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[Editorial] Presidential Obstinacy

Posted June. 09, 2006 07:16,   


Uri Party member Chung Deok-ku said in his party’s general assembly on June 7, “The government and the ruling party made a mistake of overly believing in the ‘reverse ideas’ and going so far as to applying them to the nation’s economic policies. They also failed to harmonize with the market by regarding the president’s economic policy keynotes as something sacred.” Chung made an accurate assessment, though the ruling party, after its unprecedented loss in the recent local elections, may find it a belated criticism.

Chung pointed out in the meeting, “Critical policies that can determine the fate of the whole nation have been decided in a government-ruling party conference where only a handful of people get together and discuss.” Former chief presidential secretary for public information Cho Ki-sook even once remarked, “The President is living in the 21st Century while the public still lives in the dictatorial era,” belittling the people.

In truth, however, it is exactly the opposite that is true: the public lives in the 21st Century and the president and the ruling party in the dictatorial era. With regard to the government and the ruling party’s failure in governance, Chung cited the revised bill for increasing taxes that was passed at the party’s strong insistence as the case in point.

Chung pointed out that the real estate policies that were devised by only a handful of people made speculators richer and the ordinary people, who are supposed to be protected by the nation, poorer. Indeed, the tax bombs which are being fiercely advocated by Cheong Wa Dae and the ruling party are taking a heavy toll on Korean society.

Although the government’s failed economic policies caused the public to turn their back on the current administration, pro-Roh groups show no sign of regret. Rather, they are clamoring for reforms, a topic unrelated to the public’s livelihood. No wonder Bae Sam-joon, former head of a pro-Roh website Daily Surprise said in an interview with a newspaper, “Media that blindly praise the wrong economic policies of the Roh Moo-hyun administration should close down,” as he quit his post.

Bae, a seasoned entrepreneur, described the Korean economy under the Roh administration as “an economy where there are people who got worse off but no one who got better off.” His remark is in line with statistics that show the growth momentum of the Korean economy has slowed down, lowering the living standards of the high income and low-income classes, and weakening the livelihood of the middle class. Bae said, “Unless the government reexamines its economic polices that aim to win the hearts of the poor by collecting money from the rich from scratch, I will start anti-government campaigns.”

The government’s economy management that is designed to help the government be re-elected and only divides the people has been rejected by the public including Bae. President Roh, though belatedly, must listen to the voice of his former supporter that says, “The president should abandon his obstinacy and change his economic polices.”