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[Editorial] More Solutions Needed for “Real” Problems

Posted September. 09, 2008 03:28,   


The self-employed including independent salesmen, tutors making housecalls and extras on TV programs receive their wages after income tax is deducted like any other salary earners. Since most of them earn less than the tax exemption limit, they can receive tax rebates at the end of the year. Most of them simply give up, however, because of the complexity of the tax rebate application, something which is more energy-consuming than the year-end tax adjustment. As a result, 71.1 billion won in tax rebates remain unclaimed instead of being paid to 1.39 million taxpayers over the past three years. In the first policy review meeting held Friday to see if the policies reflect the people`s situation, the government decided to make sure that all of these tax rebates can be sent out to their rightful owners before the Chuseok holidays. The effort is commendable in the sense that the government has stepped up for once to protect the economically marginalized.

These measures can be undertaken by relevant ministries without becoming an agenda at a presidential meeting as long as they are committed to making such improvements. There are many other tasks other than the tax rebate initiative that can help the people if public officials listen with humility. People will welcome any gesture of government help ahead of the gloomy holiday season, which has been dragged down by the economic slowdown and high inflation. If the government can care for people through such measures, it can truly become a “government for the people.”

The government laid out 10 major tasks to tackle the problems confronting the people. For example, people who start small restaurants and bakeries will be exempted from the mandatory acquisition of national housing bonds. Small business owners in traditional markets who are often forced to take out expensive private loans will benefit from a low interest micro-loan program proposed by the government. The woes of small business owners have often been neglected by authorities as they rarely made headlines, but small business owners will benefit considerably from the implementation of these measures.

A great concern of the people is laying the foundation for economic recovery by eliminating the jungle of red tape that dampens corporate investment and the private sector`s vitality. Equally important is to take care of the people’s livelihood, which has been adversely affected by irrational regulation, practices and business-as-usual attitude of certain public workers.

Critics also say the majority of measures reported by each ministry to the president at the meeting were recreations of existing policies. If public officials can renew their commitment to the people, however, such outdated practices will disappear soon. This is no longer an age where the government can win the people over just by chanting extravagant slogans and simply currying their favor. Rather, the people will be truly touched when the government rolls out more policies that reflect their real-life concerns.