Old Problems Unsolved, New Problems Created
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
August 31, 2016
Executive Summary: Nobody likes bad-mouthing the government. When a government is unable to solve problems, ordinary people suffer. Tsai Ing-wen wants people not to judge her by her first 100 days in office. We agree. But after 100 days in office, most people are disappointed. That is a fact. Tsai Ing-wen still has time. Create fewer problems. Solve the problems it has now.
Full Text Below:
The new government has been in office 100 days. But many agencies and media surveys already show the new government's approval ratings headed straight for the basement. Some show disapproval ratings higher than approval ratings. The media has used the term "on death's door". Contrast this with the nearly 70% approval rating it enjoyed when it first took office early this year, after its landslide victory. Tsai Ing-wen's approval rating after 100 days, shows that her administration's honeymoon period is long over. Did the public expect too much? Or did the administration deliver too little?
Recently Tsai Ing-wen told reporters "I hope others will not judge me by my first 100 days in office. By the same token, I am not judging my cabinet by its first 100 days in office”. She claimed that every day since May 20, she has been “solving problems". She said many problems are a legacy from the past. The people have chosen a new government because they hope it will confront and solve problems. "People hope the new government will not pass the buck onto past administrations”. Therefore every day she reminded the ruling DPP administration, "People want to see a different government."
Most people echo President Tsai's concessions. Taiwan has indeed inherited many complex problems. When people choose a new government, they invariably expect the new administration to confront and solve those problems. Tsai Ing-wen promised the voters. She admonished her leadership team. Everyone appears to take the matter seriously. Who doesn't want to see a government solve problems? But has the new government actually solved any problems during its first 100 days? What do the people think? Has the government failed to solve old problems, and instead created new problems?
True. Judging a new president and a new government by its first 100 days in office is unfair, and unnecessary. But 100 days after all, Is more than three months. The administration should have determined its direction long ago. Three months is enough time to understand the new President and the new Premier's political character, decision-making style, policy priorities, domestic policy, foreign policy, cross-Strait policy, and economic policy. Three months is enough time to judge their capacity to govern. More than enough time in fact. The US has a presidential system. American journalists and academics consider the first 100 days a reliable indicator of whether an administration is destined to live or die.
Permit us to be blunt. The poll results are not an exaggeration. Much of the data is embarrassing for the new government. It was made public by agencies close to the green camp. It accurately reflects the public mood. After 100 days of rule, the economy is no better, society is no more harmonious, cross-Strait relations are no more stable, and diplomatic space has not increased. All these problems are getting worse. Leave these problems aside for the moment. The fact remains that over the past three months the new government has created more problems than it has solved.
Call it coincidence. But on the eve of the new government's first 100 days, Genesis International Travel, a company specializing in Mainland tourism, declared bankruptcy. It was the first travel industry company specializing in Mainland tourism to declare bankruptcy since the new government came to power. One can dismiss it as an isolated case. But it could be a canary in the coal mine. The travel industry has been complaining for some time. Since the new government came to power, many hotels have been “watching over empty rooms”, or enjoying "five day off a week". The only business they are doing is on weekends. The only advice the new government has offered the travel industry has been to “survive the hardship together”. The industry has gotten the message loud and clear. The government doesn't care whether it lives or dies. The problem is staring the new government in the face, but it acts as if it does not exist.
What is the new government's answer? Why it's the "New Southern Strategy”, of course! The Mainland has been signing Free Trade Agreements. It has laid out its plan for One Belt, One Road (OBOR) all the way to Southeast Asia. Meanwhile Taiwan refuses to sign the STA and MTA. Tariffs alone prevent any industry from leaving Taiwan. The new government sings the virtues of its "New Southern Strategy”. But for many industries, it remains a mirage. SPIL CEO Lin Wen-po asked the new government, "How can the semiconductor industry go south?" The government has not even considered the supply chain cluster phenomenon. The major semiconductor plants have not moved to Southeast Asia. What good will Taiwan moving south by itself do? How does this solve any problems?
So what has the new government been doing during its first 100 days? In the name of justice, it has withdrawn all charges against the students who illegally occupied the Executive Yuan. It has canceled needed corrections to school history texts. It has abolished the "Red Cross Law" in order to incite class struggle and push pension reform. It has used the "Improper Party Assets Ordinance" to conduct a political purge. It has bought off protesting National Highway System toll collectors with tax monies taken from nearly everyone. It has turned a blind eye to inevitable electricity rate hikes. It has imposed its nuclear free homeland policy in a dictatorial manner. It has dropped a bundle on the emergency construction of natural gas power generation plants. It has undermined the dignity of the nation with its mishandling of the Taiping Island issue. It has dealth with the China Airlines flight attendants strike in a manner that encourages all trade unions to follow suit. It has handled the legal holidays issue in a manner that precludes dialogue with labor. One could go on. But the point is, does any of this look like “solving problems”?
Nobody likes bad-mouthing the government. When a government is unable to solve problems, ordinary people suffer. Tsai Ing-wen wants people not to judge her by her first 100 days in office. We agree. But after 100 days in office, most people are disappointed. That is a fact. Tsai Ing-wen still has time. Create fewer problems. Solve the problems it has now.