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[Editorial] Gov`t Should Win People’s Support

Posted June. 05, 2008 06:35,   


The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) predicts that Korea’s economy will grow 4.3 percent this year. This prediction is 0.9 percentage points lower than the one released in December 2007. It is also lower than the 4.5-4.9 percent forecasted by Korea’s private economic think tanks. Given that the OECD has lowered its economic forecast by an average of 0.5 percentage point for other member nations, it cut its economic growth forecast for Korea by a relatively wider margin.

Fortunately, though, it predicts that Korea’s economy will grow 5.0 percent, close to the potential growth rate, in 2009, thanks to the business-friendly policies of the Lee Myung-bak government. Certainly, for this to happen, the government should encourage corporate investment as soon as possible and draw more foreign investment.

Not to mention the OECD report, Korea has been experiencing worsening economic conditions. The nation’s gross national income for the first quarter decreased 1.2 percentage points from the previous quarter. That means Koreans have less money in hand despite economic growth. Regardless of falling purchasing power, consumer price increased 4.9 percent in May from a year ago.

The consumer price index for living necessities such as groceries has increased a whopping 5.9 percent, putting a serious burden on the people. Increasingly more small business owners have given up their firms due to skyrocketing oil prices. Job creation is far worse than the government’s adjusted goal of 350,000 per month. In fact, the government has failed to create even 200,000 jobs per month.

Even considering uncontrollable factors such as the soaring prices of oil and raw materials, the government should take measures to overcome the current crisis. The people chose the Lee Myung-bak government in the belief that Lee would restore the nation’s economy. The government should prove that Korean voters are right. If the government wants to successfully handle recent disputes over beef imports, it should first revive the nation’s economy.

What is most important is the government’s execution. It announced that it would put priority on stabilizing prices. Then, it should come up with effective measures to stabilize prices. However, it finally decided to spend last year’s extra tax revenue on stabilizing the livelihood of people suffering from surging oil prices after quarreling for more than a month over whether to use the money to cut taxes or issue a revised supplementary budget. The government cannot effectively deal with pending issues with such slow moves. Instead of cries for measures which ring hollow, it should put forth utmost efforts to understand people’s lives and unite all Korean people.