Saturday, February 18, 2006

Santa Clause came to town - again

The Singapore government unveiled its annual budget yesterday. As expected, it is a generous budget with something for everyone - an important thing given that the government is expected to call a general election soon (I speculated earlier that this election will take place this March). This is not the first time that money has been re-distributed from Government revenue with such generosity, and the formula hasn't varied a lot from previous cases.

Source: cash is still distributed based not on income level, but on the type of house you own. The assumption, of course, is that the greater the value of the house you own and live in, the better off you are, and vice versa. So people like me get only $200 - the low end of the cash gift bracket (the highest is $800) - because I own and stay in a private apartment. Those who qualify for the $600 - $800 cash gift are those that stay in public housing of the 3 - 5 room types. People staying in executive type public apartments, which I used to own, only get $400. Needless to say, these assumptions tying wealth to type of housing are not always valid. Some wealthy businessmen who drive around in Mercedes-Benzes live in 4-room public housing (for one reason or another). So they get a bigger cash gift compared to many who earn considerably less, but stay in a executive type public housing. I have been on the wrong end of this ironic situation since day one, so I have become cynical over the entire cash gift exercise practiced every year by the powers that be.

All these make the government look either like Santa Claus, or the Lottery where everyone wins, some more so than others. Somehow, the second imagery is more in tune with the times, but I'd rather think that Santa is a, ahem, cleaner image.

Would I be less inclined to vote for the ruling party in the next election? Time will tell.

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