[EDITORIALS]Mr. Roh sees the light

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[EDITORIALS]Mr. Roh sees the light

President Roh Moo-hyun made his televised New Year’s address last night, at an unusually late hour. The address focused on resolving problems surrounding public welfare. Mr. Roh mostly stayed away from discussing the current series of political events related to his agenda. It was encouraging to see that he was willing to run the country with public welfare as the focal point and that he would not be swayed by politicking.
During the speech, Mr. Roh spent much time discussing the issue of polarization. He said the key to resolving the polarization problems is to create more jobs, and added that stabilizing the national economy could be another solution. His idea was in line with what we had been arguing all along ― that the solution to polarization is to create jobs through growth. It is a welcoming sign that the president has finally recognized the best and the quickest solution to this problem.
Now it comes down to him making good on his words. The only way to create more jobs is to encourage corporate capital investment, which will in turn help the economy grow. However, while he stressed the importance of job creation, Mr. Roh did not specify how he was going to accomplish the task. He did mention further developing small and medium-sized companies and the service industry, but he was vague at best on that front. There have got to be more concrete plans, such as ways to quickly boost corporate capital spending, or how to improve our education system in accordance with constantly changing demand for different types of personnel in the workplace.
Mr. Roh emphasized “responsibility” in his address. He said that in order for us to solve the problems that confront us both today and in the future, we as a society have to think and act responsibly. However, when we get down to the details of the current administration’s work, we wonder just who it is that has to be responsible.
The policies on resolving problems rising from real estate speculation and the escalating cost of private education, establishing a social safety net, preparing for an aging society and reversing the low birth rate are all necessary, but given the difficulty of securing the necessary resources or their overlapping with other policies, what we really need is a more balanced approach. There are always times when we cannot implement certain policies because of a lack of financial means, or because there are more important issues to consider. A responsible commander-in-chief is someone who mulls over priorities of policies, makes a decision and is accountable.
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