Fri, Oct 26, 2012 - Page 8 News List

Taiwan’s myriad structural crises

By Tony Lin 林騰鷂

In the remaining county, city and township governments, the phrase “of the people, by the people and for the people” in the first article of the Republic of China (ROC) Constitution could be replaced by “of organized crime, by organized crime and for organized crime” or “of the wealthy, by the wealthy and for the wealthy.” The result is a government credibility crisis.

Additionally, the structural crisis leading to a wealth gap continues to worsen. The results of the Survey of Family Income and Expenditure announced by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics on Aug. 17 showed a difference of 6.17 times between the 20 percent of households with the highest and lowest incomes.

If government transfers are excluded, the wealth gap last year increases to 7.75 times, the second-highest after 2009, when the wealth gap was 8.22 times. In addition, the media have reported widely on the benefits for retired military personnel, civil servants and public school teachers who, in addition to their pension payments, get relief payments for three different holidays, a year-end bonus and electricity and water subsidies. This situation is enforcing the view that “officials fatten themselves, while the public starves,” and that is affecting societal harmony.

In addition to all this, potential structural crises also exist in the population, urban-rural, communications, high-tech and national defense sectors. The government authorities, including the legislature and the Cabinet, must address these issues and implement comprehensive and thorough structural reform so that Taiwan does not fall behind South Korea or even the Philippines, and so that the younger generation do not leave the country due to their frustrations and disappointments.

Tony Lin is a lawyer.

Translated by Perry Svensson

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