Thursday, February 26, 2015

We Wuz Robbed

Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam told the television audience: "We have got to be careful that we don't think we are Robin Hood, where you can simply take money from the rich and give it to someone else." He was probably referring to the higher personal income tax rates for top earners introduced in Budget 2015. To put things in perspective, the effective increase in tax rate amounts only to pinpricks of 0.2 percent for those with $250,000 annual income, and 1.6 percent for those with $1.5 million pay packets.

That would hardly qualify as daylight robbery. Now consider the 2.8 percent fare hike effective from April 5, which will hit anybody who can't afford a Certificate Of Entitlement (COE). It's more insidious when you realize this is part of the original 6.6 percent increase recommended by the government appointed Public Transport Council (PTC). The two public transport operators - SBS Transit and SMRT - stand to rip off an additional $48.5m in revenue from the hapless commuters with the fare increase. Money which will no doubt find its way into funding lavish investments like the Changi "jewel", projects designed to make life more enjoyable for the jet setters who can afford to fly around.

That can't be what Robin of Loxley had in mind. Over the course of 700 years, the fable was about the outlaw from Nottinghamshire who supposedly helped the poor by returning some of the ill-acquired wealth stashed away by the obscenely opulent. Monetary issues aside, Robin Hood also represents the notion of a brave rebel who lives on the outskirts of society, fighting injustice and oppression with his band of companions, constantly harassed by the politicised instruments of law enforcers.

If you were confused by the motives of Khaw Boon Wan's Zhu Ying Tai, you will be puzzled by Tharman's remake on Robin's cause of helping the poor.


  1. This dilemma is their own doing. In fact, I would brand Singapore's tax system as reverse Robin Hood - robbing the poor to give to the rich. For years, the top tax brackets have been steadily reduced so as to benefit the top income earners and attract foreign millionaires and billionaires. So much so that Singapore has been branded a tax haven. On the other hand, GST was introduced and gradually increased to tax the poor - those low-income earners who did not have to pay any taxes are now caught by the all pervasive GST. Even you milk power is taxed by GST. So much for Robbing Hood.

    Just a little increase at the top tax rate, and it is called Robin Hood. Just like ministers' pay been increased by 1000% after 1994. And cut by 30% after the last election - wow - huge cuts.

    1. A "Regressive" tax system disguised as "progressive". Why would the gezillionaires tax dodgers all just like the pigs who enjoyed perks disguised flltra low tax regimes? Sabah's Taib, OZland's Reinhart are just tip of the icebergs. One shud ask the question: in exchange for the legal right to dodge taxes and store their gold securely at the vaults at Changi, what price do they have to pay in exchange for the 2years our sons put in, the billions taxpayers fork out to buy unca sam's WMD planes and drones? Kojak would have you believe that life anareblood of the sheeple's sons is "commodity", not worth half of that of the "talent" the pappies try so hard to attract which "create jobs". Btw, the pro-rich (at the expense of the sheeple) economic model has always been at the core of the pappies' belief system, just that LKW and GKS never bothered to explain on national TV. Why do you think all the scholars have always ended up studying PPE in oxbridge?

  2. ROFL.
    Completely out of touch.
    Nobody will ever accuse a PAP government of being a Robin Hood.

  3. Kojak is right. They are not Robin Hood. More like the Sheriff of Nothinghum who tax the poor to pay the rich like themselves. We will find our Robin Hood at the polls. Don't think that for one moment the PAP has flipped on their anti-welfare dogma. What they give are just to sweeten the ground for the election. If they get that endorsement, there will be a 10% GST.

    Do you need a $26 billion investment in infrastructure when the simple solution is to reduce immigration and the population? Ask yourselves wtf do we want to turn Mandai forest reserve into a park, the crown Jewel at Changi, relocating the Bird Park, denuding the island by all the construction? A billion here and there, all with tax dollars. Monuments to glorify Ah Loong's administration?

  4. I am a Middle Incomer but I do not feel that the Budget benefits me. In fact, I am feeling the pinch with higher patrol price. WTF, he can never be Robin, a legendary robber who robbed the rich to give to the poor (non for himself). Here they robbed all commoners and leave the rich untouched instead. The recent so called "punishment" for the super rich (up 2% tax) is nothing but a slap on the wrist. At the end we still pay much more. As pointed up by many, the $500 skill upgrading scheme is another white elephant.

  5. In most first world countries, the more important objective of social security is to provide insurance against risks like unemployment, disability and sickness, and to redistribute income across the life course to periods of greater need (e.g. when there're children in household) or to periods of lower incomes (such as in retirement). Economists would typically call this the “piggy bank objective” which is exactly what Tharman or PAP is/has been doing, nothing new.

    Putting more money into your CPF account that you can't 100% touch even as you retire at 55 or 65. Giving SkillsFuture fund which again, absent some sort of productivity miracle, won't protect 40-55s yo knowledge workers who are systematically replaced by foreign professionals constantly ignored by MOM. With 2-3 million increase of foreign population vying for jobs with local PMETs or workers, why not study interim unemployment allowance to cushion people for the risk of loss of jobs instead? Recipients of Pioneer generation or healthcare or GST packages are income-tested, asset-tested and all kinds of mean testing. But are the rich asset tested too? Did we use our satellite GPS to scan the sky for houses with large swimming pool to subject them to more tax - like Greece in austerity is doing? Are their paintings and golds parked in the Changi Vaults subjected to high taxation too, as more airports and VIP lanes are named for their landing and take-offs? For Chua Mui Hong to tout this as Robin-hood is simply laughable. Let's just call a spate a spate, shall we?

    The next 5-10 years will see nothing but more class warfare. MP Chan Chun Sing is asking middle class peasants if we can find it in our hearts to accept rental flats(presumably the lowest class & poor lot) in our neighborhood. This coming from someone who was mocking at a "failed politician" who has more political battle scars to show than he possibly have! And in a land where 80% are living in public housing, whose tunes exactly is he singing for?

  6. So, if PAP Garmen and The Tar-Man do not believe in
    Robin Hood, it automatically means that they believed in

    This can be substantiated by the ways they have been
    going about sucking blood from the poor:

    GST, ERP and the Removal of Estate Duties are the three
    most glaring and significant examples of such measures of
    a Hood-Robin's methods of robbing the poor to enrich the
    rich and powerful, and those in positions of Power. Is it not so?

    That also means all their so-called "hand-outs" are mere
    pretentious gimmicks and enticements to buy voters' votes
    during an imminent General Election Year, is it not so?

    1. They use other people money to enrich themselves...they again use the same money to the same people they took the money from too...

      So who here thinks they are living from their own blood, sweat and tears...i sure don't...haiz

    2. "Dooh Nibor Economics"

      But driving down from Nottingham, here comes Dooh Nibor
      His motto is 'Protection' and his motto is 'Screw the poor'
      Dooh Nibor, Dooh Nibor, serve the rich, screw the poor
      Don't let the bastard grind you down

  7. Robin Hood budget?
    So are the pigs saying they will raid the reserves to "help" Singaporeans?
    Don't make me laugh.
    A traitor pig will never help a Singaporean.

  8. Just the extra little pittance from the rich and he had to reassure them. Yup, if the rich billionaires were to take flight, our ministers' pay which are pegged to their earnings will dip. Meanwhile get ready to tighten your belts after the papigs win the next election. What will it be? 10% ,12% for GST?


  9. Remember they once claimed they don't thrive on populist measures. But now look exactly at what they are doing now.

    Each time they try to deny someything, it is the exactly that something that is what actually happened. Ever since it has become such a predictable pattern that it almost looks like they simply are being not entirely honest with us over and over again, almost to the pattern of a recalcitrant liar isn't it ?

    Like that Aljunied Town Council which they alleged to almost a scandal but how can they forgot their own AIM scandal is actually a much bigger controversy. Just imagine how can they trick us into believing some of their MPs which have no IT qualifications can become directors of an company managing an IT contract for PAP Town Councils ?

    Is that not exactly similar to what they are accusing WP of ? So the next time they deny anything, take it with a pinch of salt. For all you know, they may be not entirely honest again and again ?

    1. A pinch of salt, you said? A cupful of salt would be more appropriate but that would be a health hazard! Come to think of it, whatever the ruling party do or think, ARE health hazards for most Singaporeans, no?

  10. Yah we were robbed!
    Firstly by the chenghu when they raised the petrol duty by a whopping 20ct per litre immediately. The old excise duty was 41cts.
    Secondly by the petrol companies who jacked up the pump prices also immediately by more then the tax increase.
    Do the petrol companies privy to the tax increase to allow them to up the pump prices as soon as the new tax was read out in the Parliement?
    Now we are treated to a spectacle of our consumer watch dog trading punches with petrol companies over the excessive pump price.
    Where was CASE when the petrol companies up the pump prices soon after oil price rise but dragged their feet to lower pump prices even when oil price plunged by more than 50%?

  11. Is CASE a PAP-linked non-government organization?
    What do Yew think?