Moon Jae-in Pledges to Create 1.3 Million Jobs, Conservatives Accuse Him of "Populist Sweet Talk"
SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- Moon Jae-in, former head of the Democratic Party, on Wednesday vowed to create 1.31 million jobs when he becomes South Korea's president, claiming the goal is viable if employers keep working hours.
"The government will first create more jobs in the public sector," Moon said, claiming the area currently takes up 7.6 percent of local jobs, hovering below the average of 21.3 percent tallied for members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Moon said he will increase the number of fire fighters, police, teachers, social-welfare employees and noncommissioned officers in the military.
"We are short 17,000 firefighters," Moon said, adding he will abolish the conscripted police force program and instead hire more regular officers.
"The labor law limits working hours to 52 hours a week, including extended hours, but the administrations of Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye have made people work up to 68 hours a week by twisting the rule to exclude Saturdays and Sundays in the ceiling," Moon said. "Through reducing working hours, I will create 500,000 more jobs."
The potential candidate said he will also have workers use all of their vacation time, which will result in the creation of 300,000 more jobs.
Moon then pledged to allow parents to work from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. before their children enter elementary school without a reduction in their paychecks.'
The Bareun Party, a splinter group of the ruling Saenuri Party, on Thursday dismissed liberal presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in's pledge to create 1.31 million jobs as populist "sweet talk."
"South Korea's public sector debt has surpassed 1,000 trillion won (US$848 billion) for the first time. But we would need tens of trillions of won more to add more public sector jobs," Rep. Choung Byoung-gug, chief of the preparatory committee for the new party, said during a meeting of committee members.
Choung said Moon lacks details about how to raise funds for the pledge, and that it is mere "sweet talk," which can be considered to be deceitful to the people.
Choung noted Greece's populist policy of increasing public jobs resulted in a financial catastrophe.
The lawmaker said such a policy will do more harm in the long term and adversely impact youth's unemployment.'