[EDITORIALS]An encouraging resignationLee Joung-woo, the chief of the presidential committee for policy planning and the administration’s first Blue House policy chief, has resigned. The government says he no longer has a role to play, because the operations and budgets of various presidential committees, which were once overseen by his national policy committee, are now handled by another office.
The Blue House says Mr. Lee’s resignation was not the result of any disciplinary action, and that it will not lead to any policy changes. But significant changes in economic policies are inevitable because of his departure.
He was at the center of nationwide debates over a myriad of economic policies that caused instability in the economy. Mr. Lee, an architect of the current administration’s policies emphasizing the equal distribution of wealth, virtually supervised an array of new presidential committees, overseeing government policy through unconventional channels that were outside the normal administrative structure.
His resignation, therefore, signals a repudiation of the so-called “committee republic,” with its overabundance of presidential committees, and a return to proper procedures for making policy decisions. It suggests the Blue House could no longer bear the confusion and ineffectiveness that the committee system brought about.
Such significant change in the administrative system is a welcome decision from the current government, which has spent nearly half its term fruitlessly searching for a way to revive the economy.
And now the government’s policies should themselves be transformed, to embrace practical ideas that could bring about actual progress, instead of vague ideological mottos. All the countless “roadmaps” and empty sloganeering for reform are sagging economic progress and a widening income gap.
Now, with Mr. Lee’s resignation, more responsibility will be placed on current Blue House Policy Chief Kim Byong-joon and Finance Minister Han Duk-Soo. Mr. Han, in particular, should not be swayed by political calculations or ideological leanings. He needs to initiate practical economic policies and lead their implementation. Now the government cannot blame complicated decision-making procedures for policy failures. We’ve seen two years of its clumsy experiments, its amateurish decisions and its distorted policy-making processes.