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[Editorial] Time to Face the Dire Livelihood and Re-frame the National Agenda

[Editorial] Time to Face the Dire Livelihood and Re-frame the National Agenda

Posted December. 20, 2004 23:13,   


Some in the ruling party are raising their voices, declaring that the keynote of national governance should be changed. Their argument is that, apart from its stated goal of reform, this country, not to mention the government, will collapse unless the government and ruling party members join hands in a unified manner to resuscitate the economy and integrate the public. Regardless of how well their ideas reflect the thoughts of the government leadership, including President Roh Moo-hyun, they are moving in the right direction. The Korean economy and the public’s lives have already been stretched thin. Though somewhat late, changing their perception is desperately needed in order to bring hope to the nation.

Economic predictions for 2005 are grim. Six out of 10 CEOs of the 100 biggest Korean enterprises expect next year’s gross domestic product to grow by less than three percent. The prospective growth rate next year, publicized by “Korean CEO Forum,” a group of professional CEOs and economists, stood at a mere 3.38 percent. The figure is far short of Bank of Korea’s prediction, four percent, let alone the government’s five percent. If that happens, it is inevitable that this nation will see a growing number of unemployed people, and companies and self-employed individuals will be going bankrupt faster than ever. An even worse scenario is that this entire country will be trapped in low economic growth for a long period of time.

Every survey done shows that “non-economic uncertainty” worked as the driving force behind the economic recession. If true, it is time to reset the priority of the national agenda and pull together to improve prediction. If leaders continue uttering words about improving the economy and the people’s livelihood, yet are concerned only about investigating past events in the name of pursuing reform and replacing the mainstream power, no one will dare to invest and consume in this nation. The same is true for the much-disputed four reform bills. It doesn’t make sense to talk about national integration and push for the enforcement of disintegration-oriented bills concurrently.

About the question, “Will the keynote of national governance change?”, Cheong Wa Dae reportedly responded, “To change our keynote seems to imply that we have been doing our job poorly,” adding, “Taking a rational, pragmatic stance, prioritizing the reviving of the economy and the public livelihood is President Roh Moo-hyun’s consistent philosophy on governance.” What an incorrect perception! We wonder why the president talks this way after witnessing the public’s agony caused by the past two years’ failed national governance.

It is high time for the president to make a resolute decision. The president must make it clear that the people’s livelihood comes first and win the public’s trust by credible action. Only when the president respects the public will, just like his words “The president’s policy is implemented when the president and his policy are supported and trusted,” will he genuinely receive support.