Smaller is better

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Smaller is better

The Roh Moo-hyun administration has been disappointing throughout its term. Earlier administrations may have had lackluster conclusions, but they at least promoted public reform at the start.
This administration however, was different from the beginning. President Roh argued, “An effective government is much more important than a small government.” By continuously applying change during its five-year term, the number of public servants has increased by 57,000 under Roh. The number of government-organized committees has been increased to a total of 403 during this administration. Nobody can determine exactly what their specific functions are.
Privatization of public enterprizes has been wiped out. This government has fattened up public servants, while outwardly insisting that it stood by the weak. Whatever mistakes and wrongs civil servants commit, the government simply has supported them. Thus moral hazards among civil servants are exacerbated by the negligence of the government.
Let’s hope the next president will learn lessons from these failures. The next government should make the creation of a small government its priority issue. It should improve the health of government finances by reducing public expenditures. It should also be afraid of collecting taxes and it must be stingy in using the tax ― as if it is using its own money. Most of all, it should trim down the non-essential from the public sector. The next president should ask himself, “Does this work really need to be done in the public sector?” If he thinks not, then it should be handed over to the private sector. Even public companies that compete with private companies and show poor performance should be privatized, or in the worst cases should be closed. Private companies do much better. Jobs are not created by big government but by a big market.
The public servant’s iron rice-bowl, a symbol meaning they will never starve, must also be eliminated. While the private sector competes fiercely, it does not make sense that public servants are careless with tax money. The next president should push this issue within the first two years when he has the power and will to do so.
He should be prepared to hear harsh criticism from the people. He should not distribute top jobs to those that helped him get elected. The moment he starts to allocate jobs in that manner, reform becomes a meaningless word. If the government goes back to being small and reduces the burden on the nation, he will be remembered as a successful president.
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