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[Editorial] Public Burden Increases amid Piles of Pledges

[Editorial] Public Burden Increases amid Piles of Pledges

Posted December. 01, 2007 08:43,   


Election pledges of presidential candidates have gone far these days. Grand National Party presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak promises to pardon 2.6 million credit delinquents. Certainly, the government needs a policy to provide delinquent borrowers with opportunities to rehabilitate and to help them pay back their loans. The government may delete the default history of credit delinquents inevitably occurred due to the Asian financial crisis, based on a strict standard. However, pledging benevolent pardons at every election, such as pardoning delinquent history, are just hazardous, damaging the development of the credit-based society and the market economy. It is against the fairness doctrine when it comes to debtors who barely payback their debt. By spurring moral hazard, such benevolent election promises threaten the basis of the trust and credit information system of our society.

United New Democratic Party presidential candidate Chung Dong-young promises to hold an annual party for senior citizens at Cheong Wa Dae. Chung must have tried to make amends for his pejorative comments against the elderly during the general election campaign in 2004, but the question is raised over whether a party-event can be a presidential candidate’s pledge. Would it be possible that a mere party will bring happiness to the elderly? Chung has also put the “family happiness era” at the forefront that the new government will put to rest the public`s four major concerns: employment, housing, retirement plans, and education. This is yet another vague promise.

“High taxation on high income earners to resource for increasing public day-care centers,” as pledged by Democratic Labor Party candidate Kwon Young-ghil, comes across as just as groundless and overly idealistic. Imposing a wealth tax will incite the exodus of domestic capital to foreign countries, as had been well demonstrated by European precedents.

Unreasonable promises would make people misunderstand the role of the government. The government should be just a manager that enables the rules of the market economy smoothly work. By doing so, the government will help the private sector be able to generate more innovations and gain vitality. Unnecessary interference by the government will cause not only waste of money but also weakening the growth of the private sector.

What presidential candidates have to do is not recklessly making unreasonable pledges. They have to promise to curtail wasteful government expenditures. For example, rather than promising new welfare policies, candidates have to draw up reform measures against the current welfare policies which have been proven to be ineffective.

There are ways to sift false pledges. Voters have to inquire how the candidates will finance the pledges. The pubic have the right to know how much money is needed for each pledge. Politicians are not the creators of national capital. The ones should bear the financial burden are not these candidates but the voting public.