[EDITORIALS]Two and a half long yearsThe Roh Moo-hyun administration is now halfway through its term. The Blue House has signaled that it is ready for a new start, going so far as to replace its chief of staff. But one cannot escape the impression that there is insufficient self-judgment and contrition for the shortcomings and mistakes of the last two and a half years.
Kim Byong-joon, the Blue House chief secretary for national policy, admitted to reporters yesterday that the Blue House was “still hearing complaints that nothing has gotten better with the stalled economy and problems such as the youth unemployment situation.” He said that one should not expect to see immediate results in a mere two and half years. The administration inherited all sorts of economic problems, he said, and they require long-term measures rather than short-term solutions.
While the JoongAng Ilbo does not intend to take on Mr. Kim’s statements one by one, we do see a problem in his rationalization that the administration’s economic policies failed because there wasn’t enough time. Looking back, the last two and half years seem rather long, what with all the turmoil and confusion we experienced. Politics always seem to have come before the economy, causing a social rift which in turn aggravated the recession. Corporate activity has dwindled, and households find it harder and harder to make ends meet. As the middle-class shrinks, the tension between the haves and the have-nots is getting worse.
The construction of a social safety net is being manipulated by politics, and there are no signs that things are going to get better. A tendency to cling on to the past rather than look to the future, to bring down others than rise above the situation, has brought about the present crisis. It would be highly dangerous to claim that this is a long-term prescription for the future of our society.
This should be the last time the Blue House complains about not having had enough time. The first half of Mr. Roh’s term having been wasted, the remaining two and a half years look remarkably short. The government should reconfigure its management structure, keeping in mind that the possibility of crisis looms.
The most urgent task is to establish a national goal, focused on the future, that everyone in the country can agree on, instead of splitting into sides and fighting about the past.
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