This is a commentary by a deep blue economist, Wong Chei-Ming. A summary of his talk pointed out an outstanding 8-year presidency of Chen Shui-Bian, despite severely undercut by KMT controlled Legislator Yuan. A few examples raised by this deep blue economist, Wong Chei-Ming, are:
1. Under Chen, most of the government run enterprises were either revived or flourished, such as ship building, steel , and salt production companies. Under Chen's presidency, these companies were revived from near bankruptcy and their employees enjoyed huge year end bonus. Under Ma, most government run or partially owned companies are losing money, and employees took to street to protest reduced year end bonus.
2. Under Chen, the financial crisis was handled without infusing government money to save failed banks. For example, Chung-Hua Bank lost over NT$100 billions but the crisis was solved without bailout from the government under Chen. In contrast, Ma recently spent NT$88 billions to save Kuo-Hua bank. Lee, the president before Chen, did something similar to bail out many failed banks and those bankers took the money and escaped to China. After several years, these bankers cannot even be prosecuted because the cases against them have expired, exceeding the year limit of litigation by the government.
3. Last year, the banking system made $NT240 billions profit mainly due to the financial system reform carried out by Chen during his presidency. Ironically, Chen was sentenced to 18 years in prison for alleged corruption in the financial system reform. Economist Wong emphasized that he did not condone corruption but he also pointed out the NT$100 million "bribe" money (actually legal political contributions, see recent reports by Michael Richardson) involved in the financial reform, may not seen appropriate, but the financial reform under Chen established the sound foundation for the banking sector to stay healthy and to make huge profits last year.
4. Under Chen, the relationship between Taiwan and China was tense; however, the foreign investment into Taiwan during Chen's presidency was a lot more than those during Ma's.
5. Ma signed an agreement (ECFA) to easy the economical exchanges between Taiwan and China by claiming it would help Taiwan's economy and keep enterprises and jobs in Taiwan. However, under ECFA, which established many direct links between Taiwan and China, Taiwan's economy actually shrunk and the money outflow from Taiwan to China is a lot more during Ma's five years than the total during Chen's 8 years.
6. The unemployment rate of young people between 20 to 25 was 7.9% under Chen but it is now 14% under Ma.
7. Ma always blamed Chen for any problems he has had. On the contrary, economist Wong pointed out Ma should learn from Chen on how to handle problems. (note: of course, Ma always blames others for his failures or his crimes. He sent half of his Taipei mayor discretionary fund to his wife's personal account, but it was his account went to jail.)
8. Finally, economist Wong hopes that Chen's issue is no longer an issue in 2013. He hope that Chen can be sent home to recover from his illness and Ma should not blame others but learn from Chen's presidency.
After listening through this comments, I wonder why Tsai I-W could not articulate these points to defend President Chen and her own records (she was Deputy Premier of Executive Yuan under Chen) during last years' presidential election debate. Ma accused Tsai used only those used by Chen as her staff and labeled her staff a "corrupted bunch". Tsai lamely stated "In front you is Tsai, not Chen." Does her failure in defending Chen's presidency and her own staff point out a bigger issue in her leadership skill and intellectual ability? Even now, Tsai I-W is still shy in defending Chen's presidency and in pointing out the injustice against Chen. Something to think about.