Govt. to scale down welfare goals in 2014 budget proposal
President Park, at this point, has little to no choice but to scale down her welfare policy goals, with her administration facing difficulties securing the funds needed to fulfill her campaign pledges.
The government is expected to face strong backlash from not only the opposition party but also from the public over its budget proposal for next year, which is scheduled to be submitted at a Cabinet meeting presided over by the president on Thursday.
The proposal is expected to include plans to reduce welfare spending, especially for basic pension payouts.
President Park had originally promised to give 200-thousand won, or 186 U.S. dollars per month to all Koreans aged 65 and older.
However, it now appears that the government will only provide a maximum of 186 dollars to just 70 to 80 percent of the people in that age bracket in accordance with their financial status.
Then why the change?
If the government hands out 186 dollars to all of the people in the age group, it would cost the government 5.6 billion dollars in the first year the plan takes effect.
By 2020, the figure would jump nearly five times, and even 27 times more by the year 2040. Taking responsibility for not being able to fulfill the pledge, Health Minister Chin Young is expected to announce his resignation after he returns from his trip to Saudi Arabia this week.
The presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae said Monday that President Park will comment on the controversial welfare pledges at Thursday's Cabinet meeting.
Pundits predict the president will use the opportunity to seek support and understanding from the public, explaining how it is almost impossible to secure the money that is needed to keep her welfare promises.
Eoh Jin-joo, Arirang News.
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