Many were flabbergasted last Thursday to hear reports of a suggestion made by economist Terdsak Chomtohsuwan that the government should provide subsidies to parents having their first child while introducing a tax on single people. The academic reasoned that Thailand risks future labour shortages and a population-age imbalance and will have to spend huge sums of money to support the increasing number of elderly citizens. At the same time, the number of people in employment and teenagers soon to enter the workforce is on the decrease.
The general response to Terdsak's idea was that the cons outweighed the pros; that any move of this nature would be unfair to several different sectors in society; and that there was no guarantee anyway that such measures would be effective in solving the problems outlined by the Rangsit University lecturer.
However, his idea was still-born a day later when it was rejected out of hand by a spokesperson for the Department of Revenue who cited the policy of taxing people fairly based on their income, not on their social status. The official said the department had never used taxation policies to promote a rise in the birth rate and that whether people had enough money to take care of themselves after retirement or not depended on their spending habits and how much money they had been able to save during their working lives and had absolutely nothing to do with a person's marital status.
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