[EDITORIALS]Excessive aid for farmersIt has been learned that the government is considering providing additional subsidies to farmers as the passage of the bill ratifying the free trade agreement with Chile has been blocked in the National Assembly. It is said that the government is considering cutting the interest rate on loans to farmers from the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation.
We are at a loss to know what they think, and how the lawmakers and the government can lead the nation. They might say they are taking this action because of the urgency of the ratification, but it is absurd for the government to reduce the interest rate on personal loans from the agricultural cooperative.
As far as agricultural problems are concerned, the government has been making too many concessions. Whenever the farmers protested, it made promises. And politicians have exercised their influence. As a result, the government subsidy for the damage from the free trade agreement has increased tremendously.
The fund amounts to 1.2 trillion won ($1 billion), and a total of 180 trillion won in government subsidies will be provided in the coming 10 years.
Considering the symbolic significance of agriculture and the importance of grain as a strategic crop, we cannot approach agricultural problems through economic logic alone. Support for farmers is necessary. But the government measures have made farmers lazy instead of inspiring them to survive, and that has led to the current situation.
Farmers and their organizations have taken excessive action, brandishing sticks at police and burning cars. Can we say Korea is ruled by the law? Market opening is an inevitable trend. That is why the government promised to provide huge subsidies with tax money. But farmers are only 5 percent of the population. They must think of the remaining 95 percent of the people.
The government must reject a policy of giving more to those who stage demonstrations. If it approaches problems this way, rallies will grow more violent and people will never try to solve problems through reason. The president and cabinet members must come forward to persuade farmers.
Lawmakers from local constituencies and farmers should also stop creating trouble for the nation.