Go to contents

[Editorial] Case for Increased Policy Development Cost

Posted July. 22, 2002 23:04,   


One of the most important functions of political parties is the development of policy.

That is why each political party is professing itself to be a party with policies. Then let`s take a closer look at the reality in politics. Income and outgo of the nation`s political parties clearly shows that their commitment to policy development is a total lip service. A clear proof has been provided by the National Election Commission (NEC) that out of 114 billion won in total expenditure of parties, cost used to develop policies amounted to 7.5 billion won, which took up a mere 6.6% of the total expenditure.

Article 19 of the public fund law stipulates that more that 20 % of the government

subsidy should go to policy development. Of course, the rule cannot strictly be applied since the data provided by the NEC added contributions and party fees to the government subsidy. But the political fund law will be better off when it applies to the total expenditure of political parties. Moreover, the government subsidy takes up the most part of the income of parties.

The nation grants political parties subsidy and allow them to collect contributions in a bid to let them serve the nation and the public without resorting to black money.

The most important this of all is the development of policies directly linked to the everyday life of the public. But as political parties put policy development aside and spend more money for other purposes, taxpayers` money is being squandered.

It turned out that political parties have used a large sum of their income to hold gatherings, produce souvenirs and provide gifts and entertainment as if they privately owned the money. In some cases, political parties counted personal expenses of lawmakers as policy development cost.

The public has been fed up with politics putting on the back burner the everyday life of the public while being engaged in political wrangling. The only way for political parties to win back the public confidence is to develop sound and healthy policies. In this vein, arguments by some lawmakers and civic groups sound persuasive that the share of the cost for policy development should be increased to 70%. The National Election Commission and the Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea are strongly urged to toughen the standard of audit so taxpayers` money will no longer go down the drain.

Only then, money from political parties will be spent to develop policies for the public in a productive way.