Do you know that Winston Churchill line about how democracy is a very bad system but all the others are much worse? Really? We have some evidence here to prove democracy has some mighty big failings indeed. It comes courtesy of Hong Kong Progressive Alliance legislator Choy So-yuk who wants to slap a 20 per cent salaries tax on domestic helpers. She complains that they get free meals, accommodation and medical services, that the public purse carries the cost of cleaning up their meeting places on Sundays and that they take nearly all their salaries back home. So why not raise an extra $1.5 billion to $2 billion a year in difficult times by hitting them with a tax, she says? We shall leave aside the facts that her revenue estimate would hardly wet the bottom of the Government's revenue bucket and that she would never get that much anyway when the stories you hear say that the number of employers who pay their maids even the minimum wage could be a minority. The brutal silliness of this idea is most clearly apparent when you ask yourself a simple question. Why should Philippine or other Asian maids pay salaries tax when so few of the rest of us do? Look at the first accompanying table. Last financial year, only 1.35 million people, less than a quarter of our adult population, paid any salaries tax at all. Of that number, 333,000, a bare 6 per cent of adults, paid 80 per cent of it. A mere 43,000 people, 0.78 per cent of the adult population, paid more than a third of it. It gets worse. The second table shows you that salaries tax last financial year accounted for only 11 per cent of government revenue. The biggest contributor was capital revenue (land sales) followed by profits tax. Salaries tax was barely larger than stamp duty revenues. If you really want to know who is not paying their fair share, Ms Choy, you might start with some of our bigger tycoons who get almost all their money from non-taxable investment income and would pay less than their maids if we slapped a tax on the maids. But if you shrink from asking these people to contribute, here is another revenue-generating idea for you. About 40 per cent of our population lives in extremely low rent public housing and also has the public purse pay for medical care, education, social services, old age benefits and police services plus a big share of transport costs and other hidden subsidies. Now let's count on the fingers of one hand, well, maybe two, how many of these people pay any salaries tax. So, just for a starter, why not double public housing rents from their present level of about 8 per cent of occupant income so that we finally get a more equitable sharing of the burden of government? Why not? Because Philippine maids do not vote and public housing tenants do, that's why not. Yes, democracy is a mighty fine system isn't it? How much salaries tax do you pay, Ms Choy?