ruling, then one must be prepared to live by it. the hypocrisy of the system is that some are gods and no need to be judged but to judge others who are at their mercy.

Speedwing said...

Means testing to determine how poor you are could be a guage to see if you qualify for GST exempting. The rich who want to hide their assets need not apply, so they do not qualify. It is not a shameful thing to admit you are poor and needs this exemption. After all, when you are poor, and starving, pride is the furthest from your thoughts. When I see my children in need of the basic things for a good education, I am sure I would not be too proud to be put under a microscope to prove I am poor. One must not be ashame to be poor. Poverty is not a crime. As long as one is honest and the $1200 earned each month is through sweat and hard work, where is the shame. Only when a person cheats and acquire wealth through devious means using the ignorance of the poor, then I consider that shameful. However, there are millionaires who are going for their next few millions, stepping on others in the process with not lose them any sleep.

redbean said...

hi speed,

i am addressing this issue to those in authorities who are very quick to want to subject people to means testing but would not want to disclose their assets despite all the calls for transparency.

if they do not want people to open their books, how can they be so happy to open other people's books? remember the kidney patients? would the management/board of directors disclose their pay and other links to nkf that they are supposed to disclose?

Matilah_Singapura said...

All TAX IS THEFT - legalised tax.

To be fair and just, ALL taxes should be voluntary. There is a principle of republicanism which is oft forgot (how convenient for the govt to forget), it is: No taxation without consent. That means, before taxes are raised by the state, the govt has got to go to the people to ASK PERMISSION from the people.

Matilah_Singapura said...

All tax is theft - I meant "legalised THEFT"

redbean said...

no lah tax is not theft lah. it is protection money paid in a different way. you just have to give when demanded. theft is stolen. quite different literally.

Matilah_Singapura said...

My mistake.

Tax is extortion. "Protection" money. "Pay up, or else".

Mafia style ;-)

redbean said...

it's ok. you are typing so many things at one go. i know you know.