President Yoon Seok Yeol blamed the large national debt 
President Yoon Seok Yeol blamed the large national debt 
  • Lee Kyung-sik
  • 승인 2023.08.30 13:54
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President Yoon Seok Yeol blamed the large national debt — exceeding 1,000 trillion won ($756 billion) for the first time ever last year — on the lax fiscal policies of the previous government, vowing a return to fiscal austerity. 
Discussing next year's budget with ministers at the Yongsan presidential office Tuesday, Yoon stressed that his administration has "sternly rejected" the previous Moon Jae-in government's "fiscal almighty" posture and "switched to a sound fiscal stance."
The president said that the national debt increased by 400 trillion won, reaching a record 1,067.7 trillion won in 2022, due to the "lax fiscal management" of the previous administration.  

This comes as the total expenditure for next year is set at 656.9 trillion won, a 2.8 percent increase and the lowest growth level in the budget since 2005.  
"Some argue that the government should boldly release the budget ahead of the elections," Yoon said, referring to next year's general elections, but said he was opposed to this notion.  

"Increasing spending through the issuance of government bonds will only pass the financial burden on to future generations, and further exacerbate difficulties in corporate activities and the general livelihood of the people due to a decline in the national credit rating," Yoon said.  
"Instead, our government will focus on changing the economy to a market-driven, private-led one, with the private sector investing more actively, spending money and creating jobs."
Yoon said that the government reduced outlays by 23 trillion won from last year by slashing budget money previously earmarked for political subsidies and so-called "cartels with vested interests."  
The Yoon administration previously has called to abolish such political subsidies, seemingly in reference to government handouts given to civic organizations under the previous administration.  
Yoon in turn promised bold investments in supporting the vulnerable, strengthening national security and building new growth engines.  
In response to Japan's discharge of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant starting last week, Yoon said the government will establish "a more tightly regulated safety monitoring system for our waters and marine products."
He said the government plans to drastically expand the related budget to a total of 740 billion won so that people could enjoy Korean seafood with a "peace of mind."
He then ordered ministers to "concentrate all efforts" so that major bills dealing with people's future livelihood can be discussed in focus at the upcoming regular session of the National Assembly.
"If you look at the accounting, you can see the company, and if you look at the budget, you can see the government," Yoon said in his closing remarks at the Cabinet meeting, according to spokesperson Lee Do-woon in a press briefing.  
The president urged ministers to "pay attention not only to the budgets of their own ministries but also to the budgets of other ministries," said Lee.  

Yoon also slammed the previous Moon government's fiscal policies the previous day, comparing them to a bankrupt business with fraudulent accounting practices as he stopped by a workshop for People Power Party (PPP) lawmakers for a second consecutive year.  
He insinuated the current financial woes of the country could be blamed on such projects of the previously government, which he said were designed to get liberals votes, but "the country was on the verge of collapse."
Yoon compared the previous administration's fiscal approach to a CEO "driving a luxury car like a Mercedes-Benz S600" when the company was bankrupt, adding "there is no company that hasn't failed in this way."
He said that it is "nerve-wracking thinking what would have happened to the country" if his administration hadn't taken over state affairs.  
Yoon said there are some people who say, "one plus one equals 100," and that "we have no choice but to fight these forces."  
He then stressed that the "most important thing is ideology."  
He added, "We should align all our systems and laws with global standards, boldly abolishing those that do not conform to them, and convince the people with confidence."
 He questioned if Yoon was going to "waste all five years of his time blaming others, blaming the rival party, the past administration and media."

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