What Liberals in America Can Really Learn From China

Far left-wing union flack Andy Stern thinks he’s seen the future in China and naturally, since he’s a liberal, it has inspired him to want to readopt all the failed liberal policies that are dragging us down in this country.

The conservative-preferred, free-market fundamentalist, shareholder-only model — so successful in the 20th century — is being thrown onto the trash heap of history in the 21st century. In an era when countries need to become economic teams, Team USA’s results — a jobless decade, 30 years of flat median wages, a trade deficit, a shrinking middle class and phenomenal gains in wealth but only for the top 1 percent — are pathetic.

… America needs to embrace a plan for growth and innovation, with a streamlined government as a partner with the private sector. Economic revolutions require institutions to change and maybe make history, because if they stick to the status quo they soon become history.

Setting aside the fact that China has its own set of economic and social challenges that will be even harder to overcome over the long term than those of western democracies, isn’t it ironic to have a former SEIU president lauding a country where the average factory worker is making more than $100 a month?

Still, there are things we can learn from China.

China certainly works harder to create a business-friendly environment than we do. It has a lower corporate tax rate plus minimal environmental regulations and minimal government regulations to comply with. China relentlessly pursues any and all new sources of energy and you’re not going to spend a decade waiting around to build a factory because some kooky environmental group is suing you over an endangered snail darter.

Here, we pile on the taxes, pile on the regulations, empower unions to the level where they can kill whole industries, make it easy to file lawsuits, try to block any and all new drilling, demonize successful people, and then complain that we’re not growing as fast as a country that has made economic growth as its number one priority.

Beyond that, again ironically, “Communist China” has a leaner government than we do. It has no deficit, no debt, over three trillion dollars in cash reserves, and it has lent us so much money that by 2015, just the interest on the money we owe China will pay for its entire military.

You get what you incentivize. China is incentivizing growth. Liberals believe in incentivizing malaise. Then they kvetch that wages are stagnant and the middle class isn’t doing as well as it should. Of course, that’s inevitably what happens when you stop believing that a “rising tide lifts all boats” and start becoming hyper-focused on how to transfer money from the productive to the non-productive.

You want to learn something from China? Learn the lessons that it learned from us before we embraced big government and forgot that famous maxim from Calvin Coolidge, “The business of America is business.”

This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

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