[EDITORIALS]More work to do on economy

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[EDITORIALS]More work to do on economy

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index is in a bullish rally. At one time yesterday, it briefly broke the 1,000-point level. Several indicators suggest improving consumer sentiment. But it is still too early to say that the economy is fully on its way to a rebound, and there is nothing to suggest that our economic composition has been changed for the good. Besides, the immediate economic report card is too poor to claim that economic policies over the past two years have reaped results.
But the government is interpreting the budding signs of a possible economic revival to justify its economic policies of the past two years and to congratulate itself.
Deputy Prime Minister for Finance and Economy, Lee Hun-jai, yesterday claimed that while assessments of the government’s economic performance may vary, the administration is adjusting well to the new economic paradigm. He lauded the administration for dealing successfully with the slump.
Prior to that, Cho Yoon-je, who was President Roh Moo-hyun’s first adviser for economic affairs and who now is ambassador to Britain, expressed the same sentiments. Mr. Cho defined the administration’s first two years as a period of readjustment from past overgrowth. The long-term slump and uneasiness over the future, he said, were inevitable phenomena of the economic cycle.
In summary, the economic slump of the past two years was inevitable, but the country need not worry because the administration has implemented the right economic policies. Such claims by the top economic policymakers are markedly at odds with the average person’s feelings about the economy. They are also at odds with President Roh Moo-hyun, who has acknowledged the economy’s failure.
If government policy is so successful and the economic slump is not a problem, why did the administration, at the end of last year, pledge to focus all its energy on reviving the economy? Also, why did they suddenly change their perception about the economy from their practice of blaming it on certain companies and on the economic policies of the past administrations?
We can’t expect to come up with the right resolution and prescriptions when we make self-seeking interpretations and complacent assessments about our economic reality. The government should humbly take a close look at itself and start upon reviving the economy.

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