Angry Doctor

Friday, August 19, 2011

Six Years

Two thousand one hundred and eighty-five days.
Seven hundred and thirty posts.
Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 12, 2011

"London burns: A Singaporean fumes"

angry doc is not above using other people's misfortune to make a point about his politics, hence the links to this post and this.

In the days ahead politicians, ex-politicians and politician-wannabes will no doubt try to gain popularity by promising to steer this country down a more socialist route. angry doc hopes we will not all be seduced by the vision of a socialist paradise and become blind to its many perils.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Whose voice is it anyway?

As the Presidential Elections Committee announces the candidates to whom it has issued Certificates of Eligibility, angry doc notes that he has in fact blogged about three out of the four: Mr Tan Kim Lian, Mr Tan Jee Say, and Dr Tan Cheng Bock.

Ironically, while they each claim to be the voice for Sinagporeans, they hold views that angry doc, also a Singaporean, disagrees with. How is that possible?

The truth is, Singaporeans hold a myriad of views over a multitude of subjects, and oftentimes while these views are in direct opposition to each other. In addition, while two Singaporeans may share the same view on one subject, they may disagree over another. There is no "one voice" for all Singaporeans, and anyone who claims that he can be that one voice for all Singaporeans is... well, angry doc disagrees with him.

It is easy to be populist and make the blanket statement that "I will represent you and fight for you", and much more difficult to make a stand and say: "these things I believe in - vote for me if you believe the same".

angry doc certainly won't be voting for any Tan this election...

Monday, August 01, 2011

Donation Economics

Really, you can't make stuff like this up...

Tax reliefs: Treat all donors equally

WHEN a person makes a donation to an Institution of a Public Character, a government-approved museum or a prescribed educational or research institution, he is entitled to a tax relief equal to 250 per cent of the amount donated.

An approved donation of, say, $1,000 reduces the donor's chargeable income by $2,500.

The impact of this varies for different donors, depending on their chargeable income.

If the donor's chargeable income exceeds $320,000, for which the marginal tax rate is 20 per cent, the net (after-tax) outlay to the donor is $500.

If his chargeable income is between $30,000 and $40,000, for which the marginal tax rate is 3.5 per cent, his net outlay is $912.50.

If his chargeable income is less than $20,000, for which the marginal tax rate is zero, his net outlay is $1,000.

This does not appear right.

First, a donation is a donation. The tax relief results in an inverse relationship between the net outlay of a donation and the donor's marginal tax rate. Why should a donation of any given amount become an outlay that is smaller after tax for a high-income donor than for a low-income donor?

Second, this distortion has been magnified as the tax relief was raised over the years. The tax relief was doubled to 200 per cent of the amount donated in 2002, and to 250 per cent in 2009.

Third, the lower a donor's chargeable income, the donation of any given amount forms a bigger part of his chargeable income and may be a bigger sacrifice for him.

The existing tax relief should be replaced by a tax rebate of a fixed percentage of the amount donated. In addition, individuals who do not pay income tax should receive, in cash from the Government, an amount equal to the tax rebate.

In this way, all donors will be treated equally and equitably.

Such changes should not discourage donations by the wealthy - if the donations are truly from their hearts.

David Boey

angry doc was reminded of the "Barstool Economics" parable when he read this letter; Mr Boey sounds like one of the gentlemen who now pays less for his drink, but is nonetheless unhappy that the richest are enjoying a bigger discount than he is.

Mr Boey ignores the fact that even with the bigger discount, the actual amount of taxes paid by those in the highest bracket remains much higher than that paid by those in the lower brackets. He believes that the a fixed rebate rate treats all donors "equally and equitably", yet has no problem with a progressive income tax regimen.

Ironically, the tax rebate which he proposes that donors who do not pay income tax will come mainly from those in the higher brackets - a man can choose to "donate" $1000, when in truth he donates only part of that, with the remainder being levied from those who pay income tax (with no choice in the matter). In fact, by having a rebate on donations, we are in fact making those in the higher brackets pay for a part of all donations made - we are in effect forcing them to pay for our donations! Is this, in Mr Boey's opinion, fairer than the existing system?


Friday, July 22, 2011

Nationalisation - the cure for all woes?

Nationalising public transport not fair

MR GERALD Giam states that taxpayers already contribute to the basic infrastructure of the transport system and does not elaborate ("Consider the economic reality of transport here"; Tuesday).

His view suggests that, as we have paid for some of it with our taxes, it should not bother us to continue to subsidise the transport system's operation.

We should draw a clear line between state money, which funds basic infrastructure (which benefits the country as a whole) and state money subsidising transport operations (which benefit only users).

Mr Giam does not differentiate between the two. Using taxpayers' funds to subsidise public transport users is an ongoing, open-ended contribution which is unfair to those who do not use it.

Mr Giam also criticises the profit model which he says benefits only shareholders via dividend payouts.
This may be true but somewhat distorts reality.

Investors did not get a free ride. They coughed up money from their own pockets, which the public transport operator uses for its operation and such.

To the investor, this constitutes some risk and it is not wrong for him to expect a return.

Capital formation markets, be they in stocks or bonds, are basically avenues for enterprises to gain access to vital capital, without which any economy would fail.

It is a willing-buyer, willing-seller system which, one hopes, is a win-win situation.

In a nationalised transport system, the taxpayer who does not use the system is not given the choice whether he wants to ante up this risk money to subsidise its continued operation.

Daniel Yew

angry doc does not think that our public transport system is perfect, or that the public transport market is truly competitive; still, he is not convinced that nationalisation of public transport is the solution, or that it is fair, for reasons that Mr Yew has stated.

The idea that "[u]sing taxpayers' funds to subsidise public transport users is an ongoing, open-ended contribution which is unfair to those who do not use it" seems obvious, but there will always be those who continue to advocate it because they perceive that they stand to gain from it, either for political capital, or because they don't want to pay for what they use.


Friday, July 08, 2011

Not sure if...

I AM glad the Ministry of Health is reviewing doctors' salaries ('MOH to review doctors' pay'; Wednesday) and hope that the welfare and salaries of the unsung heroes in hospitals will also be looked into.

They include nurses, physiotherapists, speech therapists and nutritionists.

Although public hospitals have a long way to go to catch up with private hospitals, the step to review salaries shows that the ministry is becoming more open to changes.

However, I hope this will not result in an increase in patients' bills.

David Soh

Sure, why not? Raise service provider's pay, but keep the price to consumers the same. Don't see any problem there...


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

You CAN put a price on everything...

(Posted on the Singapore MD blog)