Transition team hints at revising campaign promises
Published : 2013-01-16 19:45
Updated : 2013-01-16 19:45
The transition team of President-elect Park Geun-hye will look into whether her campaign pledges are “too comprehensive” or “overlap” with each other, a spokesman said, hinting at the possibility that the committee could attempt to revise promised projects.
Questions have grown over whether Park will be able to implement all of the welfare and other expensive projects promised during her campaign amid concern that it will be difficult to raise the enormous amount of money necessary for them without raising tax rates.
That has led to some ruling party lawmakers calling for revising pledged projects.
Committee spokesman Yoon Chang-jung said the team has started in earnest a process to formulate an administrative vision and major tasks of the incoming government and will scrutinize campaign pledges to see if they “overlap (with each other) or are too comprehensive.”
The vision and major tasks will be drawn up based on campaign promises and policy briefings from government ministries and offices, and the transition team will make sure that no important tasks are left uncovered while trying to develop new projects, Yoon said.
At least 134.5 trillion won (US$127.5 billion) is necessary over the next five years to implement 252 campaign promise projects, including providing all senior citizens aged 65 or older with a monthly allowance of 200,000 won regardless of their income level.
What makes the situation worse is that Park wants to raise the necessary money without directly raising tax rates in accordance with another campaign promise. Experts have also warned that the original estimate is incorrect and the actual amount would be much higher.
Earlier in the day, Rep. Chung Mong-joon of Park’s ruling Saenuri Party said during a meeting of top party officials that the transition team should first prioritize projects to push for without “being bound too much” by the campaign promises.
“If we try to honor all campaign promises at once ... problems could arise realistically,” Chung said. “What is important is how to keep the spirit of campaign pledges and how to lead the country in the direction we promised to the people.” Rep. Shim Jae-chul also called for “exit strategies” for big-ticket promises.
“It would be impossible to implement these with the existing budget,” he said during a radio interview. “Why should we waste taxpayer money on wealthy people when we have a lot of places to put money in to overcome the economic crisis?”
The lawmaker said the senior pension pledge should be revised to have it reflect income levels, claiming once again that it makes no sense to provide rich people like Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee with a monthly allowance.
“If there are parts in the campaign pledges that we found problematic in the course of drawing up a budget, we have to confess them to the people,” he said. “If there are wrong things, we have to tell the people about it even if it is too late now. That would be the right and honest attitude.”