[EDITORIALS]Market-friendly president?President Roh Moo-hyun gave eloquent explanations on several national issues to the lawmakers of the Democratic Labor Party at a dinner Wednesday.
It is positive that the president made his own opinion clear and sorted out problems that created confusion among people as the words of the Uri Party and the government differ from each other. It is fortunate that the direction of Mr. Roh’s economic policy is based on market-friendly perception and reality.
On revealing the building cost of apartments in government-developed sites, Mr. Roh emphasized, “Revealing the cost is contradictory to business principles. I am against it.” Requiring apartment builders to reveal their cost was the election pledge of the Uri Party during the legislative elections. In the course of policy consultations between the party and the government, however, the “construction cost-linking system” started to gain force instead of the building cost revealing system. This aroused reactions from civic groups and the opposition.
Even from the ruling party, some members criticized it as “a retreat from reform.”
On the opening of the rice market, Mr. Roh said, “Market opening is an irresistible trend.” He also opposed the Democratic Labor Party’s campaign pledge, a wealth tax, saying, “If there is resistance against a wealth tax, genuine reforms that should be accomplished cannot be pursued.” His remark, “If the economy is revitalized, tax revenue will increase. It is better to use the money for income redistribution,” is noteworthy. His words wiped out suspicions in the market that were created by repeated claims that “the Korean economy is not in a crisis situation.”
However, regrets remain over the possibility that the party and the government could have cleared the confusion earlier. It is irresponsible to say only now that, “The party made the pledge without confirming my will.”
While some 40 percent of the ruling party lawmakers signed the petition to review the bill on a troop dispatch to Iraq, the Blue House and the party did not try to dissuade them. Repeated discord deepened the uncertainties of government policies.
The ruling camp must establish effective policy coordination and sort out pending issues.