Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

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Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby Omniloquacious » 05 Jan 2012, 14:53

With the presidential election just nine days away, let’s use this thread to declare which candidate we hope will win, why we want him or her to win, and what we forecast as the outcome of the voting.

I’ll start by declaring that I am rooting for Ma to be elected to a second term. I have very high regard for Tsai, and consider her excellently qualified to hold the office of president. If only she weren’t running for the DPP, I might even be inclined to root for her as the better of two very good contenders. But in my opinion, it will be far better for Taiwan if Ma remain in the Presidential Office than if Tsai takes over from him.

I do not adhere to either side of the blue-green divide. In previous presidential elections, I rooted in turn for LTH in 1996, CSB in 2000 and 2004 (the first time enthusiastically, the second time as the lesser of two evils, with two very unappealing tickets to choose between), and MYJ in 2008. Each time, the candidate I have rooted for has won, so perhaps that is a good omen for Ma in 2012.

I believe that the KMT and DPP have much of a muchness to offer in sum of policy agenda, except in the all-important area of cross-strait affairs. I don’t think there will be much revision of most basic national development policies if governing power changes hands. The new government will redeck existing policies in new names and slogans, creating a big burden for people like me who will have to translate it all into English; but I think most of the changes will be merely cosmetic, with very little difference in substance.

My main concern about Tsai winning is that she will steer the wrong course in cross-strait policy-making, and that whatever her own judgment tells her is the right course to take on key cross-strait policy issues, persuasive figures within her party will push her onto a less rational, more perilous course.

Maintaining a sound and constructive cross-strait relationship is of absolutely fundamental importance to Taiwan, and failure in this area would have more devastating consequences for Taiwan than failure in every other area of policy-making added together. It was the awful mishandling of cross-strait relations under CSB that reaped such damaging effects for Taiwan, dragging it down to the bottom of Asia’s growth league, below some of even the region’s most dysfunctional economies. There was not much wrong with his administration’s core economic and other main national development policies; it was just the wrongness of his stance toward China that undermined everything else and cost Taiwan so dearly.

In contrast to how things were under CSB, I am almost fully satisfied with the gains achieved in cross-strait relations under Ma’s presidency, and the benefits that these have yielded for Taiwan, helping it to become one of the world’s fastest growing economies, and to come through the 2008 global financial crisis and recession in much better shape than any other economy at a similar level of development. It’s hard to see how Ma’s performance in this regard could have been bettered, and I would like to have another four years of the same.

In summary: I don’t think it will necessarily be a disaster for Taiwan if Tsai wins, but it will surely be safer if Ma remains in office. I expect that a sufficient proportion of non-partisan voters feel the same way, and that enough of them will cast their votes for Ma to ensure that he wins the election by two or three percentage points.

Anyone else?
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Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby Fox » 05 Jan 2012, 15:42

In contrast to how things were under CSB, I am almost fully satisfied with the gains achieved in cross-strait relations under Ma’s presidency, and the benefits that these have yielded for Taiwan, helping it to become one of the world’s fastest growing economies, and to come through the 2008 global financial crisis and recession in much better shape than any other economy at a similar level of development. It’s hard to see how Ma’s performance in this regard could have been bettered, and I would like to have another four years of the same.


Average GDP growth in Taiwan was higher under CSB than Ma, and CSB had to fight tooth and nail for economic reforms. He was stifled at every turn, but the economy averaged about 4% growth per year including one major recession while under Ma it has averaged just 3.5% including one recession. Ma has had every advantage politically and still could only manage 5% growth last year. The DPP beat the average KMT GDP growth rate 6 of their 8 years in office. Additionally, Taiwan was hurt much more by the techbubble recession than by the GFC. During the techbubble firms like TSMC topped out at over 200nt/share, before the GFC they were at about the same level they are at now e.g., TSMC around 70nt/share.
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Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby tommy525 » 05 Jan 2012, 15:58

Im going with Prez Ma. And I think he will sqeek by and win.
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Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby Feiren » 05 Jan 2012, 17:13

I prefer Tsai because while I agree with most of Omni is saying about the economics of Taiwan's relations with China, man does not live on bread alone. Taiwan must maintain a separate political identity from China for us to continue to enjoy the free society that was won at such a high cost.

Besides, I think China has no real choice but to continue its economic policies toward Taiwan even if Tsai is elected. If cuts Taiwan off, it will have no hope of persuading the Taiwanese that the economic rewards of acquiescence to China are worth cost in the political freedo

That said, I think Ma will win although it will be close. Ma is Taiwan's greatest political brand. He's been in public life for 30 years and his image is overwhelmingly positive if a bit prissy. People believe and trust him when he says that he won't make any political deals with China. Voters will do the political calculus and decide that they can endure four more years of Ma to extract more economic goodies out of China without any political concessions.

I sure hope they are right. His behavior during Chen Yun-lin's first visit was worryingly undemocratic as his long record of having opposed every democratic reform of the last 30 years and his authoritarian predilection for ruling by law much as the benevolent dictators of Singapore do.

Finally, Tsai is running on a center-left campaign whose theme is 'realizing fairness and justice.' No one has ever won an election in Taiwan running on an even mildly left wing platform. Support for central social justice issues such as a nuclear-free Taiwan is tepid at best. For Tsai to win on this platform would mean that the underlying politics of Taiwan have shifted to the left. I don't have any sense that this has happened. Therefore I believe that the unbeaten Ma will prevail over Tsai and her untested 'new labor' politics.

I'll be delighted if I am proved wrong.
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Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby Feiren » 05 Jan 2012, 17:14

Double post
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Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby Omniloquacious » 05 Jan 2012, 17:16

Fox wrote:Average GDP growth in Taiwan was higher under CSB than Ma.


That is absolutely incorrect, sir!

If you want to compare economic growth performance under the CSB and MYJ administrations, you need to make a proper comparison. Bare numbers, divorced from their setting, do not tell more than one part of the story - though even the barest of bare numbers tell in favour of Ma over Chen.

The facts of the matter are that, after the relatively shallow recession of the early 2000s, the CSB administration coincided with a period of galloping world GDP growth, while MYJ’s has coincided with the worst economic slump that the world has experienced since the end of WW2.

Since a new administration takes office in May, almost halfway through the year, we must exclude the figures from the changeover years from consideration, because it would be impossible to divide that year’s performance between each side of the transfers of power. So for CSB’s terms, we must consider 2001~2007, and for MYJ’s term, 2009~2011. The growth rate of world GDP was approximately 4.3% during 2001~2007, versus only 3.0% during 2009~2011. Hence, these numbers show clearly that Ma’s administration has had to contend with much more unfavourable global economic growth conditions than CSB ever faced.

Yet in spite of the much more difficult external conditions prevailing during Ma’s term in office, Taiwan still achieved an average annual economic growth rate of 4.7% during 2009~2011. That included the year in which the global economy experienced its sharpest slump since the 1930s. Whereas under CSB, Taiwan’s annual economic growth rate averaged only 4.1% during 2001~2007. That is: 4.7% to Ma versus 4.1% to Chen, the former in mostly benign conditions, the latter in mostly very adverse conditions. A stark contrast, indeed!

So even if we look at the bare figures alone, it is evident that Taiwan’s economy has performed far, far better under MYJ than under CSB. It has improved from the worst performing to the best performing Asian NIE. There’s really no arguing against that!
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Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby tetentikov » 05 Jan 2012, 20:23

Despite looking like a Chinese Alan Partridge (although probably even less democratic in outlook than Norwich's finest) I have no doubt that Ma will win because 'he's very handsome'* and 'he can speak English very good, good for Taiwan international image.'* I would prefer Tsai to win mainly because I find it hard to imagine anyone being more obsequious or with less backbone than Ma and eagerly sliding towards the CCP is not something which I could ever support on humanitarian grounds.

*standard Taiwanese non-thinking female voter's response
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Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby Fox » 05 Jan 2012, 20:36

Real GDP Growth Taiwan:
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
5.8% -1.7% 5.3% 3.7% 6.2% 4.7% 5.4% 6%
2008 2009 2010 2011*
0.7% -1.9% 10.8% 5.4%

Read more: http://www.gfmag.com/gdp-data-country-r ... z1iaPQUHA1


2000 to 2007=4.425%

2008 to 2011=3.75%

Under CSB grow was approximately 16% higher than under Ma. The CIA factbook has negative growth for 2001 at 2.2% making it a deeper recession than 2009, although these figures are a little different. They show that the 2001 recession was roughly equivalent to the 2009 recession. The CIA factbook also has growth higher for CSB years than Ma, regardless of its quoted deeper recession. They also show that 6 of CSB's years had much greater growth than Ma's average. They are the unavoidable facts.

People crapped on CSB's economic management but in reality his economic record stands up pretty well to Ma.

Average unemployment under Ma=4.95% Under CSB=4.3%
"When liberty comes with hands dabbled in blood it is hard to shake hands with her." Wilde

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Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby Omniloquacious » 05 Jan 2012, 21:12

Fox, I have already explained why the growth rates for 2000 and 2008 should not be included in computation of the average growth rates achieved by Chen's and Ma's administrations, since the economy was under the governance of both parties during each of those years (the new administrations having been sworn into office almost halfway through the year on May 20). Hence, the KMT should take a large part of the credit for the roaring growth rate of 5.7% in 2000, and the DPP a large part of the blame for the meagre 0.7% growth rate in 2008. But since it is all but impossible to fairly allocate the credit and blame between the two administrations in each of those years, they obviously ought to be excluded from the reckoning of each administration's performance. Only the years in which one party or the other was in power from beginning to end should be taken into account. Hence my numbers, which are accurate and cannot be challenged on any reasonable grounds, while your numbers are grossly skewed and misleading.
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Re: Countdown to the 2012 Presidential Election

Postby Charlie Jack » 05 Jan 2012, 22:11

. . . which candidate we hope will win[:]

Tsai

. . . why we want him or her to win[:]

self government and basic rights

. . . what we forecast as the outcome of the voting[:]

Ma
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