[Letters] Unreasonable welfare is doomed to failAlthough the referendum on the scope of the free school lunch program in Seoul was invalidated due to low turnout, the Seoulites’ hope for a practical welfare policy and warning against a pork-barreling policy were still indirectly confirmed. Although the turnout was lower than 33.3 percent, the limit to open up the ballot boxes, it is meaningful that 2.15 million Seoul voters still cast ballots despite the organized efforts by the liberal politicians to discourage voting.
The referendum was not an election to express the voters’ opinions on a political party or a politician, but it was a vote to decide the direction of the city’s welfare policy. It is clear that the voters who participated cast ballots to choose the right welfare policy.
Most of the voters who cast ballots did so because they did not want Korea to suffer from reckless welfare policy, like the cases of some Central and South American nations. They cast ballots because they did not want the next generation to pay the burden. Therefore, it is very regretful that their intentions were not reflected due to the referendum boycott.
Because the referendum was invalidated, it meant that Seoul residents made no choice between a free school lunch program for all or a step-by-step provision of the free lunch program. But realistically, the current free school lunch program is expected to be widened.
At this point, what we have to choose is the direction of welfare policy on other issues.
Unreasonable welfare policy without raising taxes has already failed not only in South American nations but also European countries. We must remember that the state-financed welfare programs are not “free” but paid by our tax money.
Nam Kwang-kyu, professor at the Asiatic Research Institute of Korea University