Ma Ying-jeou's Shallow, Simplistic Economics: Promise the Moon

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Friday February 29, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

Promise the Taiwanese anything and you will keep them from examining and facing the reality of their present and past, this is the continued strategy of candidate Ma Ying-jeou. Promises, promises, promises, if anyone would total up the cost of all the promises that Ma has made it would bankrupt the richest nation. Yet Ma keeps promising and the simple-minded keep believing. With no sense of economics and no sense of Taiwan history beyond the past ten years, many continue to be fooled by Ma Ying-jeou. They cannot even go back three years to two key promises that Ma made and never kept.

When Ma became Chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in 2005, he first promised he would divest the KMT of their stolen state assets. He failed in this entirely. True he did sell three pieces of property, but he kept the money. He did not give it back to the Taiwanese, but put it in the KMT's rich coffers. That my friends is not divesting the KMT of its assets, it is simply turning them into liquid capital.

Second, Ma promised that he would get the KMT dominated Legislative Yuan to finally move on the military arms purchasing that they had been blocking for years without discussion. He failed again because despite his pretense to leadership, the reality is that he does not control the party. Wang Jyn-ping would finally get the arms purchasing moving when the KMT saw that with Chen Shui-bian finishing his term, it could no longer be used to embarrass him. Plus by gaining a veto-overriding disproportionate majority in the recent Legislative Yuan they can now assure that the KMT party will receive, shall we say, side benefits from approving arms purchases.

Promises, promises, promises, that is the empty reality of Ma Ying-jeou's platform, yet the nave never look beyond the words. As P.T. Barnum once said, there is a sucker born every minute, and Taiwan certainly has its share.