As taxpayers have learned to their cost, the Yingluck administration is a government of "firsts". Worsening traffic jams are a daily reminder of the "first-car" tax rebate scheme, even though it did allow commuters more freedom. Then there is the rise in household debt, part of which has been blamed on the "first-home" incentive scheme.
So when news of a proposed "first-baby" tax rebate, to be financed by a tax levy on those yet to marry, broke in social media, nervous singles made the mistake of taking it seriously. It took two official denials to convince them otherwise. But while it was ridiculed by some because singles already pay higher tax, the proposal by economist Terdsak Chomtohsuwan is not entirely without merit. Indeed, it has provoked a lively and worthwhile debate on a topic rarely in the public eye.
The Rangsit University lecturer is merely looking over the horizon and warning of trouble ahead if we do not prepare for the day when the old outnumber the young; a time that will come sooner than many think. Our population is beginning to turn grey with citizens aged 60 and over making up a fifth of the total, and an exceptionally low birth rate of 1.6 children per family.
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