During the debate, Michele Bachmann said:
“If you look at China, they don’t have food stamps,” she told the GOP debate moderators. “They save for their retirement.”
Here we have the latest evidence that Republicans view democracy-free China as a country to emulate. Bachmann's statement is bizarre on numerous levels, not least of which was the way she slid from food stamps to retirement savings. Her clear implication is that the Chinese don't have a social security system.But they do.
The pension system -- part of an overall "mandatory benefits" scheme -- is more important than ever, due to the "one child per couple" policy. Previously, elderly Chinese were supported by their families -- a tradition which induced people to have as many offspring as possible. Aside from the enforced contributions to retirement accounts -- what we call Social Security -- most Chinese cannot and do not save much for their twilight years.
Also on the "mandatory benefits" menu: Chinese employers and employees both pay into a housing fund which helps the workers pay for homes of their own.
Oddly enough, you don't see people like Michele Bachmann touting that
as a good idea. Instead, these libertarian ideologues would rather create an imaginary China in order to convince Americans that they should vote against their own interests.Let's talk about food stamps in China.
I don't know if the aid comes in the form of actual stamps
, but aid does indeed exist. This is from an official Chinese government publication
In 1999, the Chinese Government promulgated the "Regulations on Guaranteeing Urban Residents' Minimum Standard of Living," which stipulates that urban residents with non-agricultural permanent residence permits whose family's per capita income is lower than the local urban residents' minimum standard of living can receive basic subsistence assistance from the local government; those with neither source of income nor working capability, nor legal guardian, supporter or fosterer can receive in full the minimum living allowance according to the minimum living standard of local urban residents. The minimum living standard is decided primarily on the basis of urban residents' average income and consumption level per capita, the price level of the previous year, the consumption price index, the local cost necessary for maintaining the basic livelihood, other connected social security standards, the materials for the basic needs of food, clothing and housing, and the expenditure on under-age children's compulsory education.
Based on the principle of "receiving aid of one's own free will, and giving help gratis," relief for vagrants and beggars who have no assured living sources in cities should be administered with compassion, and that relief should be provided in accordance with the different circumstances and needs of the recipients, so that they can receive relief in terms of food, lodging, medicare, communications, transportation to their hometowns and escort. By the end of 2003, some 909 such relief administrative centers had been set up throughout the country, offering help to 210,000 cases of urban vagrants and beggars who had no assured living sources that year.
Perhaps a reader can tell us how these regulations work out in actual practice. At any rate, Bachmann is clearly wrong.