1970 A fresh graduate started at $1,000. Cpf 6%. Take home pay $940. Mother got $200. $400 went to car and maintenance. Left with $340. Still a lot of money then to swing around. 2006 Fresh graduate gets $2000/$2800. CPF 20%. Take home pay $1,600/$2,240. Mother gets $400. Balance $1,200/$1,840. Owning a car will be down $1,200 average a month. ($500 for instalment, Insurance and road tax $120, petrol $400, parking and ERP $180). For those earning $2,000, forget about owning a car. For those earning $2,800, $640 left. $640 today is nothing compare to $340 in 1970. Are we better off? Oh imported inflation? ARF and road tax are not imported inflation. So is insurance which is pegged to the high price of a car due to taxes. ERP and parking are not imported inflation. Even petrol is not all imported inflation if the tax element is lower. Singaporeans should not think that by increasing their wages, they are better off. The wage increase is only meaningful to people who are earning $100K or $1 mil annually. To these people, 10% increment means $10K or $100K increment. To those earning $30K annually, it is only $3K, barely enough to cover the rising cost of living. It is a case of piling at the top of the heap and pinching at the bottom. And the conventional wisdom today is that this is a good thing, a natural thing caused by globalisation.