CCTV: Proposed childbirth fund a mistake
In a recent article, two experts have shared their proposals to boost the birth rate, with a major suggestion to set up a childbirth fund. Citizens below the age of 40 would pay into the fund annually, and could only withdraw the money and apply for a subsidy when having a second child. Otherwise, the money would have to be frozen until retirement. CCTV.com comments:
For some time, we have encountered a variety of silly proposals by “experts”. Yet this latest one has really broken the record, making it hard to imagine how it emerged in modern society.
Let’s analyze the mistakes of this proposal one by one.
First, birth is a basic right for citizens, and people have the right to choose whether to give birth to a child or not. Authorities can encourage births by drafting policies, or guide people to have more children by providing services. But they should not punish those who do not give birth or only have one child.
The proposed fund is actually a punitive fine for those who give birth to fewer than two children, which is illegal and violates the basic rights of citizens. The experts who raise this suggestion seem ignorant of the rule of law.
Second, one of the hindrances to giving birth is the high economic burden. China’s living standards have risen steadily in passing decades, but people are still under a lot of financial strain. In a recent report, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics found that the ratio of debt to disposable income for an average Chinese family is as high as 107.2 percent, even greater than in the US.
Child-rearing is one of the heaviest economic outputs for Chinese families. Many young people refrain from giving birth because they cannot afford it, not because they do not want children. To solve this, the key lies in strengthening the social security system and providing more welfare so people can afford giving birth to children.
Last, but not least, the Chinese economy is undergoing a transition, where it must break from its past reliance upon exports and boost domestic consumption. To this end, the government has taken measures such as providing tax cuts, lowering administrative fees, and improving social security. Yet the proposal points in the other direction by increasing the burden on residents, which will only curb the Chinese economy.
In one word, good policies will make people rich while bad proposals will make people poor.