[INSIGHT]Incompetence rulesI’d like to ask if there is really a statesman among our politicians. Various parts of our administration are in a dismal situation with many vulnerable spots, but there seems to be no one who is willing to speak out about the seriousness of the matter and worry about finding solutions. The economy looks gloomy and there is only depressing and unwelcome news every day, while the number of unemployed youths, other people out of jobs and credit delinquents gets bigger. What are those in power doing?
The people are talking about the urgency of the situation but the government is sitting still. It said in the first quarter that the economy would get better in the second quarter and changed its words in the second quarter to say that the economy would get better in the second half of the year. Now that we are in the second half, the government is saying that the economy will get better next year or even in 2007. If things go this way, the economy will get better only when the unemployed youths grow to be in their middle ages.
Support for the administration dwindles at less than 30 percent and the governing party and the opposition saw for themselves that the people’s livelihood was in difficulties and the public sentiment toward politicians was extremely bad during the Chuseok holidays. Firms and capital that have lost faith in the country have left for other countries, and there is a growing sense of despair that our children cannot be educated in our country. Suicide and homicide rates are the highest in years, making the people’s hearts grow heavier.
If the politicians have seen how the public sentiment is, it is only natural that they should try to do something about it. However, many governing party members, while claiming that the economy is the most urgent issue, are not putting the economy as the number one agenda of the administration. While claiming that they realize the people want politicians to take care of the economy instead of engaging in political fights, these politicians do not cease to fight among themselves.
Are they incapable of doing what they know to be right or do they simply not care? They say the economy is important but concentrate on historical investigations. They claim creating jobs is their most urgent task yet spend the day talking about the National Security Act.
The administration should not engage further in politics that evade reality and neglect duties. The biggest task in our present reality is the economy, our economic competitiveness and the creation of jobs.
The administration knows this and has acknowledged this. Then, the economy should be the first priority agenda of the government, and the president, the cabinet and the governing party should be agonizing over it day and night.
It is because the priorities of the national agenda are put in a wrong way that people who talk about historical events or the National Security Act run wild raising their voice. People who know the economy and who can solve economic problems should be taking over the stage and their voices should be heard. This would give at least a ray of hope to the millions of unemployed people, credit delinquents and homeless. This is how politics should be.
The government should leave the investigation of history, the National Security Act and the transfer of the capital to separate project teams. Everyone feels that it is wrong for the government to treat these problems as their priorities and to fight over them. President Roh Moo-hyun might have seen, through recent summit meetings with other nations’ heads of state, how the world is going around.
I am not saying that we shouldn’t investigate the past. A separate project team should steadily persuade the people and reach a conclusion by coordinating and compromising. However, the main efforts of the country should be focused on the biggest task of our reality, the economy.
The Roh administration must have its worries. Unlike at the beginning of its term, the middle and low-income classes, not just the established class, are now complaining about the administration. Many small and medium company owners, shop owners, taxi drivers and employees in service businesses are blaming the government.
The skepticism and contempt of the intellectuals is getting worse, and those in the military and the judiciary are suspicious of the administration.
The farmers’ resistance is also getting worse. As seen in last week’s rally in front of Seoul’s City Hall, the conservative forces are now getting organized and ready to act. Overall, the situation seems to be getting worse for the Roh administration.
The government must come into touch with reality before it is too late. Many people doubt the capability and intentions of the administration based on the last 20 months’ experience. The government must quickly work to relieve these doubts. The only way to do so is to show the ability to solve the real issues such as the economy and education.
There is talk about the ruling camp’s desire to recapture power in succession to the present government, but no matter how capable the administration is of handling the National Security Act and the history investigations, it can’t recapture power with such capability. No one can revive the administration when it has made the economy regress. The incompetence of the left wing is still incompetence and the incompetence of democracy fighters is still incompetence. The people are not going to forgive one’s incompetence just because one is a democracy fighter. The government should stop talking about “a moon hidden by clouds.” It must show us that moon if there really is one.
* The writer is a senior columnist of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Song Chin-hyok