Freeze hiring now, cut laterEvery Tuesday, the day the cabinet meeting is held, has become a day to increase the number of public workers. In the past, just adding a few public workers to the government’s payroll was a complicated process. For the taxpayers who have to bear the cost of such actions, this is truly getting worrisome.
Because the prime minister and other cabinet members want to make a fat government body even fatter, the government has managed to increase the number of public workers by 65,000. In order to cover the wages of the public servants, an extra 5 trillion won, or $5.45 billion, needs to be paid by the taxpayers. The head of the Government Information Agency said the latest increase in public servants would be “the last.” Whether he meant to say just believe what the government is saying or whether he was asking the public to look away since this would be the last time, is not clear.
President Roh Moo-hyun said that if one focuses too much on a small government it is hard to provide people with quality service. Under his argument, if the government is large in size, so is the quality of the service. But the people do not agree with this. Of course there are many public servants who have not forgotten they are the servants of the people. Nevertheless, there are also many public workers who do not remember this category.
We have seen civil servants use taxpayers’ money for their own personal good as if it was theirs.
When the number of public workers are increased, work that can be done by a single person gets divided and unnecessary problems are created. The number of people doing productive work decreases and the number of people trying to have a say in matters increases.
In addition, once they are on the payroll, cutting the number of public workers isn’t easy. The city of Seoul vowed to reduce the number of incompetent public workers, but in the end, a mere 24 were cut.
The presidential candidates need to be firm. Grand National Party presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak has said he would maintain the number of public workers at the current level. Chung Dong-young, the New United Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, has yet to state his position on the issue. Everyone may be trying to gauge the number of votes they can get from the public servants, but with such weak will, nothing gets done. One has to remember the next administration’s task will be to drastically cut the number of public workers to lighten the burden on the people.