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Rival lawmakers clash over government's economic agendas Updated: 2017-09-14 10:32:52 KST


Rival political parties weren't on the same page over the government's economic agenda.
The opposition pointed to the double-digit hike in minimum wage for next year, saying it will be a burden on businesses and could lead to a drop in employment.

"The government proposes a gradual wage hike to about 9 dollars an hour by 2020.
What's your take?"

"This year it was subject to a relatively big hike of 16.4 percent. However, it has been fairly low until now, so that was needed. But we will monitor conditions going forward to determine the pace of future hikes."

Opposition lawmakers also criticized the government's plans to turn non-regular workers into full-time employees and creating more public sector jobs.
Citing the government's proposal to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy, they said it will only burden taxpayers further down the line to fund such policies.
But the government reiterated its stance that it is not considering collecting more taxes at this point, with the ruling party saying that the government's policies are needed in the current dire economic situation.

"Next year, the baby boomer generation -- which has been the center of consumption -- will retire, and their children will rush into the job market. We face the threat of a further slump in spending and an increase in youth unemployment."

"There are many risk factors -- and that's why we need active fiscal measures. That's why next year's budget is focused on job creation, centered on industry and improving productivity."

Another point of contention was the government's push for nuclear-free energy policies, with the opposition saying that even the past liberal administrations recognized the need for nuclear energy.

"President Moon Jae-in has ordered that the construction of new plants be suspended, and that the lifetimes of aging reactors not be extended. Can we understand this as the policy direction of the Moon government?

"We plan to draw up a plan for this in the coming months, but that direction is likely. However, there is a limit to what we can do in a five-year term. We can only reduce our dependence on nuclear energy and increase substitutes."

The ruling party also used the session to shed light on irregularities under the previous conservative government in overseas resource developments, saying they resulted in massive losses and that those involved need to be held responsible.
The four-day parliamentary questions session will wrap up on Thursday, with a focus on education, culture and social affairs.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.
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