Balance ideals and costsThe government has revealed how much money it plans to use next year. According to the budget allocation guidelines that the Budget Ministry has presented, next year’s total expenses (including the budget and funds) will be between 253 trillion ($273 billion) and 256 trillion won, about 7 to 8 percent higher than this year.
This is far higher than this year’s increase rate of 5.8 percent, even higher than the steep growth rate of welfare expenses for the past six years.
The reason the government’s expenses have expanded so much is because next year, a basic pension system for the elderly will be introduced for the first time. In addition, more money is needed for various welfare and distribution policies to supplement the free trade agreement with the United States and other plans for balanced development. On top of this, gobs of money are being poured into grandiose government projects for agriculture counter-measures, defense reforms, and such.
However, one cannot keep the nation going merely with plans for spending money. The money that the government intends to spend is not going to fall out of the sky nor spurt up out of the ground.
The funds that are allocated so generously for so-called distribution and welfare are not free money. More taxes will have to be taken out of the people’s pockets, or if that is not enough, the government will have to go into debt to fill in the holes. The government’s budget plans are, to the people, a claim for expenses.
The problem is that there is no guarantee that the money written in this claim will be used prudently in places that truly need it. The expense plans that are in the budget guidelines reflect the welfare and distribution ideals of this administration. If we go into detail each one will have a reason and good intentions, but that doesn’t mean that doing so is proper ― and it shouldn’t be.
Creating a budget that inclines toward spending first and then thinking of how to make up for it afterwards is not the right approach to properly run a nation’s livelihood.
We also have anxieties on how expanding expenses will worsen the soundness of national finances and increase national debt.
The budget that will apply to the new government that takes off next year requires a fundamental and thorough review of financial management by the current government, which has consistently sought increasing expenses in welfare.