From Peter Schiff’s book, The Real Crash
“Individuals pay taxes on their incomes, regardless of the cost necessary to produce that income. Sure there are some business expenses that IRS will allow, but most are disallowed because they are personal expenses.
But are those “personal expenses” really personal, or are they necessary to have a job and earn a wage or salary? You cannot deduct the cost of a college degree, even though one is required for many jobs. You cannot go to work naked, yet the IRS will not let you deduct the cost of clothing. You cannot even go to work without a means to get there, but the IRS says transportation costs to and from work are not deductible.
It would be hard to perform a good day’s labor if you did not eat; yet the IRS says food is personal expense and not deductible. How about your house or apartment? Could you really prepare yourself for work if you lived on the street? Where would you shower, change your clothes, or rest up for the following day’s work? In fact, try telling potential employers that you live in a cardboard box on the street and see how many job offers you get.”
And it stands to reason that the lower your income, the greater proportion of it you’ll need to spend on these “personal expenses” that are needed to generate your paltry income. That’s on top of the GST you’ll need to pay to purchase those goods and services. Make no mistake, it’s miserable to live hand to mouth in Singapore or America. There are some fundamental flaws in our tax systems. There are numerous alternative ways of managing our economies. Yet, we only see a slew of such ideas coming from American intellectuals. The big difference lies in the fact that our intellectuals prefer to stay “constructive” and that seems to be at odds with them coming up with creative challenges to established tenets. Do we realise how disruptive innovations arise in America? Do we understand that certain freedoms must exist so that the environment would be conducive to intellectual discussion?
So why are we talking about “productive failure” and disruptive innovations when most people are living in material comfort and feeling too exhausted to think and question long-assumed tenets after work? Why are we talking about creative thinking when it must be controlled and guided? It’s trendy and sexy to talk about disruptive innovation, but are we ready to seriously rock the boat?
Next we visit SSN Loo Min Min. The Straits Times ran a report on her, complete with some touching images of her looking after terminally ill patients in their homes.
More than 16,000 Facebook likes for the report on this angelic woman. Looks impressive? Certainly. I salute her efforts, but what do the numbers and the laudatory comments really mean? How many people have been inspired to do the same? Will there be 18,000 more applications for the nursing profession from now on? Will top students compete with the barely passable to do nursing courses? Will young and pretty ladies flaunting their handbags and Korean trips in their blogs be keen on dating a guy who does what SSN Loo does? Let’s not kid ourselves. We know what is right. We know what is noble. But to put it very bluntly, we can’t walk the talk if it means getting out of our covered walkways. The number of likes here are the equivalent of the attendance and the cheers at opposition party rallies. It takes more than a touching article to inspire Singaporeans to do noble things. A change in our pragmatic, self-serving values may not be very good for the government’s businesses.