[EDITORIALS]Economy’s vital signs failingDespite the government’s optimistic predictions, the Korean economy is slipping into the mire of stagnation each day.
As the slump in domestic consumption continues, even the incomes of professionals such as lawyers and accountants are falling. Domestic car sale estimates, which were once forecast to increase 15 percent, have been revised downward, to a 9 percent decrease.
Ominous signs that depict the present state of the Korean economy are everywhere. The number of empty downtown offices is on the rise, and in the market, more shops and factories are listed for sale. Following the sluggish sales of department stores, name-brand boutiques have also seen their revenues plummet.
While the economy sputters, as the price of commodities goes up, the sufferings of ordinary people get aggravated. All of society is unsettled and uneasy.
Is the government aware of what regular folks are going through and the anxieties of business people? After President Roh Moo-hyun dismissed gloominess about the Korean economy as mere conspiracy talk, no one in the business circles or any bureaucrats at economic ministries will use the word “crisis.” Even if they worry about the economy, they dare not mention it.
Just banning the word “crisis” won’t make one disappear. The government’s aimlessness alone proves that we are indeed in a crisis.
Ever since it took office 1.5 years ago, the current administration has failed to boost the confidence of the people. It has talked about taking care of the economy, but in practice it has only created situations that have divided national opinion, such as the debates on the redistribution of wealth and the moving of the capital. The uneasiness that has resulted from it is also the cause of the crisis.
Many worry that even exports, the last bright spot of our economy, will run into difficulties toward the end of the year. The president must produce a plan to deal with the economy after carefully re-examining the reason behind people’s anxiety and the lackluster spending by businesses and consumers. We ask the president to produce a vision and blueprint that can give assurance to businesses, consumers and ordinary people, and back it up with action.