ELECTIONS 2015: INCOME INEQUALITY HAS REDUCED IN S’PORE?

Gini has tempered through government redistribution

According to the Straits Times news report Govt made shift well before 2011 election: Tharman” (Straits Times, Aug 15) – “Singapore has tempered its Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality, from 0.43 to 0.37 through government redistribution”.

Gini still among the highest in the world?

Despite this improvement, arguably we should also heed what Roy Ngerng said – that Singapore’s Gini after taxes and government transfers may still be the highest “compared to all the other developed economies in the OECD”.

Both Ginis increased last year?

Our 153rd ranked Press Freedom media can write it in any way or spin they want – but the fact remains that income inequality rose last year as both Ginis (before and after taxes and government transfers)  increased.

Strange statistics? 

But what is rather strange is that the number of households with no employed persons increased by 14,300 from 110,800 to 125,100 (or 13%), which is so much more than the increase of just 4,600 the previous year.

Why is this so and what does it mean? That a lot of households became unemployed?

Why is there no breakdown into Singaporean and PR households?”

Since it is estimated that PRs earn generally about 28 per cent more than Singaporeans and the Singaporeans unemployment rate is higher than the PRs unemployment rate – the statistics may be much worse for Singaporeans.

Counted as government transfers?

Also, how can CPF Medisave top-ups be counted as a Gini government transfer, when it is not disposable income that can be utilised, and most of it may be consumed by rising healthcare costs?

How can the entire Workfare payout be counted as a government transfer, when the bulk of it is to the CPF and not in cash?

How can “Post-secondary education account top-ups and matching grants” be counted as a government transfer, when much of it may only be used in the future, when fees may have risen such that they simply “eat up” the amounts credited to the accounts now?

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