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[Editorial] Returning President Should Coordinate Economic Policy

[Editorial] Returning President Should Coordinate Economic Policy

Posted December. 08, 2004 23:00,   


President Roh has returned from his overseas tour. It is time for Korea to have better coordination on the overall direction of its economic policy. The country also needs restructuring of the system in terms of personnel and organization in formulating and pushing the policy forward. At this juncture, President Roh’s decision and choice on this matter is important.

The performance of the country’s economy in the fourth quarter of this year (October-December) is even worse than that in the previous quarter. Worse yet, the prospect for next year’s economic growth is predicted to be lower than this year’s four percent. Under such circumstances, it is hard to create jobs, escape crisis in the public’s livelihood, ease the polarization between rich and poor, stop the middle class collapse, and bring about socio-economic stability.

If the government had delivered on its promise to make a “business-friendly, investment-friendly country,” the economy would not have slowed down like this. If the administration adopted consistent measures to revitalize the economy and sound stimulus packages, domestic consumption would not have shrunk this much. The government should have reduced the sense of uncertainty among economic players and come up with an effective legal system supporting the virtuous cycle of investment and consumption. If that were the case, the administration could have reduced risk factors in the economy without resorting to excessive interest rate cuts and rushing investment in finance and the public pension scheme.

It is time for the government to learn a lesson from its own mistakes and find a new answer, albeit belated. The administration should conclude that its irresponsible and incapable advisers, who adopted obscure “long-term measures” and failed to persuade the market, are insufficient. If those who think that “ideological code” can sway the economy continue to wield power in various committees and the ruling party, confusion and drifting of the economic policy will not stop.

Furthermore, President Roh should clear confrontations and confusing voices coming from the prime minister, the economy vice prime minster, policymakers in Cheong Wa Dae, and the ruling party. Such uncoordinated and unorganized and, as a result, untimely policies as we see now cannot contribute to revival of the economy and improvement of people’s livelihood. President Roh should seek a turning point in his economic policy by deploying business-friendly, market-friendly experts at the heart of the decision making. It is the right way to save the general public.