Raising taxes not a bad idea

The Prime Minister has forewarned Singaporeans that his government will be raising taxes to meet higher social spending and investments.

This is a welcome move, if three interrelated conditions are met.

One, the increased spending will not only boost economic development but will also make Singapore a more equitable society.

The benefits of more growth must be distributed widely and evenly in society.

Two, the new taxes must be significantly progressive.

People with higher income must pay more taxes.

It is a privilege to become rich in Singapore, and not a right. Wealthier residents should give back to the community for that opportunity.

Paying more taxes to support the whole community and to redistribute welfare makes our nation compassionate.

Willingness to pay fair taxes demonstrates solidarity.

Three, the new taxes must be value-for-money.

The new taxes must be considered essential, and quality of life for the whole community must markedly improve.

Paying more taxes to support the whole community and to redistribute welfare makes our nation compassionate.

Willingness to pay fair taxes demonstrates solidarity.

All Singaporeans can be proud that we are in the same boat, even though not all of us have the same opportunities.

Exploitative tax avoidance behaviour should be punished.

We should not cultivate a culture that such anti-social behaviour is expected and considered normal.

Paying high taxes and staying happy are two things we can learn from the Scandinavian countries.

Ooi Can Seng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2017, with the headline 'Raising taxes not a bad idea'. Print Edition | Subscribe