[EDITORIALS]Constructive Action, Not PoliticsThe ruling and opposition parties plan to resume policy coordination meetings, which were broken off last December. They faced mounting criticism for ignoring the lives of the people while waging political strife. The talks are most welcome, considering the darkening clouds over our economy. The parties will focus on how to manage the economy, including a supplementary budget, restructuring, expediting exports and easing regulations on large business groups.
The problem is the gap between evaluating the economy and taking corrective steps. While the ruling party puts equal weight on restructuring and boosting the sluggish economy, the opposition argues for prompt restructuring as the key to strengthening the economy. The ruling party proposed pump-priming as concerns mounted over the slower-than-expected economic recovery. Expansionary measures should be used with caution; the ruling party risks inflating a bubble economy with local and presidential elections due next year. Moreover, the two sides have not agreed on a five-day workweek, a supplementary budget and problems at Daewoo Motor and the Hyundai Group. The outcome of the policy coordination meeting may fall short of expectations.
We also worry that that the recent political squabbling unreasonably polarizes economic and social issues. It is difficult to have discussion and find resolution by simply labeling the Korea Teacher's Educational Workers' Union as socialist, or by dismissing protests against changing the laws on private schools as protecting vested interests. The meeting should seek solutions based on accurate evaluation; political strife should never stop the process. What can be more urgent and important than economic issues? The two sides should not only discuss, but come up with tangible solutions, not just for the short run, but for the long term, based on strong structures.
Lee Hoi-chang, Grand National Party president, urged cooperation with the ruling party to improve economy, despite possible gains for the rivals. The ruling party should produce concrete resolutions, since it had urged the opposition to join the economic talks. The outcome should aim for structural recovery of economy, not political gains or stopgap measures.