Inequality caused by tax, labour, economic, social policies?


Lack of social mixing is a symptom of inequality, not the cause – the root causes are government policies? 

I refer to the article “Lack of social mixing is a symptom of inequality, not a cause” (Straits Times, Jun 7).

It states that “It is implied that a key solution to inequality lies in greater mixing.

This is misleading. The lack of mixing is one way that inequality manifests in our society, but it is an effect, not a cause, of class division.

Instead, attention should be on the problem of different outcomes – in wages, in meeting needs, in well-being – that follow from separate and hierarchised educational pathways.”

With regard to “in wages, in meeting needs, in well-being” – let’s try to examine the root causes of inequality in Singapore.

… procreation policies that give more money to richer parents than poorer parents

… liberal foreign student policies that have resulted in about a third of the total enrolment in the public universities being non-citizens

… liberal foreign labour policies that increase the unemployment, under-employment and depress the wages of Singaporeans – about 47 per cent of the workforce are non-Singaporeans (not including new citizens)

… regressive tax policies like the GST

… public housing policies that have resulted in one of the most expensive public housing in the world (ratio of price to income) which decline in value to zero after the typical 99-year lease and wipes out the CPF plus interest used for HDB flats

… healthcare policies that from a cashflow perspective – do not spend any money on healthcare

… pension policies that from a cashflow perspective – do not spend any money on CPF and an undisclosed part of the returns derived from our CPF funds are kept by giving the lowest real rate of return (ordinary account’s 2.5 per cent) among all national pension funds in the world since 1999

… social welfare spending that is the lowest among all developed countries, at less than one per cent of GDP

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.