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Nov 19, 2011

Damn, I never see that banana peel.

Just a month ago, [Eng | Ch], President Ma was defending his plans to increase the farmers' monthly farm subsidy by a measly NT$316 (US$10.47) over the current NT$6,000 subsidy.

The one thing you couldn't say about this plan was that it amounted to vote buying. It was more of an insult.

The DPP plan, by contrast, was for an NT$1,000 dollar increase (to a total of $7,000 per month), while some KMT legislators were calling for as much as $10,000 a month total subsidy.

Back in October, Ma made an excellent point:
The good point of systematizing the farm subsidy system is that it will prevent a populist bidding war every time an election approaches. To avoid the care of old farmers becoming a competition or a weapon between both parties is more fair and reasonable to the farmers, looking at it from the perspective of social justice.  
Ma changes his mind today, adopting the DPP plan of an NT$1,000 increase in the subsidy, probably under intense pressure from the KMT legislative caucus and local faction networks. As Ma put it,

Ma said he decided to call for a meeting to discuss the issue on Thursday night after meeting with Taiwan Organization for Disadvantaged Patients secretary-general Yang Yu-xing (楊玉欣) and other civic groups earlier that day to talk about subsidy programs for civic groups.
“They told me that many social welfare subsidies haven’t been adjusted for 10 to 18 years and suggested that the government should make up for the shortfall, so that the systemized subsidy programs would help more people, and they persuaded me of their case,” he said on the sidelines of a campaign event in Taipei City.
So the Ma campaign chooses to embarrass itself and admit being wrong rather than continue to resist massive pressure come across party lines. It's probably a better decision than leaving the $316 subsidy in place, but it shows what a bad job the KMT is doing at controlling the agenda and media focus as the election closes in. This move also helps reinforce DPP criticisms of KMT indecisiveness and incompetence.

Update: Don't forget that this "new" topic will take attention off allegations that Ma took shitloads of money from an election bookie.

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