Anything but ‘anything but Moon’

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Anything but ‘anything but Moon’

The author is a Washington correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.

Lately, U.S. President Joe Biden has been bragging about economic outcomes whenever he gets a chance. In every speech, he emphasizes how he overcame the Covid-19 pandemic and led a real wage increase and improved unemployment rates. I was talking to a reporter at the White House briefing room and said, “I think he is self-praising excessively.” Actually, considerable parts of these policies have been in progress since the Trump administration, but Biden is packaging everything as his own accomplishments.

The reporter who covered the Congress and the White House for a long time partly agreed. Operation Warp Speed from two years ago that developed a Covid-19 vaccine in a short period of time was undeniably Trump’s achievement. But the crucial difference is that “Trump is fired, Biden is hired,” said the White House correspondent. Simply put, Biden won the election and he deserves to take credit for success.

The same goes for companies. A new CEO can replace executives with his or her cronies and clean up insolvent businesses, but would not meddle with key businesses that are thriving. A proper CEO would not scrap existing businesses with high growth potential. No matter who started it, the CEO takes credit as long as a project makes money.

As a new administration will launch in Korea in less than two weeks, its policies are being revealed gradually. Nevertheless, no direction can be found, and the focus seems to be overturning the stance of the current administration in all areas such as economy, education, real estate, North Korea and foreign policy. Some cynically say all policies of the new conservative administration boil down to “anything but Moon.”

It is pathetic that public servants have to deny existing policies and write up new reports every time the administration changes. The massive financial cost is also an issue. Many people plead that policies necessary for the future be continued even if their names are changed in the new government.

There are many insolvent projects of the previous Moon Jae-in administration. They should be drastically cleared, but “anything but Moon” cannot be the direction of the new administration. Even now, President Trump still brags about some good economic indicators. But his voice only resonates among his supporters. Even if a project is “inherited,” it is the incumbent president — not the past one — who recognizes the value and proceed with it.
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