The cancer cell, the ostrich, the obstructionist, and the thieves
These are terms used to describe the new Democratic Progressive Party’s government of President Tsai Ing-wen.
Electoral politics is like a cancer cell. It continues to gobble up Taiwanese society.
The so-called “new southward policy” is cheating oneself and cheating others. It is an ostrich mentality. Taiwan has experienced 20 lost years with a policy of locking oneself in, and with constant political infighting over ideology, wasting away Taiwan’s international competitiveness. Taiwan’s populism has made Taiwan hollow and internally exhausted, and has weakened Taiwan.
In 2006, Taiwan’s national budget was NT$1599.5 billion. In 2015, it was NT$1959.6 billion. In 2006, national expenditure for retirement benefits was NT$134.0 billion, amounting to 8.4% of the total national budget. In 2015, national expenditure for retirement benefits was NT$141.8 billion, or 7.2% of the total national budget.
In 1988, Taiwan’s national treasury had a surplus of over NT$500 billion. But, beginning in 1990, government finances turned from surplus to deficit. National debt in 1989 was NT$188.2 billion. By 2000, Taiwan’s national debt was NT$2800.0 billion, and by 2004 at the end of former president Chen Shui-bian’s first term, the national debt was NT$4000.0 billion, constituting 37.7% of GNP. In 2009, Taiwan’s national debt was NT$5000.0 billion, and in 2015, the national debt was NT$6500.0 billion. Presidents Lee Teng-hui, Chen Shui-bian, Ma Ying-jeou, and Tsai Ying-wen have managed to bring down an Economic Miracle to the brink of bankruptcy. Political party infighting has ruined Taiwan’s economy and competitiveness. Many localities have been too eager to raise local debt for electoral politics. In the 2016 general election, Miaoli county has raised NT$39.8 billion, Kaohsiung has raised NT$256.0 billion, Tainan city has raised NT$71.0 billion, Taichung city has raised NT$75.6 billion, New Taipei City has raised NT$120.3 billion, the city of Taipei has raised NT$146.9 billion.
Yet, the legislators elected and the officials appointed are all dirty “hogs” and itchy “monkeys”. “It is not that Taiwan does not have the money, it is because there are too many thieves in government,” and the current chief cabinet minister, president of the Executive Yuan, Lin Chuan, was former president Chen Shui-bian’s minister of finance, and it was he who dug the financial big pit of national debt and deficit. During Chen Shui-bian’s government (2000-2008), there was no financial discipline, and that caused the national finances to become imbalanced.
And now that the new Tsai Ing-wen’s government is in office with the same guy named Lin Chuan who messed up the finances of former Democratic Progressive Party’s Chen Shui-bian government, what kind of a future is in store for Taiwan?
It seems that after 100 days in office, Taiwan under the new government of the Democratic Progressive Party is left with internally exhaustive and wasteful populism without respect for democratic procedure and without any core value of governance.