[EDITORIALS]Soothe the market, Mr. RohIn an interview with the MBC television network broadcast Sunday night, President Roh Moo-hyun spent much of his time discussing the economy. Nevertheless, his comments were out of sync with the current reality and with the real economy that people are experiencing.
He argued that the nation’s 5.2 percent economic growth was the highest among OECD countries, and that there was no anti-corporate sentiment. He further stressed that policies favoring workers and adverse policies against companies did not exist, nor is a left-leaning policy in place. If one was just listening to the president one would assume that nothing is wrong with our economy, and that some in the media and business community are raising a red flag for no concrete reason.
Needless to say, the economic crisis is not the sole responsibility of the current government. Nevertheless, there is no denying that our economy is in a shambles and that our people are suffering. More people are without jobs and small companies are closing down, while the middle class is disappearing and several economic indicators continue to point in a negative direction.
The wealthy are taking their money out of the country, while the economy is losing signs of life. Domestic and foreign investors have categorized the Roh administration as leaning to the left and are hesitating to invest. The government’s actions in the Doosan Heavy Industries and transportation union strikes reflected a policy favoring the labor unions, while comments from key officials pointed to a hostile sentiment toward people who are well off.
It was enough to raise doubts about whether the government respects individual property rights and a market-driven economy. Attempts to rectify history and to produce reforms have only given birth to endless political debates, wasting our national energy and dividing the country. Yet the president claims that nothing is wrong with our economy, which is making the public and companies anxious.
The government is doing everything in its power, such as lowering interest rates and reducing taxes, to boost the economy. Nevertheless, a single word by the president is wasting all these efforts. What we need to get the economy back on track is not money or a tax reduction, but a word by the president that can calm the market and actions that address real problems and show us that he is really trying to save our economy.