DP launches a panel to verify free welfare offers

Home > National > Politics

print dictionary print

DP launches a panel to verify free welfare offers

A group of technocrats-turned-lawmakers of the Democratic Party will launch a panel next month to verify the feasibility of the party’s pledges of broader welfare benefits.

Aimed at winning votes in next year’s legislative and presidential elections, the Democratic Party leadership has presented a series of expanded - and expensive - welfare programs ranging from free school lunches to free medical care for all. Pledges of free child care and half-priced tuition have also been made.

Representative Kim Hyo-seuk, a three-term lawmaker who used to be a business management professor, told the JoongAng Ilbo yesterday that more and more members of the DP admit the need to verify the feasibility of the pledges.

“About 20 lawmakers have reached a consensus to check on the feasibility of the leadership’s plans,” said Kim. “We will launch a panel right after the Lunar New Year holidays.” This year, the Lunar New Year falls on Feb. 3.

Kim made it clear that the group’s plan to scrutinize the pledges is intended for the party’s benefit. “More than two years are left before the presidential election. Unless we prepare welfare policies thoroughly and meticulously, our pledges may backfire,” he said.

Others who will join the group include representative Kang Bong-kyun, who was finance and economy minister in the Kim Dae-jung administration; representative Choi In-kee, former agriculture and fisheries minister; and representative Byun Jae-ill, former vice minister of information and communications.

“We have not completed the blueprint for our universal welfare program, and yet unexpected pledges were made sporadically, baffling me,” said Byun. “Unless we have a thorough verification, it’s hard to avoid the criticism that our idea is welfare populism.”

The Grand National Party has attacked the Democratic Party for its lack of a plan to finance the pledges. The GNP said yesterday that the free medical care would cost 30 trillion won annually, the free lunch plan 1.7 trillion won and free child care 6.8 trillion won. The half-price tuition program would cost about 4.9 trillion won, the GNP said, adding that the estimate for the free health care was made conservatively.

By Kang Ki-heon, Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

Related Korean Article [중앙일보]

민주당 의원 20명 ‘무상복지’ 검증 나선다
김효석·강봉균·최인기·변재일 등 모임 만들기로 … 지도부와 충돌 가능성

민주당의 무상복지 드라이브에 제동을 걸었던 당내 전문가·관료 그룹이 자체 모임을 만들어 당 무상복지 정책의 타당성을 검증하기로 했다.

당 지도부가 내년 총선·대선을 겨냥해 제기하고 있는 무상급식·무상의료·무상보육과 반값 대학 등록금 실현 등의 주장이 과연 옳은지를 따지겠다는 것이다. ‘정책 옴부즈맨’ 성격의 이 모임이 구성돼 활동에 들어갈 경우 민주당과 정치권에서 벌어지고 있는 무상복지 논란은 한층 가열될 전망이다.

경영학 교수 출신인 김효석 의원은 18일 기자와 통화에서 “지도부가 내놓은 정책의 실현 가능성을 점검해 보자는 데 의원 20여 명이 공감대를 형성한 만큼 설 연휴 직후 정책 검증 모임을 만들겠다”고 말했다. 그는 “대선까지 2년 가까운 시간이 남아 있는 만큼 복지정책을 철저하게 준비하지 않으면 여론의 역풍을 맞을 수도 있다”고 했다. …

Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)

What’s Popular Now