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Cost of living Watch
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 13465
Location: singapore

PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 9:09 am    Post subject: Cost of living Watch Reply with quote

I am dedicating this thread to monitor govt policies and decisions that will affect the cost of living of the people either way, up or down. This will keep us mindful of all the promises in the general election to bring down the cost of living.

I hope the first item to be posted here will not be a hike in transport fare.
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Grunt



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
Posts: 373

PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would suggest you break it up into precise categories post in this topic.

Like all matters relating to :

1. Housing / including stamp & legal fees.
2. Transportations / including fuel prices / ERP
3. Medical & Hospitalisation.
4. Food & Sundries.
5. Educations / school & tuitions fees.
6. Living standard - Taxes / GST / Salary ... etc ... Utilities & telephones
7. Do a comparision of 10 consumable & non-consumable items
from this date and reflect 5 year or so later and see.

e.g. :

Consumable - Rice, Cooking Oil, Sugar, Egg, Flour, Meat, Fish,
Avian Mineral water, Big Mac ! etc...

Non-cosumable - Laptop, LCD, Gold, Handphone, Mircosoft Office software,
etc...
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 13465
Location: singapore

PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once the posts start to come in I will have to break them up if the volume is big. It depends on the responses and the number of items. When necessary I will break it up accordingly.

Thanks for the suggestion.
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Matilah_Singapura



Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 728
Location: LAND OF SMILES & INSTANT GRATIFICATION, of Delightful Exploitation...and a true Buddhist spirit!

PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 6:47 pm    Post subject: "Easy to be happy", says a selfish individual Reply with quote



So what about the "cost of living"?

What is important is the standard of living. i.e. are you getting "bang for buck" with your money? That is impossible to measure objectively, becasue "value" is subjective. Experience is an individual thing. Laughing

Here's my "subjective" opinion: S'pore still offers "bang for buck" - it is one of the easiest places on earth to live. Speaking for myself, I enjoy a high standard of living at The Hotel, I find people generally friendly, my stress level is definitely LOWER than when I'm working in Oz (which is why I prefer to be a beach bum in Oz)... and it is piss-easy to be happy in Hotel Singapore. Cool

Why do I find it "easy"? Very simple, I create an "illusion" for myself, using my imagination. I "imagine" that the govt is there to serve me and that no one can take my power or disrupt my composure, unless I give them permission. This illusion has served me well, so I continue to use it. Idea

I also find the way the locals carry on - complaining and moanin' - extremely entertaining. Irony is often a necessary component of comedy. Laughing I find it ironic that for a cuntry which puports to be "free market", the lack of understanding (and acceptance of the natural order) of free-market principles is severely lacking in the great majority of people. Rolling Eyes

The whingin, obstreperous sad-sacks consistenly wait for the govt to solve all their problems - education, healthcare, transport, jobs etc etc and expect the govt to intervene and "protect them" from the vagaries of the free market. Question

An example of beliefs in "economic mythology": that it is the govt who is responsible for people finding jobs. They complain that either:

1) a cheap foreign worker displaces the local
2) an expensive foreign worker displaces the worker


How to win like that? Shocked

Little do these economic mythologists know (or are willing to accept) that if you exist, you are responsible. Fuck the government - believe in them at your own peril. Since you are responsible, then you are responsible for your education and subsequent employment. Economic mythologists still cannot or will not accept that if you want to work, the perception of VALUE rests totally in the mind of the person offering the job.

Baroness Margaret Thatcher summed it up when she was the British PM. Through all the brickbats that have been slung at her, I will always salute her as one of the GREATEST classical liberals of the 20th century - a person - a ballsey woman - who unashamedly shone the spotlight on individuals, individual rights, private property and most importantly - individual responsibility. The last woman to do that before her was Ayn Rand.

"I think we've been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to cope with it.

'I have a problem, I'll get a grant.' 'I'm homeless, the government must house me.' They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.

And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour.

People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation."
- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, 1987

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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 13465
Location: singapore

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are right to say that though we proclaimed to be a free economy but in reality it isn't. There are too many govt interventions, positive and negative. Nobody is going to complain about positive interventions. It is the right of the people to expect them, that the govt is elected to serve the country and people. Otherwise there is no need for govt. No need for the govt to come down to the people for their votes.

Everyone technically should look after themselves. But there are many who can't. Then there are some artificialities that are created by the govt and the system. The system says that it is there to help the people and to look after the people. But there are govt policies that will affect some people adversely. And any policy will never be able to take into consideration all aspects of a problem or people.

The govt is there to SERVE. Like it or not, believe it or not, we just had an erection and the people elected promised to serve and to look after the people.

Standard of living is a very relative thing and means different thing to different people. It is very difficult to talk about it.

Cost of living is more objective. And this thread will monitor all govt policies and decisions that affect the cost of living either way.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 13465
Location: singapore

PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Posted: 10 May 2006 2100 hrs

SBS surprises with 12% increase in Q1 profit despite higher fuel prices
By Loh Kim Chin, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : SBS Transit has surprised with a 12 percent increase in first quarter profit to S$14.6 million.

This was achieved on the back of a 5 percent rise in revenue to S$152 million, due mainly to higher bus and rail fare revenue following a fare hike in July.

The improved bottomline comes despite a relentless surge in fuel prices, which has hit other transport companies like SIA.

Going forward, it hopes to expand its bus network to boost revenues.

Rail ridership revenue is also expected to grow as the Sengkang and Punggol New Towns get more populated.

SBS's parent, ComfortDelgro, has also reported higher earnings for the three months to March.

But the increase is more moderate - a marginal 1.3 percent to S$55 million.

Overseas earnings accounted for 40 percent of turnover.

A decision on another hike in Singapore fares will be made in August.

- CNA /ls

I am keeping this article here for reference when fare hike is approved.
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Matilah_Singapura



Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 728
Location: LAND OF SMILES & INSTANT GRATIFICATION, of Delightful Exploitation...and a true Buddhist spirit!

PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

redbean wrote:

The govt is there to SERVE. Like it or not, believe it or not, we just had an erection and the people elected promised to serve and to look after the people.


Believe in myths at your own peril. Laughing Laughing
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 13465
Location: singapore

PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2006 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jobs versus Profits

B4 our Elections, Singtel announced profits sharing for it's shareholders...

After Election, news broke to some of it's staffs, "we thank you for your contribution in our company, due to ..., we would like to terminate ur services, undermentioned is you retrenchment benefit..."

Company makes $$, still AXE staffs...
But fortunately la, our great ST and CNA like haven report abt it...

PS: News had been spread ard by singtel staffs, some withness their colleague broke down, the question in their mind is .. why company make $$ still wanna to axe staff, tot PAP wanted more jobs and more jobs for the ppl of SG....

Sighz Tianyou 83 posted on May 13, 06.


The above was posted in YPAP. I am including this year to monitor whether there is any change in govt's policy on jobs versus profits. For many years, it seems that profits is more important than the provision of jobs for the people. For a non GLC, this is understandable. For a GLC this is unacceptable and contrary to the promise of the govt to create more jobs. How can one ministry be cracking its head to create more value jobs and another GLC happily destroying jobs and retrenching staff?

And the worst thing to happen is that the savings from the salary of these retrenched staff became profit to be share as fat bonuses for senior management staff.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Income tax dept should rethink unequal tax cut policy to narrow divide between rich and poor

I am an income tax payer. I am proud to contribute a part of my earnings to building a better nation.
Income tax dept should rethink unequal tax cut policy to narrow divide between rich and poor

However, I am pleasantly surprised to discover that my income tax burden is reduced for assessment year 2006.

I gather this information from the IRAS website: Singaporean, individual, salaried earner, top income tax contributors will pay 1% less tax while medium income earner will pay 0.5% less tax compared to last year. But low income earners get no benefit.

I would like the IRAS to reconsider unequal income tax reduction. I propose that the system of income tax in 2003 be reinstated with reduction in Goods and Services Tax by at least 3 percentage points.

My arguments are simple. Firstly, our system taxes us in an inverted pyramid form, ie. the more I earn, the heavier my tax burden. I find this sensible, reasonable and logical.

Secondly, GST is non-discriminatory and it effectively taxes our fellow lower income Singaporeans. In my opinion, this has contributed to the rich and poor divide.

Not too low income earners like me should not complain about paying taxes as it is our duty as Singaporeans to contribute and move together forward as a nation. No man gets left behind in my Singapore.

Ng Swee Kai


The writer's article was published in the Sunday Times forum page. I fully agree with his suggestion. The GST is unjust to the poor through its reasoning that everyone must pay tax, rich or poor. Only rich people will support such a taxation policy where the poor, including the very poor, have to pay tax. Thus the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer.
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Matilah_Singapura



Joined: 08 Mar 2006
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Location: LAND OF SMILES & INSTANT GRATIFICATION, of Delightful Exploitation...and a true Buddhist spirit!

PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 3:03 pm    Post subject: ALL TAXES ARE UNFAIR. TAX IS THEFT Reply with quote

The GST is unjust - to everyone, pure and simple. It doesn't matter whether the individual is poor or rich.

It already a travesty thet the most productive have to pay the most taxes. In fact, private property owners "subsidise" public housing through their land taxes.

To the extent that govt taxes are forced appropriation of private property, S'pore govt is a "lesser evil" than most other countries. I'm not being "relativist" here, merely pointing out a fact.

At least the majority of people basically pay no income tax at all. And money earned outside the territory is all tax-free. That's not so bad is it? Shocked
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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Location: singapore

PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoonWan is tackling the 'how to pay expensive medical bills again.' I sense that the issue is not how to reduce medical cost, but how to pay the ever increasing cost, through group insurance.

I think the root to this problem is high medical cost. And this must be tackled first. Medicare must be rightly divided into those who can afford and don't mind paying and those who cannot afford and needed help. That is why we have a govt and not an anarchic society where there is no govt and if one cannot afford it, just too bad.

Another area is for the govt to provide choice for the people to decide what they want to consume and pay for. The govt shall not pre decide who should consume what and pay what.

The third area is to educate people to prepare to die. Anyone who passes 65 or 70, must be prepared to die, gracefully, with minimum discomfort, through ageing. The medical service must not play the role of extending life at all cost, thus raising medical cost to an astronomical height.

For those who can afford it, they can pay for whatever to extend their life for as long as they want. For many who cannot afford it, and without the means, extension of life is an extension of suffering, a burden to themselves, family and society. The expensive medical procedures and medicine are not doing them any good but increasing their misery.

And hopefully, with a review of the objectives of medicare and its role in society, and with a proper insurance scheme tailored to different individual needs, with choices and not a straight jacket formula, no one need to have all their money locked up in medisave and CPF when these can be used to provide them with a better quality of life.

Not everyone needs the heavy insurance, not everyone wants to extend their life mindlessly. And many will have other means to pay for their medical needs, including family support. The medisave and medical insurance must allow for flexibility and choice. Otherwise, there is no need for all the supertalents if a simple straight jacket solution is all that the ministry can come out with.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The SMRT is making huge profits again. It has been making profits for many years in the hundreds of millions. And all along it has been claiming that cost is rising and it will lose money if transport fare is not raised. And that they are accountable to theirshareholders as a private company.

Is it really a private company in the true sense? Can anyone remember that $6 billion was used from taxpayers money to build the infrastructure which has since been written off. (I stand corrected if anyone can prove to me that I am wrong on this.)

Now the management of the SMRT are happily managing the company for profits made from none other than the taxpayers who contributed the $6 billion to its initial cost.

If the SMRT is to regard itself as a purely private company, and making money for its shareholders as its primary objective, then it is only right and fair that SMRT make provisions to repay the $6 billion back to the people as it has no obligation to the people.

For being given the right as a monopoly business, it cannot lose money like any other business. It only needs to raise fares to cover whatever it wants to cover and whatever profits it wants to make. Where else can there be such a sure to profit business? Where is the business risk?

The privatisation does not really benefit the people except shareholders. It is a misnomer to claim that without privatisation it will be inefficient and will run at a loss. This is an insult to all govt andstatutory boards, that they are inefficient because they are not privatised.

And in case of a stats board, if the management isinefficient they should be fired and replaced with a new management team. Turning it private is a lousy excuse to improve efficiency.

I don't believe that stats board are inefficient just because they are not privatised.
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floppy



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

redbean wrote:
The privatisation does not really benefit the people except shareholders.


and the shareholders are? Wink
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Matilah_Singapura



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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

redbean wrote:
The privatisation does not really benefit the people except shareholders.


WOW! For a guy who runs capital market watches on his forum you have some strange ideas, redbean. Shocked

HOW, are shareholders going to reap their benefits, if the companies they own do not serve customers in the best way possible?

Maybe the "private" businesses will be protected by the govt? In that case they are not private at all. But even if they are protected by govt, eventually they will fail if they do not serve the customer. The value of the business will decline: wastage, sub standard service, not keeping abreast of changes... just like all state-owned enterprises. They become INEFFICIENT.

Quote:
It is a misnomer to claim that without privatisation it will be inefficient and will run at a loss. This is an insult to all govt andstatutory boards, that they are inefficient because they are not privatised.


Stat boards are by nature inefficient. That doesn't mean they don't "get things done" - but the do so at an inflated cost - since they have "unlimited" resources: tax payer funds. Just look at the buildings the Stat boards are housed in - far too extravagant. No private business will spend that kind of money - unless they are REALLY profitable and have a better-than-healthy balance sheet.

Quote:
And in case of a stats board, if the management isinefficient they should be fired and replaced with a new management team. Turning it private is a lousy excuse to improve efficiency.


Perhaps they should be gotten rid of in toto. For e.g. STB should be shut down. What have they done? Spent millions for what? Wank.

Quote:
I don't believe that stats board are inefficient just because they are not privatised.


There is only one test for the "efficiency" of an organisation: the market test.
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redbean



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To borrow your argument, it will be beneficial to all parties, owners and users of the service, if only it is run really commercially in a free market with free competition. Definitely not in a monopolistic form where the customers are held hostage.

Under the current mode of operation, the SMRT can actually work out how much they want to make with 99% certainty. When the target is falling behind, just ask for fare hike.

There is a simple thing which they can do to benefit regular commuters, ie season tickets with unlimited travel at a discount. But no, they are not going to do that and reduce their profits. If there are competition, you bet that they will come up with all kinds of packages to encourage travelling that will benefit the commuters.
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