Governments always overlook contribution of middle class

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 March, 2009, 12:00am

Following the budget, financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah suggested that middle-class people [who had lost their jobs because of the financial crisis] could take out a loan against their hard-earned property.

These are properties that they have sunk their lives into and if the government has the audacity to demand this of the middle class, I think that it is time the government made some sacrifices too.

First, Mr Tsang should have his salary cut. I am sure that many of us would welcome that.

If he makes this sort of demand, then he needs to understand what it is like to live as part of the middle class.

Perhaps we could also put a hold on building the massive new government offices, or the link to Macau both largely paid for by middle-income taxpayers. What happened to the HK$150 billion surplus from last year?

Why not provide the middle-class unemployed with a loan scheme?

There was no problem in offering the banks a lifeline when their financial officers were losing their bonuses. The middle class is the backbone of society and is always the group of people overlooked in any period.

In times of uncertainty, the middle class needs to fend for itself. In times of prosperity they are exploited and cast aside when calls are made for fair wages, lower taxes and improved social services.

Regarding the suggestion that members of the middle class could take out a loan against their own homes, these are homes that might have taken their entire career to earn.

The government already knows about the difficulties faced by an older workforce that finds it impossible to get jobs.

He has urged people not to be fussy, but how can you say that to someone who has a family to support, an inflated mortgage to pay and was barely surviving in the first place?

It is unfortunate that such a suggestion should come from our finance chief.

Does the government really want to marginalise and infuriate the middle class?

Anthony Brewer, Sha Tin