Taiwan News, Staff Writer
Last Friday, Premier Mao Chi-kuo announced an economic stimulus package that includes subsidies for the purchase of energy-efficient home appliances, domestic travel, and for those who replace their 2G mobile phones with 4G smartphones.
According to Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford, the government promises to boost consumer spending while improve the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to NT$15.4 billion. But like all pre-election rhetorics, these figures often fall short of their expectations. Economically-speaking, Taiwan’s outlook has been so dire that the stimulus package will only help to cure a temporary wound – a far cry from any long-term solution.
So why go through all this trouble?
Put simply, with the January elections fast approaching, the Kuomintang is feeling the pressure to concoct measures to lure in public supports, whose method of enticing votes is to stir up confidence by throwing in new icing on the cake. This propagated short-term package, which lasts through February 29, beckons many to question the effectiveness it could impose on the overall economy.
In other words, the measure was carved up by the government to enshroud President Ma Ying-jeou’s incompetency and failure to govern, whose empty promises led the KMT into turmoil as its popularity continues to dwindle.
In retrospect, Ma’s pledge to improve the economy has only been about improving the economy for big businesses and the wealthy, while nothing has been done to improve the economic situation for the average public.
Re-elected in 2012 and currently in his seventh-year term, the promotion of industrial transformation that Ma talked about so widely during his election campaigns has turned out to be empty promises, exemplified by his push to make Taiwan’s economy increasingly reliant on China through signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA).
After example would be the so-called “633” economic plan, a concoction brewed by Ma during his first term in office.
According to previous reports, Ma said the government will make all-out efforts to realize the “633” goals: 6 percent annual economic growth, per capita GDP of US$30,000 and unemployment of less than 3 percent. To date, those checks have bounced far and wide, as existing figures have come no way near these forecasts.
Greeted with widespread criticism and embarrassment, Ma cited in his second presidential campaign that the “633” goals would only be achieved in 2016, the last year of his second term. To soothe rustled feathers, Ma also spelt out the goals during his presidential campaign, which promised “immediate” economic recovery.
But once again, his promise of “immediate” economic recovery turned out to be another farce, as current situation could only call upon Houdini to achieve those fantasizing stats.
Alas, it shouldn’t come at a surprise that the government’s short-term economic stimulus is in fact an attempt to woe voters in favor of the KMT. But while they may appear to be enticing for now, talk is cheap – as Ma has gotten away with his empty checkbooks.
While campaign promise is an integral part of any election process, Ma’s incompetency during his two tenures in office will only hamper the KMT and its party Chairman Eric Chu from winning the stakes next January.
If there was anyone to blame for KMT’s demise, it would be no one else but Ma and his empty promises.