[EDITORIALS]A hundred maps and no ideasIt may be stretching things to expect the economy to improve under the current administration, since the government itself seems to have given up on it. Having said he would devote everything he had to the economy this year, the president somehow seems to have turned the responsibility over to the prime minister. But the economic review meeting that the prime minister recently presided over was unable to address a single tangible measure to improve the economy.
Nor has the vice prime minister been able to come up with any remedies; he is too busy explaining why the growth rate is in decline. The presidential adviser on economic policy, whose mandate is to review the general economic situation, is fixated on real estate policy. The National Economic Advisory Council may as well change its name to the National Real Estate Advisory Council.
This administration is dedicated to only two economic policies: abruptly moving state-owned companies, which had been having no particular problems, out of Seoul, and forcing Gangnam real estate prices down. The government says letting up on the restrictions on factory construction in the Seoul area would violate the principle of balanced national development. It says it is nonsense to talk of revitalizing the construction industry, because that would fuel real estate speculation. In the meantime, no solutions are in sight on how to productively use 400 trillion won ($381 billion) in funds floating in the market, or how to deal with skyrocketing oil prices. The government is busying itself with discussions and public forums, and making no actual decisions. Now the people are weary. They are fed up with two and a half years of talk. They are sick and tired of government officials who change their position every time there is trouble. One wonders whatever became of the 100 or so “roadmaps” the government crafted for one thing or another.
The essential role of the government is to protect the people’s lives and property, allowing them a good life. This government is halfway through its tenure, and has no idea what to do to improve the people’s livelihood. The government needs to keep in mind that no administration that damaged the economy has received a good assessment, no matter how it has packaged its reforms.