Let their voices be heardWill the presidential hopefuls this year be able to resolve the pending issues that the nation faces? As we watch their recent activities, fundamental questions continue to arise. Their answers are crucial.
The real estate policy of imposing ceilings on apartment prices and making the cost price of housing public goes against market principles, and this anti-market policy is a ticking bomb. When a salaried employee suddenly faces an annual tax burden of up to 20 million won ($21,000), the hardship is extreme.
Who will be able to calm the radical protesters opposing the free trade agreement with the United States?
Will the laws governing the private schools and the collapsing national pension program be abandoned?
How much longer will students and parents have to suffer from an education policy with tight restrictions on private tutoring?
Have any of the presidential contenders properly addressed these serious issues?
We want to ask the Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye camps of the Grand National Party about their positions. Both sides have explanations of their own.
Mr. Lee said he had opposed making the price of apartments built by private contractors public; he said he had announced a plan for mandatory child care. He said he had supported the free trade agreement, emphasizing the importance of an open economy. He said he was unable to counter the real estate tax issue properly, and he is currently studying a plan to reform the national pension.
Ms. Park said she had opposed the real estate policy, which is against market principles. She said she led the fight to defend private schools’ rights; she said she had tried to persuade the public of the need to open Korea’s market through the free trade agreement. She said she was quiet only about the real estate tax.
But, as voters observe Ms. Park’s and Mr. Lee’s words and behavior, it is easy to see where the presidential contenders are focusing their energy. Neither side presented specific plans on how to handle the tax bombs, how to reform the pension program and how to save the nation from this hellish education system.
Sohn Hak-kyu, another Grand National presidential contender, is not any better. He only criticizes, without presenting a solution.
Presidential contenders must present specific plans for resolutions in clear voices. What the voters want is not an actor or a politician who specializes in showmanship. Voters want a troubleshooter.