Sun, Apr 24, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Think tank urges Ma to address nation’s injustices

SAY GOODBYE:Taiwan Labor Front secretary-general Son Yu-lian said if Ma did not increase the minimum wage by more than 3%, he and the KMT would lose votes

By Ko Shu-ling  /  Staff Reporter

Members of Taiwan Thinktank hold up six placards with demands for President Ma Ying-jeou at a press conference yesterday. The demands are, from left to right, environmental, residential, welfare, educational, tax and labor justice.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

Taiwan Thinktank yesterday urged President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to address the long-standing problems of social and environmental injustice and not just fixate on cross-strait issues.

Social and environmental injustice have hampered the nation’s progress, Taiwan Thinktank executive director Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君) said.

“We want a different future,” she said. “If the future leader of the nation cannot create an environment that is more just, how does he or she expect to earn the public’s support, because isn’t the purpose of a government’s existence to protect the well-being of the majority of the people?”

Cheng made the remarks at a forum organized by Taiwan Thinktank to discuss what it said where the six injustices facing the nation and to ask Ma to address those problems with concrete measures.

Saying that the nation’s tax system is unjust, Cheng urged the Ma administration to reform the system and to tax capital gains on increased land value, property trading and security trading. She said a more just tax system could help reduce the poverty rate and narrow the wealth disparity gap.

She also said there is injustice in the welfare system, adding that a responsible government must establish a comprehensive system that mitigates the impact of globalization and economic liberalization on the livelihood of the public.

Cheng called on the Ma administration to nationalize daycare and preschool education, address the problem of the working poor, establish a basic system of national annuity and amend the Social Assistance Act (社會救助法).

Also calling for justice in the housing market, Cheng proposed that the governmnet could satisfy the public’s demand for reasonable housing prices by building additional public housing and leasing the units at affordable prices.

She also appealed to the government to let more students enter public colleges and universities, provide scholarships and stipends to students in need of financial assistance, as well as guarantee job opportunities for graduates.

Speaking about labor issues, Cheng urged the government to map out a blueprint to better integrate the employment needs of the nation’s industrial sectors with the educational system.

Appealing for environmental justice, she called on the government to enact new laws and build a nuclear-free homeland.

Wang Jung-chang (王榮璋), convener of the Alliance for Fair Tax Reform, called on all presidential candidates to present a plan to pay off the public debt, which has reached NT$4.9 trillion (US$153 billion). This amount included the NT$1.4 trillion borrowed by the Ma administration, Wang said.

“US President Barack Obama has proposed to reduce the US deficit by US$4 trillion over 12 years,” he said. “I want to know what our presidential candidates plan to do to allay the NT$4.9 trillion deficit.”

Peng Yang-kai (彭揚凱), spokesman of the Alliance for the Promotion of Social Housing, said there are two primary reasons causing housing prices to soar and the disparity in income allocation: The government’s cavalier attitude toward housing policy and the unfair land and housing taxes, which he said encouraged property speculation, distorted housing prices and created a means for developers and politicians to benefit.

Taiwan Labor Front secretary-general Son Yu-lian (孫友聯) said Ma should declare the problem of unemployment a national security issue as he did for the declining birthrate and brain drain.

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