It also recently decided to raise the poverty line so that more households would qualify for assistance starting next year. This is commendable.
As for other temporary measures, it could consider helping the disadvantaged by issuing shopping or food vouchers.
It can even section off several streets where free meals can be provided to the poor and needy on certain dates, such as the Moon Festival, the New Year or the Lunar New Year. All these measures are worth trying.
Lastly, to address the concerns of many young people worried about finding a job when they leave school or university, the government should establish a “college withdrawal mechanism” to deal with the excessive number of universities and colleges in the country.
It should also expand technical and vocational education and skills training programs, so as to resolve the imbalance between supply and demand for junior college graduates.
In addition, it can raise private sector investment and direct it to consultants and guidance groups to help young people start their own business.
Once these are up and running, the government could promote them on TV, as is done in Japan. These consultants can also offer careers guidance to help graduates find jobs.
If the government can show that it cares, its approval rating will go up, and it will be much easier for it to broach more controversial policies and sensitive issues without risking so many public protests.
Wang Jiann-chyuan is vice president of the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research.
Translated by Eddy Chang