Mindless supplementary budgetNever has there been a more mindless supplementary budget. The government passed an extra budget proposal in the scale of 11 trillion won ($9.7 billion) in an economic stimulus package worth 28 trillion won that raises questions of having any effect on aiding the economy.
As largely feared, despite its colossal size the spending has been appropriated to go to waste without doing much to revive the slow-moving economy.
Talk of raising the budget gained ground as problems surrounding the restructuring of the shipping and shipbuilding industry surfaced. The possibility of massive layoffs stoked concerns of further woes on an economy that has been growing under 3 percent for the last three years. The supplementary budget should have gone entirely to aid the industries subject to restructuring and accelerate structural overhauls.
But the proposed spending outline was hastily concocted without any thought and direction. Of the 11 trillion won, 3.7 trillion won would be handed out to local governments and 1.2 trillion won to repay government debt. Just 6.1 trillion won, including 1.4 trillion to recapitalize state banks to aid troubled companies, had been earmarked for jobs and specifically to aid the economy.
The government said it would spend 1.9 trillion won to create up to 68,000 jobs. But less than half — 20,000 jobs for retirees and 5,700 for forest work — are jobs that would last no more than four months. It would hardly help prevent the economy stave against additional blows from layoffs at shipyards.
Since the government has not done any hard thinking, the supplementary budget outline would be in the hands of the legislative to turn it into an effective plan. The 20th National Assembly would be conducting its first budgetary review. It must devise creative and fundamental spending plans so they could actually bolster the economy instead of wasting valuable tax funds.
JoongAng Ilbo, July 23, Page 26