China,  The Left,  The Right

Bachmann: why can’t the United States be more like the People’s Republic?

Although Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination are now approximately nil, she continues to represent in many ways the id of the GOP Right.

So I have a feeling she wasn’t speaking entirely for herself at Saturday night’s candidates’ debate when she said:

“So what would I cut? I think really what I would want to do is go back and take a look at Lyndon Baines Johnson’s ‘The Great Society.’ The Great Society has not worked and it’s put us into the modern welfare state. If you look at China, they don’t have food stamps. If you look at China, they’re in a very different situation. They save for their own retirement security…They don’t have the modern welfare state and China’s growing. And so what I would do is look at the programs that LBJ gave us with the Great Society and they’d be gone.”

Presumably this would include Medicare, one of the Great Society programs, which Bachmann pledges to defend on her website.

But what’s fascinating here is her call for the US to stop being a “modern welfare state” and become more like the nominally-socialist People’s Republic of China– where of course free trade unions, opposition political parties and other inconveniences are strictly forbidden.

It appears Bachmann has found some common ground with that other admirer of the People’s Republic, Andy Newman of Socialist Unity, who wrote on the 60th anniversary of the Communist victory:

It is easy to criticise China, but much of the criticism doesn’t take into account the historical context of their development, and the urgent requirement for economic growth as a precondition for social justice and progress.

Update: And Bachmann likely would find even more common ground with Jin Liqun, the supervising chairman of China Investment Corporation, China’s sovereign wealth fund, who told Al Jazeera:

“If you look at the troubles which happened in European countries, this is purely because of the accumulated troubles of the worn out welfare society. I think the labour laws are outdated. The labour laws induce sloth, indolence, rather than hardworking. The incentive system, is totally out of whack.

“Why should, for instance, within [the] eurozone some member’s people have to work to 65, even longer, whereas in some other countries they are happily retiring at 55, languishing on the beach? This is unfair. The welfare system is good for any society to reduce the gap, to help those who happen to have disadvantages, to enjoy a good life, but a welfare society should not induce people not to work hard.”

(Via Shiraz Socialist. Hat tip: Sarah AB)

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