Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Perception Of Poverty, Poverty Of Perception

We were just being told that some people, "to our naked eyes, look like poor people" or people who earn "small salaries but they can still send their children abroad" at their own expenses. "This means they could have under-declared their income." But the GST system "is more progressive as it depends on how much our expenses are."

I think it is dangerous when the Government make statements like this - based not on proper analysis but on impressions. One may be clever at making statements on isolated issues. But isolated issues may be the outcome of an error in the whole system

To my naked mind, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the person who dressed down and live a simple life so that he can save his salaries for the education of his children abroad. There is even something to be admired about such a person because he does not rely on the government for scholarships for his children's education as he knows they will never get the scholarships based on their ethnicity. He knows that, for the future of his children, an overseas education may be worth the money as the local education may not be good enough for his children. Of all persons, a salaried man is likely to be the only salaried man who is honestly paying his taxes. There is just so much ignorance in such a short statement.

The GST should be held up as a major contender against income tax. The debate is whether you tax effort or you tax expenditure. In the old world where money (capital) was scarce, there was the view that profit made out of capital should be taxed, and that incomes from salaries should be taxed to pay for pensions and healthcare and education, and other public services.

Then along came Keynes who said that spending is good for the economy, the more you spend the better the economy. Keynes was right to suggest that government spending should be used to smooth out a temporary cyclical glitch. But expansionary fiscal policy are now wrongly used to cover up the problems of slow growth of an economy with structural errors. Instead of correcting structures, the government continues to spend and it is looking for all kinds of ways to tax in order to keep feeding a badly managed economy.

If the currently thinking is that spending is good for the economy, then this is the wrong time to implement the GST which taxes spending.

If you think that GST is the better revenue generator, then you must let off the consumers by removing totally the taxes on personal incomes. You can keep the taxes on profits.

Just to think that the government will berate the poor citizen who has to live the life of a simple person so that he can rise above the wrongs that his government and his country is doing to him and his family...


James said...


There is nothing new about the perverse viewpoints of Malaysian government. It has always been that way for the last fifty years, nothing has changed except the bigotry and stupidity is standard operating procedure on any issue; whether it is taxes, education, religion, or environment. If anything, Malaysia's progress seems to be in such perversity and bigotry. One cannot expect any sincerity or leadership from thieves, criminals and bigots.

walla said...

The naked eye bares all. You see the indigenous natives, hardworking and conscientious to a fault, having for lunch a packet of white rice or plain instant noodles laced only with garlic oil. Nothing else in them.

Yet one kilometer away, our anointed ones during office hours are already tucking away on their fried chickens, barely able to get up from their seats because of their girth, leaving behind half their plates unconsumed, with nary a thought on waste or excess.

The tragedy here is the removal of any cause for celebration because one gains but another loses and the frequency by which that has been happening leaves no room to doubt it was all premeditated.

walla said...

Policies to eradicate poverty must take cognizance of human nature. It is not enough to just fill stomachs. The mind and heart must also be filled but they cannot be filled if in the process of filling stomachs, false standards are created.

The right to live better cannot be founded on the wrong of discriminatory practices that create the paradox of social divisiveness.

It is a paradox because the parallel run to infuse more moral principles will be derailed by policies creating economic re-equalization however based solely on ethnicity.

Because if that continues, naked eyes will have to blind themselves in order to continue receiving the largesse of slanted policies of distribution.

walla said...

The bottom-line we have today is a society basically split into two: one mostly consumers, and the other trying to be producers while crimped by loaded policies of deliberate neglect even to the extent of utter marginalization.

Somewhere in the process of socio-economic reengineering, non-ethnic fairness was replaced by mono-racial exclusivity.

The result has been plain to see and incontrovertible in its negative effects: you can't sustain the reengineering anymore.

Which is why the present govt is today facing the dilemma of trying to squeeze lemons through new taxes that, for all intents, purposes and arguments before us, will only worsen the entire situation at exactly the time when unity, goodwill and cooperation will be needed the most.

walla said...

The world today has become more complex and competitive. Herd instinct based on instant gratification for short-term personal gain will only fuel decline and demise while eroding the integrity of institutions by which the structure of a healthy society can operate long-term.

If continued, the end result will be false standards propped by spin easily punctured on the real playing field of the world such as we have seen with unified international calumny on the way the MH730 tragedy has been mishandled.

Which is why those who try to tar the notion of meritocracy must revisit their own personal agendas already plain to everyone else.

That term is not about zero-sum games. One doesn't have to gain at the expense of others. All can rise together but there can only happen if the engine of real improvements is based on real merit that will create more means and opportunities for all.

Those others who have been unfortunate to be behind can be helped up but the programs to help them up can only be sustained if the others are not made to feel disenfranchised from what must be a collective objective to lift up the whole nation.

Otherwise, as we have already seen, standards will drop like flies until we become a basket case in the international community which buys from and sells to us.

walla said...

So it remains to say sure we want more to have an MBBS after their name. But what happens if in the process of demeritocrizing the entry to study that course, standards will have to be lowered until our MBBS is no longer recognized globally? Standards and quality of treatment cannot improve because the mind cannot be improved with more specialist knowhow even if the heart can be succored by some flippant sense of achievement.

What for medicine, so too for everything else all the way down to school level which is the foundation by which a more knowledgeable society is supposed to be created that will be more competitive and effective.

The eternal lesson is you can't have the cake and eat it; there is no such thing as a free lunch; everything has to be earned in honest effort applied to the ziggurats of incremental accretive improvements, step by step, one generation to the next. Shortcuts will not bypass the need for personal sacrifice that has been the lot of so many others who have come, put in their level best despite the searing pain of unfair and discouraging policies, and gone on, hopefully to better worlds.

If we want to keep meritocracy as a common objective that will spearhead real improvement and growth while still helping those who are unfortunate to be behind through no fault of their own, create a second channel for the latter without penalizing the first channel for the former.

Then you will maintain standards, help all up, and create honest admiration that can fortify goodwill so necessary for genuine cooperation.

So that fake monoracial politics can end itself on this land.

walla said...





























James said...

Ethorist, those who comment about the chinaman with zories being able to support their children to University abroad, don't understand the basic concept of thrift and that one's wealth need not to be blatantly displayed. Honest money is hard to come by, and thieves and crooks always display their wealth, while the hard working prescribe to thrift, savings and happiness being minimalists...

Walla Thanks for some good reading. 101 economics was particularly good since I never got into economy theory except to get through varsity. I remembered some time ago, you wrote about fusion of asian and european foods, and wondered if you could share with the readers some mind blowing Penang and Serani influenced foods...

etheorist said...

walla, wah, inspired.
James, you are still following!

James said...


Of course!!! Walla, whoever who she/he whatever, intrigues me, could you imagine what would our country be like if she is PM?

Yes, Walla for PM. Beats the entire troupe of monkeys we got for now.