Prudence - the freedom to spend and to save
“The ordinary people must be able to enjoy and afford these six items at a reasonable price and only then will there be a meaning to us striving to achieve developed nation status,” Lee Hsien Loong said in launching the National Consumer Day celebrations at Bukit Batok here yesterday. “Such a status is not only meant for those who have the means. A developed nation must be for all.” The Prime Minister in emphasising his assurances made these comments on the six item: FOOD and clothes: “There should be adequate supply of food and clothes which are reasonably priced.” Homes: “House prices cannot be too expensive as everyone should be given the opportunity to own affordable homes or rent them at affordable cost.” Cars: “Consumers should also be able to buy cars at reasonably low prices because it had become a necessity for most people today. “Otherwise, public transportation services should be of high quality and the cost should remain low.” Education: “It should be affordable so that it will not prevent the poor from improving their lot.” Medical treatment: “There must be cheap and quality drugs and not expired ones. The cost of treatment must also be affordable.” Communication services (including Internet connection): “Every Sinkaporean must be able to enjoy such modern services,” he said. However, the Prime Minister reminded the people that they have to be smart consumers and be prudent with their spending. He said, as consumers, they should look out for good bargains when sourcing these six essential items. “We, on our part, will constantly monitor the inflation situation, but consumers should know their role as consumers to help ensure it is under control,” he said. The above was quoted from Sammyboy. I only take issues with two points, prudent and affordable. How can people be prudent and spent only on the amount they want to spend when they are expected to spend according to their income level in medical care and buying HDB flats? The other issue is affordability. Affordable according to who or what standard? A person earning $5k or $10k will find many things affordable as compare to one who is earning $2k. And one who earns a million a year will find everything is affordable. Shall HDB do away with income ceiling and let the people choose whichever flat they are comfortable with and not be coerced, by their income, to purchase bigger flats? After all the subsidy is market subsidy and not a subsidy on the cost of building the flats. In reality the subsidy is to reduce the profit that HDB could have made. The people must have the freedom of choice to spend only the amount they want to spend.