[EDITORIALS]Optimism is far from reality

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[EDITORIALS]Optimism is far from reality

The gap in understanding between the government and the private sector on the prospects of Korean economy is too wide.
A few days ago, Lee Hun-jai, deputy prime minister for finance and economy, expressed his confidence by saying, “It will be possible for the Korean economy to grow 5 percent this year and between 5.2 to 5.3 percent next year.”
He insisted that there are signs of recovery in both investment and consumption, and that the effect of the oil price hike has been fully reflected in our economy.
However, private institutes, including the Samsung Economic Research Institute which forecasts only 3.7 percent growth next year, have a much gloomier outlook.
Morgan Stanley even raised the possibility of stagflation. Which side will be right?
How happy we would be if the government prediction turns out to be right! But it is too far from reality.
While investment and consumption rates are at rockbottom, even exports have started to slow down. Businesses and consumers feel exhausted as the prices for goods rise with oil prices.
Nevertheless, Mr. Lee preaches optimism, and the Blue House senior secretary for public information tells others, “It is not desirable to talk pessimism.”
So the people are driven to despair, and the economy gets worse. Last year, too, the government dismissed such worries as a conspiracy, but it was off the mark.
Not only private sector experts, but also 86 percent of National Assembly legislators in a poll say the economy is in “crisis,” or could be in one.
Even 61 percent of the governing Uri Party lawmakers think the economy has a possibility of entering a crisis.
The government’s optimism has a big gap in reality. Labeling those people who worry about the economy as “enemies” and trying to muzzle them can lead us to a real crisis.
With such unrealistic understanding, a proper solution can’t be found. Go and visit economic scenes. You will see which side is right.
More than anything, the government must make sure businesses, the rich and the people don’t feel uneasy.
To make them spend money at home, invest in Korea and not sneak out of the country, they must have peace of mind. Then we can find the key to an economic recovery.
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