A hard-up class

A hard-up class

Do you like drinking coffee and watching French movies? If you do, you are middle class, according to Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah. Tsang's monthly salary is HK$302,205, but he claims to be middle class.

This is quite an innovative definition of "middle class" though its accuracy is debatable. Ironically, middle-class people here may not even have the time to watch movies, French or otherwise. But yes, many of them do drink coffee: they depend on a large amount of caffeine to keep them awake while working overnight. And sadly, many of them still cannot afford a proper home for their families.

Tsang's statement shows that he may not be familiar with the financial status of middle-class families. Even worse, his recent budget revealed his short-sightedness. It's clearly lacking in new and sustainable ideas that will lead us to a better future. The main focus of the budget was to dish out a familiar package of sweeteners, while the major social problems are not addressed.

Let's take soaring property prices as an example. Although the government has increased stamp duty, it is doubtful that this will make flats more affordable for the middle class. In fact, the policy will decrease the supply of flats so prices will go up even further.

We are a long way from being able to enjoy French movies while sipping coffee.



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