The Residue of Taiwan's One-party KMT State Continues to Haunt the Nation

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Wednesday October 24, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

Putting the squabbles of Taiwan, Japan, and China over the Diaoyutais/Senkaku Islands aside, there are other more pressing economic problems facing Taiwan as it hopes to balance the budget. A major issue in this and one of the many baggage problems dating back to the KMT one-party state is the problem of bonuses for retired government employees.

In the KMT's one party state era, one of the ways that the KMT "bought" the loyalty of others to its minority government was through little perks. Three groups that received these perks were three influential groups in keeping the KMT in control as the one party in power. Those groups were the military, teachers, and government workers. Among the perks members of these groups got was a guaranteed interest of 18 per cent on a designated amount of their retirement money--as ong as the principle was not touched.

Not only did recipients of these perks benefit from them, but they even got additional bonuses at the end of each year after retirement. This is one of the problems that haunts the nation--as anyone knows in today's economy to get an 18 per cent return on any investment is near impossible; to have it guaranteed year after year can only lead to bankruptcy of the government. Add to that the fact that many of these people get additional bonuses and you can begin to see the problems facing any Premier as he tries to balance the budget.

This battle is just beginning; stay tuned as the nation continues to struggle with its past.