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Hopes for future of country must be realistic

(Global Times)

13:25, November 11, 2011

Decades ago, a limited worldview saw many mired in the illusion that people in capitalist countries lived in deep misery. Ideological bias only worsened this misconception.

In the Internet era, it is easy to get a real picture of life in other countries. However, an abundance of information has seemingly led to the unexpected conclusion for many that life here is dire.

The latest example comes from a microblog post gone viral admiring the low tax rate in Hong Kong. It cited that young unmarried people with an annual income of HK$178,000 ($22,890) only need to pay HK$729 in taxes. This drew many responses complaining about the tax burden on the mainland.

Hong Kong is known for various tax exemptions designed to ensure better wealth distribution and balanced welfare. Its exemptions, however, are not emulated around the world. Tax rates are also subject to government expense, to which end the Hong Kong government, free from obligations such as defense, can afford more tax exemptions.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But some netizens covet more than this. They wish for local housing to be as cheap as in the American Midwest, and feel that welfare standards in Western Europe prove the failure of our local welfare program. Now, the call comes for the mainland to adopt the Hong Kong tax rates, may only slightly ahead of a rallying cry demanding that gas prices match those seen in the Middle East. 

China's domestic policies are far from perfect and these requests stem from a desire for better government. However, making unpractical comparisons is not a good way to find solutions.

There is mounting criticism over the government's forging-ahead strategy for infrastructure yet the same idea is expected for welfare. 

Many feel change should happen overnight and make them the best in the world.

We do not need more reminders that the housing bubble and unsustainable welfare programs plunged the US and Europe into the economic morass. 

All of us yearn for a better life, but harboring delusions helps nobody.  


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Canada at 2011-11-1270.36.49.*
When George Bush came to power the U.S. had a budget surplus. The Republicans cut - cut - cut - taxes - mostly for corporations and the rich, and even though the U.S. is now trillions in debt, they are still calling for more tax cuts. Tax cuts, not social welfare programs, is what first plunged the U.S. deep into debt, and the U.S. financial crisis piled on more debt. Harper in Canada is doing the same thing - tax cuts for corporations, the rich & upper middle class. The BC provincial government did the same thing. Even though Canada now has a big deficit, Harper has again just cut corporate taxes, this will cause a bigger deficit, & Canada"s corporate tax rate is lower than in the U.S. This right wing hue and cry to cut taxes leaves no money in government to pay for social programs - and that is the right wing objective. The internet doesn"t really give an idea of what life is like in other countries as so many different things affect the reality.

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