At a gathering of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials on Wednesday, the first day of work after the Lunar New Year holiday, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who doubles as party chairman, called on Taiwanese to work together to revive the country’s economy as he reiterated his pledge to boost the nation’s economic environment and outlook.
However, it is difficult to be optimistic about the president’s talk about improving the economy and people’s livelihoods when he did not even bother to usher in the Year of the Horse with a new Cabinet lineup to offer the public a new vision, let alone present any concrete financial and economic plans and policies.
Prior to the beginning of the Lunar New Year holiday last week, a rumor predicted a Cabinet reorganization in the Ma administration after the break.
It turns out, to the disappointment of many, that all of the Cabinet members in charge of financial and economic affairs are to stay put, in light of what Ma’s administration calls “placing stabilization and economic development at the top of its priorities.”
The truth is, if Ma is at all serious about boosting the nation’s economy, the Cabinet led by Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) would have to undergo at least a minor reshuffling of the members in charge of financial and economic affairs to demonstrate the president’s determination to reinvigorate the economy. The lack of personnel changes on the finance and economics fronts only reinforces the widespread impression of the president as one who is all talk and no action.
The nation faces economic challenges ranging from a quickly deteriorating labor market and weakening household income to the growing gap between rich and poor, overdependence on China and record-high public debt.
In case the president needs a reminder, two of the five worst annual GDP performances between 1951 and last year — 0.73 percent in 2008 and minus-1.81 percent in 2009 — came under his administration. The 2.97 percent average GDP growth during Ma’s five years in office also pales in comparison with the former Democratic Progressive Party administration’s average of 4.42 percent growth between 2000 and 2008.
The unemployment rate of 4.24 percent remains high, workers’ salaries are back to where they were 16 years ago and the list of other depressing numbers, such as the increase in low-income households, goes on.
A survey conducted by Taiwan Indicator Survey Research late last month suggested that as many as 84.8 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with the current state of the economy and just 6.8 percent gave it a positive nod — a striking difference from Ma’s talk on Wednesday with claims that the nation’s commodity prices are dropping and that the economy is making a slow recovery.
Ma’s failure to deliver on his 2008 “6-3-3” campaign pledge — 6 percent economic growth, per capita income of US$30,000 and an unemployment rate below 3 percent — has become a bad joke. Hopefully the president’s latest pledges on reviving the nation’s economy will not fizzle out to be yet another laughingstock.
For the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), China’s “century of humiliation” is the gift that keeps on giving. Beijing returns again and again to the theme of Western imperialism, oppression and exploitation to keep stoking the embers of grievance and resentment against the West, and especially the US. However, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that in 1949 announced it had “stood up” soon made clear what that would mean for Chinese and the world — and it was not an agenda that would engender pride among ordinary Chinese, or peace of mind in the international community. At home, Mao Zedong (毛澤東) launched
The restructuring of supply chains, particularly in the semiconductor industry, was an essential part of discussions last week between Taiwan and a US delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach. It took precedent over the highly anticipated subject of bilateral trade partnerships, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) founder Morris Chang’s (張忠謀) appearance on Friday at a dinner hosted by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for Krach was a subtle indicator of this. Chang was in photographs posted by Tsai on Facebook after the dinner, but no details about their discussions were disclosed. With
To say that this year has been eventful for China and the rest of the world would be something of an understatement. First, the US-China trade dispute, already simmering for two years, reached a boiling point as Washington tightened the noose around China’s economy. Second, China unleashed the COVID-19 pandemic on the world, wreaking havoc on an unimaginable scale and turning the People’s Republic of China into a common target of international scorn. Faced with a mounting crisis at home, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) rashly decided to ratchet up military tensions with neighboring countries in a misguided attempt to divert the
Astride an ascended economy and military, with global influence nearing biblical proportions, Xi Jinping (習近平) — general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), chairman of the Central Military Commission and president of the People’s Republic of China — is faithfully heralded, in deeds and imagery, as a benevolent lord, determined to “build a community of common destiny for all mankind.” Rather than leading humanity to this Shangri-La through inspirational virtue a la Mahatma Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln, the CCP prefers a micromanagement doctrine of socialism with Chinese characteristics as the guiding light. A doctrine of Marxist orthodoxy transplanted under a canvas