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United Daily News: Ring out 2012, reflect on Taiwan's ills

United Daily News: Ring out 2012, reflect on Taiwan's ills

We are finally bidding farewell to 2012, a somewhat wishy-washy Year of the Dragon. As we venture out to celebrate the New Year, we might be unable to forget all of our worries, fears and anxieties but we should at least learn to avoid repeating our past mistakes.
Over the past year, we have come to better understand the country's ills. Not only are our democratic reforms stagnating, our economy has also been weak. Gaps between the generations and social classes are growing ever more evident. We feel deep regret that our ruling and opposition parties have wasted much time wrestling over such relatively simple issues as reinstatement of a capital gains tax on stock transactions, lifting of a ban on U.S. beef containing traces of a leanness-enhancing drug and hikes of fuel and electricity prices during the year. They should have instead devoted more energy to address far more pressing issues, like the flagging economic growth, lagging technological upgrades and the ever-growing youth unemployment.
After two rounds of power transitions between different political parties, we have come to understand that the model of two major political parties competing for ruling power is no guarantee for a solution to problems or challenges facing our country.
We ordinary people should be more active in taking part in debates on public issues. Our country needs brainstorming by diverse groups of people to break the polarized thinking and sort out new approaches to deal with our problems.
We should learn from Japan's two "lost decades" and avoid repeating its wrongs. Over the past 20 years, Japan has changed 15 prime ministers. We believe political decay and administrative dysfunction are behind Japan's deflationary economic funk. We should reflect upon how to avoid such a fate as we ring in 2013. (Editorial abstract -- Dec. 31, 2012).
(By Sofia Wu)