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[Editorial] Government’s Policy Failure

Posted November. 07, 2006 06:59,   


President Roh Moo-hyun brought up his “Vision 2030” again during yesterday’s address to the National Assembly. One of the goals of the vision is to “start laying the groundwork for an innovative and dynamic economy.” However, it seems that President Roh has done nothing to realize this. He failed to do the basics such as maintaining a growth engine for the future and restructuring the public pension system. This is why his Vision 2030, created in the last phase of his term in office, is merely rhetoric lip service to many people.

If the government has delivered its promises and produced tangible results, the public would have applauded the president’s speech. Yet, just the opposite has happened. The public does not trust the government’s pledges of “solving real estate issues and revitalizing and stabilizing the economy for regular Koreans.” Koreans now feel frustrated with the real estate policies that focus on retaliatory heavy taxes and with the economic policies that suppress growth in the private sector.

Even when the government inflates its innovative performances, its incompetence can be found in the car license plates situation. The Ministry of Construction and Transportation began replacing the license plates in 2003, but it is still handling the problems and complaints. The license plate design has changed five times, resulting in six different types. Automobiles of the same model may carry different license plates in the front and back depending on the date of delivery. The ministry’s stopgap measures demonstrate the true aspect of the president’s remark that Korea will soon join the ranks of advanced countries.

President Roh said he felt sorry for the sluggish economy. However, there are many more. Even when it’s clear that the policy has failed, the government continues to pour budget and management capabilities to “compensate for the market failure,” and restricts the public conveniences, which has created more ills than it can cure.

The government recently announced its intention to strengthen supervision on housing financing and control the price of pre-sale apartments even though it is actually behind the recent appreciation in real estate prices. This is a typical vicious cycle that the policy failure has brought about under tightened government control. Meanwhile, innovation and vitality are both dying.