RONALD LEE: In parliament yesterday, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said that “people’s aspirations” and their inability to fulfill them can affect their perception of cost of living.
Which essentially means, people think things are expensive because they aspire for better things which are beyond their means.
What has the Maj-General been smoking?
Let’s see how the prices of basic goods have changed across 2017 and 2018:
(1) Water price – 30 percent increase
(2) Electricity prices – cumulative 15 percent increase
(3) S&CC – about 20 percent increase
(4) Rubbish Disposal (which isn’t included in S&CC by the way): 11 percent increase
(5) Public Transport (bus and train) – 20 percent increase since 2014, and set to increase further this year
(6) Hawker food prices – 20 percent increase in 2014, now another round of sharp increase due to the above price hikes impacting operating costs
And this is just the price hikes of everyday items – not “aspirations” like luxury holiday cruises.
Incomes keeping pace with price increases?
Today, we got this from Today:
When the Consumer Price Index, which measures the cost of essential items, looks set for a sharp rise this year – government plans GST hike to 9 percent in the coming years.
Speaking of CPI, the middle-income group which has always been squeezed the tightest is getting squeezed even tighter.
People are frustrated because they can feel the squeeze in their daily lives.
It’s not about “perception”, as Maj-Gen Chan mentioned, but the reality that the cost of everyday items are increasing faster than income, and when Singaporeans look for ways to save money they can slapped with more taxes.
And it’s not about failed aspirations, because looking at the ways things are shaping up, Singaporeans can’t afford to have aspirations (and if we could, the government might try to tax that too).