Saturday, July 14, 2007

Rise and rise of prices

Well, its 14 days since the GST was raised from 5% to 7%. The Singapore economy is red-hot at the moment, chalking up no less than 8% growth in the last quarter. Government economists have consistently underestimated economic growth. It is probably better to err on the side of caution. To the man in the street, such as I, these numbers are both a boon and a bane. A boon because, as a civil servant, I can look forward to good bonuses at the end of the year. A bane because all these growth comes at a price - an increase in prices to be precise. What has gone up?

For one, the hop-on price of a cab. It now costs $2.70. Previously it was $2.40. 2% GST increase? You do the Math. It used to be that taxi transport price increases used to be debated hotly, but since deregulation, increases now just happen. But the waiting time for a taxi remains just as poor. You wonder what the increase is for.

I used to get a plate of rice with servings of 2 veges and 1 meat at $2.50 (yeah, that's cheap) but today, it costs me $2.70. And the quantities are the same. Some do not raise prices. Instead, they shrink the size of their products. Those of you who read I-Weekly and 8 Days cannot not have noticed that their sizes have shrunk. Of course, Mediacorp copywriters and editors explained how a smaller magazine kept up with the times (yeah, they are spot on on this), and all, but the fact is, the price may not have risen, but the portion has shrunked, which amounts to the same thing, no?. Don't need to do the Math on this. You and I know that, actually, size matters.

Taking these into consideration, my bonus at the end of the year will actually not be as much as last year. Prices have gone up and somebody has to pay - you and me.

Fact of life.

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