Present alternate policies

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Present alternate policies

The Special Economic Committee launched Tuesday by the Liberty Korea Party (LKP) offers a glimmer of hope for our troubled economy. The committee plans to present realistic alternatives to the failed economic policies of the Moon Jae-in administration to help prove the main opposition’s raison d’etre. Despite increased support for the LKP since Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn took office 100 days ago, it stopped short of coming up with alternative policies to revitalize the Korean economy. Some of its leading figures have also been guilty of making one slip of the tongue after another.

In a crusade across the country to re-establish the party’s reputation, Chairman Hwang, former prime minister for the Park Geun-hye administration, fervently attacked the liberal administration for its poor economic performance, as seen in the adverse side effects of its so-called income-led growth policy. As a result of its push for rapid minimum wage hikes — amounting to a whopping 29.1-percent increase over the last two years — and a reduction of our workweek to 52 hours, a number of workers in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, as well as in the poorer class, lost their jobs, further widening the income gap between the haves and have-nots.

According to the Bank of Korea, our economy shrank by 0.4 percent in the first quarter. The government’s wage-led growth policy has backfired, as evidenced by a sharp reduction in both incomes and consumption. And yet the U.S. and Chinese economies are enjoying remarkable growth. Even the Korea Development Institute, a state-run think tank, lowered its projection for our economic growth this year to 2.4 percent.

The launch of the LKP’s special committee is a chance for the party to prove its strength through policy, not politics. Hwang plans to submit policy ideas collected from the committee to the regular session of the National Assembly in September and use some of them as campaign promises in next year’s general election.

The question is how practical the party’s solutions will be. Hwang plans to receive policy suggestions from 2,000 experts. But given the conservative color of the committee, mostly right-wing professors, we hope it avoids adhering to the merits of a market economy for its own sake. The LKP must show the reason for its existence beyond the boundaries of ideology. It must get rid of its image as a hotbed of indecent language and reshape itself as a reliable party to help put our troubled economy back on track. We will watch it carefully.

JoongAng Ilbo, June 5, Page 30
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