The Cabinet Must Make Prosperity Perceptible
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
February 7, 2012
Summary: Yesterday the old cabinet stepped down and the new cabinet was sworn in. The incoming cabinet faces an entire range of domestic and foreign challenges. President Ma Ying-jeou has characterized the Sean Chen Cabinet as an "Peace of Mind Cabinet." He intends to publish an annual "happiness index" reflecting the people's true feelings. In particular, he intends to respond to public expectations concerning social justice. He intends to ensure that the people feel truly prosperous, both financially and psychologically.
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Yesterday the old cabinet stepped down and the new cabinet was sworn in. The incoming cabinet faces an entire range of domestic and foreign challenges. President Ma Ying-jeou has characterized the Sean Chen Cabinet as an "Peace of Mind Cabinet." He intends to publish an annual "happiness index" reflecting the people's true feelings. In particular, he intends to respond to public expectations concerning social justice. He intends to ensure that the people feel truly prosperous, both financially and psychologically.
The KMT's Ma/Wu ticket won its bid reelection in 2012, and was returned to power. But the DPP's Tsai/Su ticket received over six million votes. This shows that nearly half the voters supported the Green Camp. Ma Ying-jeou's first round cabinet appointments must take into account opposition party policy proposals, some of which resonated with the public. He has replaced quite a number of ministry personnel and political appointees. These reflect President Ma's response to outside concerns.
Inside the new cabinet, the fiscal and economic experts have been the quickest to organize. The European debt crisis affects the entire world, No nation can afford to ignore it. The new cabinet teams up Ying Chi-min, who is familiar with industrial development, with renowned fiscal affairs expert Sean Chen. It teams Chang Shan-cheng, who was lured away from industry, with Chu Ching-yi, who in recent years established a foundation for industrial technology. Clearly the fiscal and economic experts appointed complement each other. As Sean Chen said, a ball team cannot consist only of superstars such as Wang Chien-ming, It must include specialists with expertise who complement each other. The fiscal and economic experts appointed to the new cabinet illustrate this principle.
Fiscal and economic problems are a prime concern. The fiscal and economic experts in the cabinet make a strong team. But during the election the question most asked of the Ma/Wu ticket and the Tsai/Su ticket, was how they planned to deal with the issue of social justice. Before the election, a wave of entrepreneurs endorsed the 1992 Consensus, and publicly backed Ma. This consolidated support for Ma Ying-jeou. But it also raised questions about whether the Ma administration and big business were in bed with each other. It even raised questions about Sean Chen, and whether his "economic cabinet" was becoming a "conglomerate cabinet." Therefore, the proclamation that the new cabinet would be concerned about social justice, and cared about the feelings of ordinary people, was extremely important.
President Ma Ying-jeou wants the new cabinet to promote economic restructuring, tax reform, and to narrow the gap between rich and poor. Ma Ying-jeou spoke of "no longer being subject to re-election pressures." He may be bolder in his attitude, and more conscientious in his actions. He must tackle with tax reform, tax increases, and other long unresolved issues. Taxes and prices are extremely sensitive issues. If one lacks boldness and fails to plan ahead, it makes no difference who is in office. it makes no difference when one is taking action. The problems will remain insoluble. But the nation has its fiscal requirements. It must ensure social justice, It must ensure more equitable income distribution, A responsible government cannot avoid these issues. It must boldly confront them.
Christina Liu, the newly appointed Treasury Minister, has yet to take office. But tax reform and tax increases are already the talk of the town. This does not appear to be an accident. Consumer prices continue rising steadily. This represents a considerable challenge for the ruling administration, which must make ends meet, Newly appointed premier Sean Chen said "At the very least we must ensure that the middle class and the common people feel that the system is fair, and that their lives are prosperous." We must use taxation to diminish the public's sense that it has been exploited. This is something the new government needs to consider carefully. This cabinet has been characterized as a "peace of mind cabinet." Its intent is to give ordinary people and the middle-class peace of mind. Premier Chen stressed that future tax incentives should generate new employment opportunities. This would show that the new cabinet intends to improve the employment picture, that it intends to avoid "imperceptible improvements" and an "imperceptible recovery." After all, whether improvements in the economic environment are perceptible or imperceptible, depend on Increased or decreased employment opportunities. That is its most direct indicator. If we cannot provide people with jobs, we cannot talk about giving people peace of mind. We cannot talk about putting people's minds at ease.
Another important change in the Chen cabinet concerns the head of the cultural sector, This was obviously a response to outside concerns prior to the election. Lung Ying-tai is a person of standing in the community. She has vision, Huang Kuang-nan has been appointed minister without portfolio. He has seniority and connections in the art. cultural, and educational realms. These two appointees have considerable administrative experience. Personnel appointments made by these two people would reassure the cultural realm, and put peoples' minds at ease. They would reduce concern in the cultural realm. They would make way for a transition, and upgrade culture-related government agencies. They would make it possible to get more done, and allow soft power to enhance competition in the cultural realm.
The Chen Cabinet has emphasized its desire to provide people with prosperity. So-called "wealth" is not limited to tangible wealth. It includes psychological and cultural wealth. A wealthy and contented society must be rooted in social justice, humble leaders, and happy people. The cabinet has been reorganized, and is beginning anew. The cabinet appointments show that the ruling administration is doing its best to manifest its dreams. It hopes to realize its well-intended plans. This should do more than provide the public with peace of mind. This should make prosperity perceptible.