[EDITORIALS]No more excusesIt has been six months since President Roh Moo-hyun took office. The time the Roh administration said necessary in building the new government’s working systems has expired. Six months is also the length of time the administration demanded for a “honeymoon period” while it was getting organized.
Now the administration will be held responsible for whatever it does. It is time for the administration to get its systems in order and present a clear vision for the future of the nation.
A recent poll shows that the Roh administration has failed most visibly in economic affairs. In particular, Koreans in their 30s and 40s and therefore the most active in economic affairs, are strongly discontented with the administration’s economic policies. Administration slogans like “$20,000 per capita GDP” and “Korea: the economic hub of Northeast Asia” will not solve the current problems. The administration must present a clear blueprint that the public and businesses can agree on. It should formulate policies to reduce the unemployment rate among our youth and to make it easier for businesses to do business here.
Focusing on welfare and distribution is something that should be addressed when the economy is in high gear, but not now when business is struggling. Right now, the administration needs to show some flexibility in its economic policies to get the Korean economy back on a growth track.
The administration should take a firmer stance on labor issues. Many ordinary Koreans think that organized labor has grown too egotistical. Businesses are moving plants overseas out of fear of the Roh administration’s pro-labor stance. When the economy is in difficulty, the government should promote pro-business policies.
The Roh administration should also devote more efforts to bringing peace to our societal wars. Clashes between classes, regions, and generations are prevalent in Korean society today. According to the survey cited above, settling social conflicts should rank right after improving the economy. Most respondents consider social conflict in the South as a more important issue than even the North Korean nuclear weapons problem. The issue is too serious to be labeled as an inevitable bump on the road to democracy. The strife is too great; the conflicts too bitter. We see no efforts being made by the administration to unify the nation.
The president should polish up his speaking style. His often blunt remarks were at first regarded as frank and fresh. Now they mar the president’s authority and make the public uneasy. This is the second beginning. Lack of experience can no longer be used as an excuse.