By Beth Main
In a shocker of a revelation, a democratic country is unsatisfied with its government. Stop the presses!
According to recent polls by news network TVBS, 62 percent of Taiwanese were pessimistic about the island’s development this year after a crappy 2012, 82 percent expected prices to rise a lot this year, 75 percent thought unemployment would worsen and 58 percent expected a harder time this year than last year.
In proper form, everything is being blamed on President Ma Ying-jeou. SCMP reports:
Ma’s approval rating remained stuck at just 13 per cent for the fourth month in a row according to another TVBS poll late last month, with 70 per cent saying his performance was disappointing. Sixty-four per cent of those polled said they had lost confidence in the Ma administration for the remainder of its term, which will end in May of 2016.
The government claims that Taiwan has been a “victim of circumstance” and was affected badly by the European debt crisis. The government threw some statistics right back at the public: an unemployment rate below 4.1 percent and a rise in the consumer price index of no more than 2 per cent, they even forecast economic growth of 3.8 percent this year.
Unfortunately not everyone agrees with this optimism, many economic institutions actually lowered their estimates to below 3.5 percent, saying that Western austerity measures will drag down global economic growth.
Despite saying that it sympathises with people’s worries and that is will do its best in the coming years, the Ma government rather tactlessly just handed out NT$130 billion in year-end bonuses to its own employees while most people have seen no wage increases or bonuses for 14 years.
To add insult to injury, “the average misery index, which includes the sum of unemployment and inflation rates, had stood at 6.16 during Ma’s time in office since May 2008 – the worst in the history of Taiwan’s presidents.”
So there is no getting away from it, even opinion polls from the pro-government newspapers China Times and United Daily agree that the Taiwanese have a bleak outlook for both Ma and the country.