[EDITORIALS]Economic focus is requiredWhen matters related to people’s livelihood are not solved, public sentiment goes wild and angry voices are heard: “Life is hard. The economy is bad.” “Throw away futile words like a ‘grand coalition’ or ‘small coalition.’” “The opposition party must also behave properly.”
Those were the public voices heard during the Chuseok holiday. Politicians who went to their constituencies confessed “the economy was worse than expected,” and that they “heard a lot of reprimands from voters.” Opinions on real estate policy, the national security law and cleaning up the past may have differed, but they were all of one voice in stressing the importance of the economy.
It is difficult to expect the economy to fare well under low growth, high unemployment and the relocation of businesses overseas. Because of skyrocketing real estate prices, social polarization has become deeper and the grassroots lives of people are harder than the economic indices show.
Politicians and the government shouldn’t ignore such public sentiment. They must listen to the cries for a “better life.” They can’t cover up economic failures with political trickery. The Korean economy needs a minimum of 5 percent growth, and investment and consumption must grow to reach that target. The economy can’t grow simply for the cause of public good, it needs a pragmatic approach. The government must focus on the economy as people want. It loses its meaning if it fails to solve problems relating to people’s livelihoods.