[EDITORIALS]Who's Watching the Spending?

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[EDITORIALS]Who's Watching the Spending?

The year's second supplemental budget, this time proposing 1.9 trillion won ($1.47 billion) in additional spending, is about to become reality without a scratch amid neglect by the government and politicians. The consideration of the new budget is a mirror image of the passage of the first supplement, when the National Assembly approved the 5.06 trillion won government proposal without committee review. The bill was even bundled with the recommendation to replace the then-minister of unification.

President Kim Dae-jung said last Friday that the second supplemental budget is intended to prevent the erosion of our growth potential. The economy has been in shock following the terror attacks in the United States, making it more important than ever that domestic demand should be supported, he said. Even those in the opposition or among the general public who had been opposed to more government spending have agreed with the need to spend more after the sudden shift in the economic climate.

But has the proposal been looked at carefully? The main parties agreed last week to put the budget to a vote Wednesday following just a day of deliberation each by the standing committee and then the appropriations committee. The opposition leadership had even agreed with the government before the proposal reached the committees that it would support the bill. There has been criticism inside the opposition that such indifference led to a blase attitude in the administration; only one economic minister appeared before the committees.

Recognizing the need for more spending is different from agreeing to the details of the budget nearly sight unseen. The National Assembly should look at the items in the budget and throw out any spending that is neither necessary nor urgent. The Assembly finally decided to postpone the budget vote until Friday, but it should review the bill carefully instead of just delaying it.
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