Singapore—Tan Jee Say, who is a banker and an economist, among other things, has unveiled his economic vision for transforming Singapore into a true first world country.
Mr Tan, who also contested in the 2011 presidential election and is the current Secretary General of Singaporeans First, launched his new website where he will feature his Economic Plan, which is entitled “Take Back Our Money, Be True First World.”
On his Facebook page, he also posted a video outlining this, which can be found on YouTube.
One of the main reasons why Singapore is not a true first world country is inequality, and part of the reason for this, he says, is that the PAP government overtaxes ordinary Singaporeans but does not spend enough on them.
He writes, “They take away one whole chicken from the people and give us only a chicken wing. As a result, the government accumulates huge surpluses that now exceed $1 trillion ($1,000 billion).”
In contrast, in real first world countries the government spends more money on people and gives back what it takes in taxes, he adds.
On the subject of Singapore’s vast reserves, Mr Tan says that these reserves generate substantial investment returns. However, “only a tiny proportion of up to 2 percent” of these reserves is allocated to the national Budget, despite the expectation of achieving “a higher long term annual real rate of return of 4 percent,” he writes.
Mr Tan, therefore, proposes that the full four percent be allocated into the budget, leaving the principal untouched. He added, “This is what Norway does with its sovereign wealth of over US$1 trillion, giving the full expected return to the national budget each year.”
Mr Tan goes on to explain what this additional four percent, or S$42 billion, would mean to everyday Singaporeans if it is allocated into the Budget.
It would enable the removal of the seven percent GST, provide full subsidy for healthcare and education, as well as provide for cash allowances to children and the elderly which would in turn help boost the economy for small and medium-sized businesses. Finally, it would lower the cost of public transport.
Other ways to transform Singapore into truly first-world involves making public housing affordable, building more schools and hospitals, adding more jobs in these sectors, helping mid-career PMETs as they experience career shifts, funding young people with their tech innovations and help efforts to curb climate change.
According to Mr Tan, “This program is estimated to cost up to $10 billion. As it involves safeguarding the future, it should and can be funded by revenues from land lease sales. The past 10 years of land sales had generated an average of nearly $16 billion a year which is $6 billion more than required.”
Mr Tan says all this can be done without new taxes or tax increases, and even the GST and other charges can be removed. “Moreover, we will only be spending the investment returns on our reserves without touching the principal sum. Our country will not go bankrupt but will continue to have more than the principal sum of our reserves intact that will continue to generate returns to sustain our welfare spending,” he added.
The Singaporeans First leader ended his points by urging new ideas. “We must now abandon the lopsided growth ideology of the PAP and fire the engine of the economy on both fronts at the same time, achieving economic growth and people’s welfare together like a true First World society. We deserve it and can achieve it.
It is time that we take back our money and build a true First World society.” —/TISG