Don’t fool the public

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Don’t fool the public

The recent listing of 36 so-called key economic achievements under the Moon Jae-in administration by Hong Nam-ki, the deputy prime minister for economic affairs and finance minister, on Facebook will embarrass many. He claims there are “hidden” achievements apart from the government’s publicized “escalation of the economy into the ranks of world’s 10.”

Most of the 36 achievements were repackaged to credit the Moon administration. Korea’s GDP in the top 10 ranks and its historic-high exports cannot be owed to the government. The economy has been progressing across 60 years. Companies have raised competitiveness and elevated national capabilities to turn the economy into a trade powerhouse. The feat can hardly be achieved within the last five years.

The claim about spurring a second venture boom and preemptive deregulation also cannot be agreed to. Promotion of venture enterprises had been pushed from the conservative Park Geun-hye administration. The chair of the presidential committee on fourth industrial revolution refused to take his second term to protest additional regulations on the venture industry. The government touts the country as an exemplary case in fighting Covid-19. But that is owed entirely to public cooperation and devotion by medical professionals while the government policy wreaked havoc on self-employed business.

What is most laughable is Hong’s claim that the government has brought about “housing stability” when apartment prices and rent actually jumped by the world’s highest. Former Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Kim Dong-yeon who is bidding for presidency exposed that he had to argue loudly when a key presidential aide suggested imposing a 100 percent tax on capital gains from property sales. The idea of levying capital gains tax inexorably can only come from a socialist regime. Hong’s assertion about having created “quality jobs” is also preposterous. Irregular jobs surged and employment of college graduates has hit a 10-year low. The government also claims it has addressed demographic challenges, but birth rates have hit a record low.

It is farcical to package major policy failures as achievements. Will the failures in its real estate, labor market and nuclear phase-out policies just go away?

The self-hype ahead of the March 9 presidential election is only making fools of voters.
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