Monday, July 2, 2007

The DPP: L'etat, c'est moi!

The DPP: L'etat, c'est moi!
The Democratic Progressive Party treats the Government as its Private Resource
United Daily News editorial
translated by Bevin Chu
June 28, 2007

Having condemned the Kuomintang (KMT) for the past twenty years for drawing no distinctions between what belongs to the party and what belongs to the nation, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cannot be unaware of the difference between what is public and what is private. But take a look at the high-handed attitude of ruling Chen regime officials when setting public policy, assigning public offices, and distributing public funds. They treat national resources as if they were the party's private property, to be freely disbursed any way they see fit. The DPP has been sharpening its knives and demanding that the KMT account for its party assets. If the DPP could take a look at itself in the mirror, it would realize how much more repulsive it looks than its opponent, as it seeks to enrich itself.

Examples abound. The Executive Yuan recently spent tens of millions of dollars on a traveling "Investigation of Improper Party Assets" exhibit. Accusations that no one knows where the budget for the exhibit originated, that bidders were limited to cronies for whom the ruling government wished to provide patronage, and that public funds were misused to underwrite partisan political propaganda, were hardly unfounded. The root of the problem is that if a government wishes to investigate illegal party assets, it must do so according to the rule of law. The Executive Yuan knows perfectly well it can't find any legal basis for its allegations. It knows perfectly well that sponsoring an exhibit won't help it reclaim party assets. Yet it persists in doing so regardless, because its real purpose is to divert government resources into the DPP's election coffers. If this isn't "public works for private gain," what is?

If the ruling regime actually believes that sponsoring an exhibit will help recover improper party assets, or promote public understanding of the issue, then its public relations campaign attacking an opposition political party ought to be sponsored by the DPP. Yu Hsi-kuen, the head of the DPP's Central Party Committee, should pick up the tab. The activity should not be organized by the government, and the cost should not be borne by the state treasury. Only that would qualify as making the proper distinction between partisan and public interests.

The DPP has condemned the KMT for "failing to make proper distinctions between party and state." But once the Chen regime assumed power the "failure to make proper distinctions between party and state" only got worse. Take the case of China Steel board chairman Chang Yi-ren for example. During a general shareholders meeting the board of directors approved another term for Jiang Yao-tsung. Yet four days later, the Executive Yuan replaced Jiang Yao-tsung with Lin Wen-yuan. According to the buzz among industry insiders and local governments, the replacement was motivated primarily by election considerations. At the same time, a subcontractor for the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit who encountered a problem obtaining payment due to contractual limitations, miraculously found his way cleared. Obviously, in the eyes of the ruling regime, the publicly owned China Steel Corporation is the ruling DPP's private property and political machine.

The KMT routinely used state-owned enterprises to reward cronies for services rendered. For this it was rightly condemned. This led to a wave of privatization of state-owned enterprises. But now the DPP ignores the fact that state-owned enterprises have supposedly been privatized. It continues to regard high level positions in such companies as rewards for services rendered, and routinely interferes in the management of these companies. Chiang Yao-tsung was replaced because he was not sufficiently "flexible" in enforcing the terms of the Kaohsiung MRT contract. So what was Lin Wen-yuan's duty? Was it to ignore the terms of the contract and neglect the interests of China Steel in order to cater to the needs of a Kaohsiung MRT subcontractor? Were political contributions or election advantages being traded in the process?

Because he gave himself an annual salary amounting to tens of millions of dollars, plus dividends, Lin Wen-yuan's reputation came under attack and he lost his job. Now because he is willing to play ball with the ruling regime, he has made a glorious comeback. Can the misuse of state owned enterprises as the ruling party's election machine and money tranfer machine be regarded as anything other than flagrant cronyism?

Research, Development and Evaluation Commission Vice Chairman Chen Chun-lin said that the purpose of sponsoring an "Investigation of Improper Party Assets" exhibit was to let people know "how a nation's resources are drained away." But who really needs to look at the exhibit? By now everybody knows exactly how a nation's resources are drained away. All one has to do is look at the Executive Yuan's recent "Entitlement of the Week" policy. Checks amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars are cavalierly issued in an orgy of irresponsible pork barrel vote-buying. Policies are not subjected to cost-benefit analysis. Under the circumstances, does the ruling DPP really think the public cannot see who is squandering the nation's resources?

One of the DPP's biggest problems is that it equates good governance with issuing large checks. It has never understood that one must first learn how to make money and deposit the money in a bank account. An even bigger problem for the DPP is that it can't seem to understand the distinction between the "ruling party" and the "Democratic Progressive Party." It seems to think that the government's resources may be transferred into the coffers of the Democratic Progressive Party, to be used as it sees fit. It denies "outsiders'" any right to share in these resources. The result has been the creation of a incompetent political authority utterly impervious to reform.

The KMT's improper party assets have complex historical origins. But at the very least the KMT governed competently for many decades. The DPP has no party assets. Instead it treats government policy, government positions, and government budgets as its private property, to freely disposed of as it pleases. Governing, to the DPP, has alway meant the manipulation of resources, never the management of resources.

From one end of Taiwan to the other, government offices, auxiliary organizations, and even local government construction contracts, have all been painted a bright, glossy DPP Green and transformed into DPP franchises under DPP management. And the Executive Yuan has the temerity to use government money to condemn KMT party assets? The entire government has degenerated into a DPP campaign chest and election machine. Talk about eating people alive without bothering to spit out the bones!

Original Chinese below:

2007.06.28 03:53 am











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