While prices of many daily necessities continue to rise, salaries are now at the lowest level in 16 years. Studies show that 68.7 percent of the working population feel that current salaries are “insufficient.”
This double onslaught is making daily lives increasingly difficult, and although the Cabinet has set up a task force to stabilize prices, it has not had the desired effect. Instead of coming up with effective measures to stabilize prices, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) continues to busy himself issuing statements aimed at protecting National Security Council Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰).
Commodity prices started to rise following the increase in fuel and electricity prices last year, but the government promised that there was no need for panic since this was just a short-term fluctuation and prices would soon return to normal as they had taken the necessary measures.
However, the reality is that prices continue to rise. The Cabinet’s price stabilization task force said that the price of pork has risen by 20.7 percent and the price of chicken by 8.2 percent.
In addition, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) recently announced that in July the consumer price index and the core consumer price index were at their highest in 17 months, which included an increase of 4.27 percent in food prices. This further increases the pressure on low-income households and more than 50 percent of Taiwanese are unhappy with the government’s inability to rectify the situation.
Unfortunately, the government agencies with the power to make changes are completely incapable of reviewing their own performance and continue to think that they are doing a wonderful job. The main problem is that these people are appointed by the top officials who can decide whether or not they should be allowed to remain in their positions, so it is only natural that these they are only concerned with impressing their superiors.
The government’s main concern is not commodity prices, but rather how to bring about a meeting between Ma and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) so that they can earn a place in history for themselves and prolong their reigns. This is why these officials seem to fear nothing, mouthing off in the legislature and lecturing the public, showing no sign of compassion for the plight of ordinary Taiwanese. Past presidents always paid close attention to price fluctuations. They never let price increases get out of hand in the way they have now, and they always had the public’s best interests in mind.
In democratic and free Taiwan, the public elect their leaders, so they are all responsible for choosing a leader who does not understand or empathize with the public’s problems.
Complaining fixes nothing. If Taiwanese want to break away from this nightmare of rising prices they must cast off their fixation with certain political parties and look at things for what they really are. The public must no longer allow themselves to be held hostage to ideologies against their will.
The nation must live up to its responsibilities and teach those parties and politicians that do not care about public opinion a lesson. To bureaucrats and politicians, power is a drug they cannot live without. It is only by depriving them of that drug that they will wake up and acknowledge that power is bestowed on them by the public and that they cannot continue to ignore the public’s interests.