Photo of Lee Hsien Loong at PAP Convention from CNA

States Times Review would like to help the Ministry of Finance to raise awareness for the coming Budget which will be delivered on Feb 19. Like other social media “influencers”, STR has a 42K followers with average article likes and comments at 350 – surpassing Mothership, Independent, and other government fake news websites. It is hence our duty to help spread awareness about the Budget, and reach out to Singaporeans to understand the real issues.

Like all government-led proposals, it is prudent to exercise caution and question the actual intent behind the actual, and often unspoken, message. For a start, the Budget 2018 has been built on imaginary boundaries spun by fake news like Straits Times and business lobbyists who only have tax cuts in their mind:

1) Lie 1: “Public expenditures is increasing”
Sure they are of course, but the first question to ask is show us the accounting books. Only the silly will take Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s words as the noble truth. By far, there has been no figures to prove that government expenditures are not being adequately funded by existing tax revenues and investment returns from the national reserves. There is no accounting book, no balance sheet, and absolutely nothing to justify that more tax revenues is required. For a start, we don’t even know how much investment returns or even how much national reserves are there with Temasek Holdings and GIC in the first place. The government is showing only one column of the Profit and Loss statement, how much is the deficit/profit, nobody knows.

2) Lie 2: “Tax must increase”
Everyone has been taken for a ride here because taxes have already increase. For readers who do not follow States Times Review, read here, here, here, here, here and here for a few of the increases already implemented in 2017. Budget 2018 actually intends to increase more taxes, more notably the existing 7% GST, new Carbon Tax, new Sugar Tax (remember Lee Hsien Loong talked about diabetes?), new online purchase tax and possibly a few other new taxes in their sleeves.

A recent forum where 40 energy companies voiced out in protest questioning Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli is the perfect example: when questioned what are the emission reduction benchmarks for the Carbon Tax, the Minister literally said he doesn’t know. The same question can be applied for the Sugar Tax. In short, the government just want to collect more money and doesn’t even bother with the reason.

3) Lie 3:”Ageing population, help the poor”

Singaporeans have been cornered into believing that “tax must increase” no thanks to the good old lies of “ageing population” and “help the poor”. Ageing population is a lie because Singaporeans’ retirement rely solely based on the CPF system, which is contributed from one’s monthly salary. The government does not give out pension and CPF is not their money. Medishield Life insurance is paid for with CPF Medisave premiums, again, Medisave is also not the government’s money, so what “increased spending” are they talking about? The above of course only starts to make sense when you realise that CPF is not your money, and this is also why they can increase Minimum Sum to S$181,000 and depress interest rates at 2.5%, or do whatever they like with CPF money.

“Help the poor help the poor”, what a good old lie. Case in point one just need to look at the GINI coefficient of Singapore to know that the poor has never been helped despite years of tax increase. Need more evidence? Take a stroll outside and see the number of elderly poor collecting cardboard or working as cleaners in coffeeshops. Still unconvinced? Even government statistics shown that poverty jumped 43.45% in past 3 years. How have the poor being helped all these years? Tax increase eh.

P.S. STR did not receive S$1,000 from the Ministry of Finance for this post to promote awareness for the Budget.