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May 1, 2017

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DPP describes Cabinet's recent stimulus ad as 'history's worst'

By Enru Lin--The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday panned a 41-second public service announcement (PSA) released Tuesday by the Executive Yuan, calling it "history's worst."

"It is simply record-breaking. All over the world, no government has ever made a PSA that has been removed by its own people," said DPP Legislator Pan Meng-an (潘孟安) at the caucus press room.

On Tuesday, the Executive Yuan uploaded a spot called "Economic Power-up Plan" (經濟動能推升方案) to its Youtube channel. The spot, which also aired on television, said the Cabinet is expediting plans to stimulate the economy, but that the "Economic Power-up Plan" is "too complicated" to explain.

Within 24 hours, viewers flagging the video as inappropriate had triggered both the removal of the PSA and the channel's suspension.

"For this Executive Yuan to try promoting the economy is truly absurd," said Pan yesterday. "They don't even value the taxpayers' dollars."

He called for higher transparency in the government's publicity expenditures. Since 2012, the Legislative Yuan has required government offices to publish their PSA spending, yet none except the Department of Health, has done so, according to Pan.

The full text of the PSA is as follows:

"What is the Economic Power-up Plan? We want to use a few simple words to explain it to everyone. But a few simple words really can't describe so many policies. Extremely comprehensive planning must precede economic development, in order to stimulate the economy. So these policies are of course very complicated. The important thing is that many things are being implemented in an expedited manner to boost the economy. Talking the talk isn't as good as walking the walk. Boosting the economy: Just do it."

The spot features four "citizens" who do not have speaking lines. Lines of mostly indistinct text related to the "Economic Power-up Plan" swirl about the quartet, who look at one another and appear perplexed.

Fielding media inquiries yesterday, Cabinet Deputy Secretary-General Huang Min-kung (黃敏恭) said that the spot is only stage one of a three-part campaign conceived by just-resigned Executive Yuan spokesman Hu Yu-wei (胡幼偉).

Stage one is about drumming up public interest in policies, while stage two will explain policies in more detail. The controversial ad will no longer run, as it has "already reached its purpose," said Huang.

Later yesterday, former spokesman Hu told reporters that the concept is not his, but instead belongs to advertising mogul Albert Huang (黃文博), a consultant on the project.

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