Candidates to the 19th Presidential election scheduled on May 9 are putting out a barrage of promises to increase handouts to people. No one, however, says anything about how they will finance such outlays. The reason is simple. That's because all of them are loath to lose votes for being honest. A tax expert said, "The candidates talk about raising taxes such as those on corporations and high-income earners instead of those affecting millions of people. Their promises are empty from the beginning or they are just cowardly."
When it comes to welfare pledges, the contest is on who will spend more. The case in point is allowance on children. After Minjoo Party contestant Moon Jae-in promised to pay 100,000 won a month to a family with children younger than 5 years, Bareun Party contender Yoo Seung-min upped the ante by offering the same money to families with children younger than 18 years. Shim Sang-jung of the Justice Party also offered that she will make sure to pay the same amount to families with children aged between 0 and 11. Fiscal experts estimated that for each scenario it would cost 3-7 trillion won a year.
All presidential hopefuls pledged that they would increase the monthly allowance for low-income senior citizens (bottom 70% population) from 200,000 won now to 250,000-300,000 won. In this case, the government will need an additional budget of 4-8 trillion won next year and 7-10 trillion won by 2021.
But they are mum about how to come up with the money to pay for all of it. Mr. Moon was unable to answer directly to a question raised by the Justice Party's Shim how to finance the extra expenses by simply saying "My election campaign announced it would be 167 trillion won." People's Party challenger Ahn Cheol-soo also couldn't answer properly by saying, "What's more important than tax hikes is improving the transparency of government finances and introducing progressive tax schemes."