Refuting the ‘refute’ of the ‘149th’ Inequality Index?

I refer to the article “S’pore refutes criticism over tackling inequality” (Straits Times, Oct 10).

It states that “Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee pointed out that while Singapore’s spending on healthcare and education may not be as much as other nations, the outcomes it achieves in these areas are significant, and better than most.

Citing global rankings, Mr Lee noted that Singapore is second in the world for healthcare outcomes and sixth for its healthcare system.”

As to “As for housing, 90 per cent of Singaporeans own their homes, and even in the bottom 10 per cent of households, 84 per cent own their homes. “No other country comes close” – Singapore has the most expensive public housing (ratio of price to income) in the world, and most Singaporeans may be using the bulk (55% as last reported in Parliament) of their CPF to pay for HDB flats, which may start to decline in value when they reach around 40 years old, and become zero by the end of the typical 99-year lease – which may also wipe out the CPF used to pay for the HDB flat.

With regard to “Singapore is second in the world for healthcare outcomes” – our private share of total healthcare expenditure at around a third, is the highest among the developed countries – which may mean that the financial burden of healthcare may be on the citizens, relative to the state.

In respect of “The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index, compiled by non-profit organisations Oxfam and Development Finance International, ranked Singapore 149th out of 157 countries – below Ethiopia and Afghanistan, and above Bhutan and Haiti.

The index measured each country’s commitment to reducing inequality by looking at its social spending, tax policies and labour rights.

The report said Singapore’s tax system was the worst in the world at tackling inequality because it “undertaxes wealthy individuals and corporations”. The personal income tax rate for top earners here is 22 per cent, while corporate tax is 17 per cent, both of which are too low, the report argued.

Mr Lee responded: “Yes, the income tax burden on Singaporeans is low. And almost half the population do not pay any income tax” – the CPF contribution of up to 37% of income may be akin to an ‘implicit tax’, as the Government has unfettered use of the funds and keeps a significant portion of the returns derived from investing our CPF.

As to “”Yet, they benefit more than proportionately from the high quality of infrastructure and social support that the state provides”” – our social welfare spending as a percentage of GDP is the lowest, among all the developed countries.

With regard to “He argued that while the report assumes high taxation and high public expenditure reflect commitment to combating inequality, it is more important to look at the outcomes achieved.

“We set out to achieve real outcomes for our people – good health, education, jobs and housing – rather than satisfy a collection of ideologically driven indicators.”

While Singapore does not have a minimum wage – another point of criticism – Mr Lee said it does have income support for low-income workers, generous schemes for worker training and a progressive wage model for certain low-wage jobs.

Both lower-income and median households here have experienced faster income growth over the last decade than those in most countries, he added” – our 10th percentile income is the lowest among all the developed countries, and the income growth in the last decade is based on ‘including employer CPF contribution’, which arguably is not actual disposable income which the people can use for their living expenses.

In respect of “”That we achieved all of this with lower taxes and lower spending than most countries is to Singapore’s credit rather than discredit”” – our reported Budget surpluses and cash Budget surpluses in the last decade or so, is about $30 and $190 billion, respectively.

 

Leong Sze Hian

 

 

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26 Responses to “Refuting the ‘refute’ of the ‘149th’ Inequality Index?”

  • TUCK WAN:

    Again I repeat. The Minister is just another Bucket of SHITS. when you see Clark Kent you don’t see Superman.

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  • NotMyProblem:

    @Minister Desmond Lee, why don’t you just declare it was fake news? Why bother to refute at all. As a Minister you have every right to say it was fake news, right?

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  • Accept the Fact!:

    The whole World knows except for the pappies who pretend they don’t.

    What is there to refute? Facts remain facts!

    AHTC Trial is slowly but surely revealing all the ‘fixing’!

    Cannot hide anymore, especially in Open Court!

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  • Bapak:

    NotMyProblem:
    @Minister Desmond Lee, why don’t you just declare it was fake news? Why bother to refute at all. As a Minister you have every right to say it was fake news, right?

    ======================================================================
    When he said this – “We set out to achieve real outcomes for our people – good health, education, jobs and housing – rather than satisfy a collection of ideologically driven indicators.”

    He is also speaking for the ShitTimes,
    “We set out to ‘educate’ our people – to read only news on G, one-sided education, makeup jobs and housing statistics – rather than satisfy a collection of ideologically driven indicators.”

    Therefore, the ShitTimes also score high marks.

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  • AristoCATs like "pick n choose:

    > “Citing global rankings, Mr Lee noted that Singapore is second in the world for healthcare outcomes and sixth for its healthcare system.”
    -
    the AristoCATs ignore the “bad” n highlight the “good” . . .
    * vLogger using MBS as background – Pinky likes ! Got plenty of time for him.
    * Report on the elderly picking cardboxes for living – no like – ignored
    * PISA high score – Desmond Lee likes !
    * PISA high score + Tuition Nation – AristoCATs no like – double ignored
    -
    Remember the Ballot Box !

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  • Cannot tahan anymo:

    No one believes these jlb mps anymore.
    Talk all you want. No one’listening to your goreng kachang anymore.
    Why not have a parliament session by the head jlb aka PM, to explain why theyre refuting this report.
    Why send a boy to do a man’s job.

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  • The truth shall set us free:

    We the lowly peasants know that the oxfam report is the truth.

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  • we have never voted pap:

    NotMyProblem:
    @Minister Desmond Lee, why don’t you just declare it was fake news? Why bother to refute at all. As a Minister you have every right to say it was fake news, right?

    when some idiots got hoodwinked by pap and says sgp is number 1, the pap mouthpieces both tv and states times no end repeating the number 1, the number 1, the number 1.

    but when 149 out of 157, no such repeat in pap mouthpieces both tv and states times. in order to find out, must google or come to sites such as TRE.

    so, isn’t it right for New Government to remove every single of these pap Ljs and pap Cbs now in mediacorpse and states times after GE2019?

    of course, remove them all, is our immediate reply.

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  • LIONS:

    whats there to ‘debate’ about?
    is this minister still thinking he is in school uniform trying to argue for argument sake in order to win the DEBATE?

    DEBATES ARE ALKING FACTS; yes,HARD CORE f a c t s!

    look around and see for youself,minister.
    if one pair of specs is not enuf for you to see clearly,use a magnifying glass!

    many more HOMELESS,MANY MORE PICKING UP LTTERS FOR A MEAGRE FEW BUCKS each day???

    many more shuffling their trembling legs to collect plates at hawkers centres with their feeble hands???

    cant you see all these or you look the other way like the levite in the PARABLE OF THE good samaritan?

    many more families breaking down n divorce arsing from FINANCIAL PROBLEMS increasing?

    many more older sgs taking their own old lives when they shud be ENJOYING THE LAST PHASE OF LIFE with joy,no matter how little they are?

    yet,THE NUMBER OF BILLIONAIRE$ AND THEIR TOTAL NET WORTH INCREASES AT THE SAME TIME IN SIN CITY???????????????????????????????????????????????????

    MINISTERS ASKING FOR MORE PAY FOR SHAKING BALLS AND LEGS WHILE TELLING THE COMMON SGS TO ACCEPT LOW WAGES FOR HARD WORK???

    MEANWHILE PUSH UP COL IN EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE HERE?

    HIGH GDP WITH HIGHER NUMBER OF POOR IS RIDICULOUS,IS NOT IT?

    INEQUALITY IS THE WORD AND IT SHUD BE QUICKLY ERADICATED OR THE NATION FALTERS FURTHER,LEE AH LONG??

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  • Homeless Cat:

    What on earth is this buffoon talking about? Somebody report this clown to the Fake News Committee already! Oh wait.. .that won’t work. The Fake News Bureau is full of fake experts! Damn!

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  • HarderTruths:

    Healthcare outcomes indeed.

    Dead men tell no tales.

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  • The Gay Grandson karma:

    Cannot tahan anymo:
    No one believes these jlb mps anymore.
    Talk all you want. No one’listening to your goreng kachang anymore.
    Why not have a parliament session by the head jlb aka PM, to explain why theyre refuting this report.
    Why send a boy to do a man’s job.

    Yesterday state media kept blasting good news about SG being awarded in bali by UN.

    It is clear SG relies on these rankings.
    But it ignores or refutes rankings that shows it’s ugly side.

    But majority has long ago been deeply brainwashed.

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  • oxygen:

    90% OF THE PEASANTS OWN their homes? Where is the title deeds to evident those ownership? Other than landed property and private condos, the HDB ones says PEASANTS ARE ALL LESSEE, the sole owner is PAPpy.

    IT IS THE PEASANTS WHO SUBSIDIZE THE sole PAPpy – not the other way around as REGULARLY farted of fiction in the PROSTITUTE MEDIA.

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  • Tops in Human Capital Index?:

    Not refuting?

    Not fake news?

    Only refute bad branding?

    How can?

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  • Asd:

    Useless goon do… muppet…

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  • Bobo:

    We should gracefully accept the facts reported. Mr Lee should say inequality will never happen in Singapore under PAP ruling. Hahaha! See no justice, hear no nonsense and say no sorry. They have paid themselves $millions to perform ownself check ownself. Subsequently they think they were not paid enough.LOL.

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  • The Rot Started From The Top:

    Minister Desmond refute is just a load of rubbish, simply out of context. That kind of rebuttal from a Minister is below the expectation of the general public, and is without doubt, is to please his gang of robbers.

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  • Gay Grandson karma eugenics:

    TUCK WAN:
    Again I repeat. The Minister is just another Bucket of SHITS. when you see Clark Kent you don’t see Superman.

    His father is Chinese right?

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  • milo malay INDIAN:

    Gay Grandson karma eugenics: His father is Chinese right?

    with local born 30%, clear as day his papa is Chinese.

    but with race playing politicians from pap such as lky son the clown, he can be anything as seen in the selected milo malay INDIAN president.

    perhaps when time for new president to be selected by pap clown, this fellow is INDIAN.

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  • Asd:

    Simple thing like how mamy m$ you paying yourselves also cannot be open but simply ask people to trust ? Trust for 5 decade to know now prata hdb become zero after 99 yrs… and yet scholars keep saying it is appreciating when it will be zero ??

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  • Accept the Facts,!:

    You can ‘snooked’ 69.9% Singaporean Voters but you can”t hoodwink the World!

    While you acknowledge accolades, you must also accept the opposite.

    Don’t refute or rebut for the sake of refuting or rebutting!

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  • Tok Kok sing song:

    Desmond Lee talk cock lah. Income tax low doesn’t mean taxes are Low. How about exhorbhitant COE, ERP, road tax, water tax and all kinds of other taxes ? He earns millions, eat until fat fat but ignorant of the poor uncles who have to pick cardboard on the streets for their daily survival ! That’s where the inequality is !!

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  • jialiobee:

    Its akin to saying, we am reducing the oxygen supply but as long as you are not dead as an outcome… it’s OKAY. WTF.

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  • Malaysia boleh Singapore bodoh:

    Straits Times: Outcomes matter, Heng Swee Keat says in response to controversial Oxfam report

    “Outcomes, not measures of input, are what matter, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, in a sharp criticism of a report that said Singapore was among the 10 worst-performing countries at tackling the rich-poor gap.”

    Isn’t the above a stupid statement from HSK? Why? Because output (i.e., outcome) is closely linked to input. The greater the input the greater the output. This is common sense. Moreover, this should be looked at a macro (not micro) level. Oxfam report is focusing on the former, not the latter. One can always look at the issue at a micro level to get the desired (good) outcome. This is misleading.

    “Since resources are limited, it is very important that we can achieve good outcomes with the required inputs and not to wrongly measure inputs and then treat it as outcomes, Mr Heng told Singapore reporters in Bali. “That’s a completely wrong analysis.”

    Isn’t the above another stupid statement? Why? Because “resources are limited” is a general(and relative) statement. It does not really apply in this case because of massive Government reserves and perennial Budget surpluses. Why did PAP refuse to tell then Elected President Ong Teck Cheong the size of Government reserves which he is supposed to protect?
    The Government has so much reserves it can afford to spend hundreds of millions annually on foreigners studying in Singapore. It can also afford to pay Ministers “out-of-this-world” (obscene) salaries and bonuses.

    More good reasons to vote for REGIME CHANGE to get the TRUTH.

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  • Rubbish:

    It is normal to spew rubbish when the first hand information gotten about local inequality whether in terms of social equity, education access, promotion opportunities, job career prospects and wealth distribution etc, is all doctored and rubbish. Period.

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  • When Inequality Sets In....:

    ‘Noises’ are now heard loud and clear!

    Quite evidenced that ‘noises’ are at their highest decibels after GE 2015!

    Past history and achievements (by earlier good and genuine leaders) will not help anymore if arrogance and poor performance continues…

    The People(especially the voters) are quite prepare to change history as they are not willing to pay 9% GST, 30% Water Tax, higher electricity and gas bills, parking fees in schools, etc.

    In addition, many are fed up with the ‘Milo Promoter’ for collecting million$ and not carrying out her basic duties. Don’t sing, go do what you really need to do, the People are waiting!

    Lim Tean is right, Singaporeans will push for a referendum if there is no progress report on our Nation Reserves by 2019!

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