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The Straits Times

Inflation: The View From The Ground

Inflation has reared its ugly head once again and hard-pressed Singaporeans are now grappling with the monster. Is the beast the same as the one that emerged in previous decades? Or is it a different animal? What weapons can be unsheathed to slay it or at least keep it at bay” (Wrestling With The Beast – Again, Miss Andrea Ong and Miss Rachel Chang).

From rising commodity prices to property price increases; Singaporeans in general are hardly concerned with ascertaining the specific reasons for the creeping inflation rate, especially when economists and public administrators have yet to establish a consensus on the root cause for the price woes. While it is commonplace for prices to increase because of steady year-on-year inflation rates, the current dilemma is compounded by assertions that wage increases have not been in tandem with the consumer price index (CPI). More information of this nature can be disseminated transparently from the Ministry of Finance (MOF) to determine the statistical validity of these propositions.

The individuals and households that have been – or would be – most affected by the perpetual rise in the cost of living are those from the middle- and lower-class. Furthermore, the fact that previous measures – such as tax and cash rebates, monetary handouts et cetera – have been concentrated in the lower-class means that middle-class families are often sandwiched, and correspondingly squeezed out from assorted schemes. More importantly, these varied financial assistance programmes are stop-gap measures, often one-off initiatives announced from the annual Budget statement, which does insufficiently deals with the aforementioned wage-price consideration.

With the imminent General Elections, inflation and the cost of living would undoubtedly emerge as important factors that might sway voter sentiments, and ultimately determine how the electorate casts its ballots. Stemming profiteering and financially-empowering struggling Singaporeans in the upcoming Budget statement are short-term strategies. In the long run, recommendations must be considered to genuinely raise worker productivity and wage levels, and provide necessary subsidies – especially in areas of transportation, education and healthcare – to empower Singaporeans to thrive economically.

A version of this article was published in The Straits Times.

About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.

Discussion

3 thoughts on “Inflation: The View From The Ground

  1. The government acknowledges the old age and inflation problem but are not doing enough to help.The grassroots are not fully in touch with the majority who are in this category.When I requested for my minimum some to be payed according to my basic needs,it was rejected by CPF.Its my money and I should be able to handle my own retirement.Instead I was told that how this some will help me through my twilight years.It might be a policy but one size should not fit all.We all have different basic needs and capabilities.I have made an appeal and awaiting their reply before I take my next step.

    Posted by lawrence | March 16, 2011, 4:24 pm

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  1. Pingback: Daily SG: 15 Feb 2011 « The Singapore Daily - February 15, 2011

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