The true problem facing the KMT is its finances. According to publicly available reporting from each political party, in 2018 the KMT has an income of NT$430 million dollars from government subsidies, donations and membership dues. They are not exactly starving to death because their assets are frozen.
Their problem is with their expenditure. According to the same data, the KMT’s personnel expenses amount to a whopping NT$1.75 billion dollars. This is why Wu, as chairman, had to bust his chops fundraising and taking out loans of $NT25 million a month. In comparison, the DPP’s personnel expenses are $NT136 million dollars, less than a tenth of the cost.
What’s the difference? 1.59 billion of the 1.75 billion goes to paying out pensions. In other words, the real cost of labor for the party is about comparable to the DPP, but about nine times more of that cost goes to people who no longer work there. This is a problem long in the making, and the party leadership knows all too well how they got there.
This is the “third rail” for the KMT. As far back as August 21, 1993, during the 14th Party Congress, party leader and head of party businesses Liu Tai-ying pointed out that of the NT$4.9 billion in expenses, membership dues only made up NT$68 million, with party-owned businesses having to make up the rest of the $4 billion plus in costs. He also criticized the fact that many members only wanted to “skim off” the party. 27 years later, the KMT is still dealing with the same problem.
Read the full blunt assessment of some of the KMT’s problems here: