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China: Strong country, poor people

The state broadcaster CCTV revealed in June 28 that China is expected to receive 8 trillion yuan ($1.18 trillion) in financial revenue by the end of 2010. Such figure will turn China into the second-largest country in terms of revenue income after the United States. It seems that China has realized its dream of being a strong country, however, netizens have been rather skeptical about the news because of the uneven distribution of wealth.

“Great Leap Forward” in financial revenue

Online current affair commentator, Hou Jinliang, says that such kind of “Great Leap Forward” is unbearable.

财政收入飞增,就像一个人吃了激素一样猛 长,外表很好很强大,很光鲜,可实质上是孱弱的。中国基尼系数超过国际警戒线,贫富差距日益拉大,劳动者之间分配不公…
…财政“坐火箭”, 一飞冲天,拿下了老二的位子,而民众的收入还在“骑蜗牛”。国际货币基金组织在2010年4月21日发布的数据显示,中国2009年的人均收入世界排名第 109位。可见,财政“大跃进”并不是一件值得吹嘘的事情,反而值得好好反思!

The great leap forward of financial revenue is like a person taking androgen, its outlook is so strong, however, in reality, it is very weak from within. The Gini coefficient reflects the widening of income disparity and social injustice…

…now that our finance revenue is riding on a rocket and becomes the second in the world. On the other hand, people's income is riding on a snail. The IMF's data on April 21, 2010 showed that Chinese people's average income in 2009 ranks 109 in the world. It reflects that we should not boast about the “Great Leap Forward” of finance revenue. On the contrary, we should reflect upon the current situation.

Blogger, 1741596507, elaborates further on the relative deprivation feeling among ordinary people:

我国政府财政巨大的收入与老百姓的低工资收入、低福利待遇、低社会保障、低医疗卫生条件、低教育投入,以及老百姓超高生活消费、天高的房价消费、极高的税收负担等等形成了巨大的反差。

There is a sharp contrast between the country's financial revenue and the people's livelihood: low income, lack of social protection and benefit, lack of health care and the decrease in education subsidy. On the other side of the coin, the price of property and consumer products keeps increasing and people have to pay huge amount of tax.

Strong country, poor people

Bai Yen concludes that China is a strong country, but its people remain poor:

整个国家,富的越来越富,穷的越来越穷。官员们越来越富,老百姓越来越穷。

In this country, the rich gets richer while the poor gets poorer. Government officials are richer while ordinary people are poorer.

国家财政收入增加了,又可以多办几届超豪华的奥运会世博会,又可以长长我国政府的脸面了。

Now that the nation's financial revenue has increased, we can have more super Olympic and World Expo to brighten our government's face.

如果我国国民收入分配不公的格局不改变,那么国家财政收入增加再多,对咱们普通老百姓来说也毫无意义。

If the income distribution structure do not change, no matter how rich the country is, it is meaningless to ordinary people.

Local governments in debt

swlonging points out that the local governments are also poor:

地方政府基本上也归属于我们这些穷民一类了,欠下一屁股债,日子实在 不好过。要知道,1994年分税制度的改革,虽然客观上加强了中央政府的财力,但是却削弱了地方政府的财力… 另一方面,地方政府还要承担大量的公共事务支出,没有多余的财力实现城市发展和基础设施建设,政府要实现这一部分功能,贷款是非常重要的一部分。在2008年底经济刺激政策下,地方融资平台设立和贷款受到鼓励,政府甚至发文要求下级县按要求设立融资平台。各地政府做出了一致的选择——贷款开展项目建设。

Local governments are like poor people and many are in debt. The tax reform in 1994 has increased the central government's financial income but weakened the local government's financial strength… On the other hand, the local governments have to shoulder public service and do not have extra income to build infrastructure. As a result, they have to borrow money. The economic policy at the end of 2008 encouraged local governments to create financing platform and get loan. Even county level governments join the financing schemes in getting loan for development project.

6月23日,审计署公 布的报告显示,地方债务总体规模较大,存在风险,一些债务风险较为集中的地区债务余额超过本级财政可用财力的100%…

In June 23, the National Audit Office announced that local debt has increased risk in the society. In some areas, the local debt is 100% higher than the government's capacity…

Yeh Kai has a number of constructive suggestions for improving the situation:

1、  适度降低政府财政收入在GDP中的比重,还富于民。…
2、  建立更透明的财政收支监督管理体系。加大财政信息公开的力度,大力提高财政收支透明度。…
3、  优化财政支出、压缩行政办公费用、加大民生投入。民间对财政收支疑问颇多,其实关键还在财政收入的使用去向。如果财政收入的大头都切实的投向民生,民众是 欢迎的。但是,我们的财政收入中的相当部分却作为各级政府的行政办公费用,具体多少无从查考,但从庞大的公务员和事业编制、豪华的行政办公楼、以及各级官 员乘坐的车子来看,民众的疑问是有道理的。从另一方面,在社会保障、医疗、教育等方面的投入仍然不足,突出的表现是看病难、上学难、退休养老难。…中央政府有必要出台统 一性措施,硬性规定社会保障、医疗、教育在政府财政收入中的占比,并逐年提高,只有暂时采用强制性措施,才能切实加大民生投入,压缩行政办公费用,增进社 会的和谐稳定与健康发展。

1. Reduce the proportion of financial revenue to the GDP, keep the wealth among people…
2. Build a transparent monitoring system on the state finance. Information about the state budget and expense should be transparent and make accessibly to the public…
3. Reduce administrative expenses and spend more to improve people's livelihood. People are very skeptical of the State's revenue and spending. People will welcome spending that improves their livelihood, but at the moment, a large proportion of our revenue is spent on local governments’ administrative expenses. We can see that from the expansion of the civil servant structure, luxurious government buildings and vehicles. On the other hand, government's investment on social security, health and education is highly inadequate. People don't have money to go to the hospital, school and enjoy their retirement life… The central government should introduce policy that regulates the proportion of public spending within government revenue and increase the proportion gradually in order to build a harmonious and healthy society.

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