100 million handouts vs 2,800 a month

Singapore – Handouts to Poor Top 100 million mark : Straits Times


A landmark for Singapore.

One step further in Switzerland.

Switzerland Mulls Giving Every Citizen 2,800 a month : Business Insider


I have had time to do more casual observations these days and to encounter different sorts of people. And it was during an informal lunch with a girlfriend at SICC the other day when she commented that it was quite unreal that we have people lounging around in their golf finery in a stark contrast to our usual coffeeshop uncles in Ghim Moh.

To be honest, after spending several months being poor and spending a mere fraction of what I used to, I heartily laud the Singapore government’s act in doing their part to reign in inequality. Roti prata prices are not what they used to be and it is 1 dollar for kosong these days. How to save money when coffee shops are taken over by Toast Box which charges 1.8 for coffee ?

We cannot blame the prata seller because he has a life too and he has to drink Toast Box coffee when he has no choice.

Now back to the radical Swiss proposal which will obviously not fly there or here.

2,800 a month for every single adult as a basic income which the government has no control over the spending of. Theoretically it looks like a tax cut, if you are a working adult who pays more than 2,800 in tax a month.

Coming from the traditional school of thought, it feels like there is something morally wrong about this. Why should one part of society sponsor the rest ? Wouldn’t that encourage some people not to work ? Because 2,800 is more than what some taxi drivers earn and who will clean toilets and tables then ?

That is assuming that 2,800 is a hypothetically applicable number for Singapore.

Well, that is because we never for a moment stopped to think about how lucky we are and reading some of the rags to riches stories in the papers, have we ever stopped to wonder for all their rah rah secrets to success, if most of it was more due to luck than that of their so called method ?

To be at a right place and time is more important than any formula to success even for the ordinary Singaporean who should be considered moderately successful as compared to the “poor” receiving a portion of the 100 million handout.

Perhaps the 2,800 basic income idea may sound like a joke now that rich countries toss about because people in Africa get by on less than a dollar a day. But as time progresses and the divide grows with only a minority percentage of the populace enjoying the historic highs in the stock indices, I cannot help but wonder if the idea will take off in the next half of the century ?