Singapore Budget 2011: reactions
My immediate reactions to Budget Speech 2011:
When it was drawn up, I am certain one eye was on the impending General Election. Grab hold of anybody, and the consensus is that the purpose is to sweeten the ground. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this; all governments resort to this tactic to stay in power. For instance, the Middle East dictators, faced with revolt from their citizens, suddenly dish out concessions and cash.
2. Public Assistance
Those on public assistance get only $400, up from $300. For years, this government has been miserly towards the very poor in our midst, giving out small increments periodically. I wish the Minister had said, “Singapore is one of the most expensive places to live in the world. One of the recurring grouses is that the cost of living relentlessly goes up. Our vision of an inclusive society includes the very poor who lie on the periphery, and are often ignored. So I’m giving them $600 per month.”
3. Declining birth rate
This issue has been red-flagged for years. The government has responded with piece-meal solutions and a niggardly attitude. The help for families mentioned in the Budget will not be aggressive enough to arrest the declining birth rate. Bringing up kids in Singapore entails a king’s ransom the PM and his Cabinet should be aware of. To netizens the real reason why the government is dragging its feet over the issue is that it prefers to import foreigners to make up the shortfall as these people will be more loyal and grateful. I thought the notion was rather bizarre but there might be some truth in it after all.
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