Bush amazes me sometimes. As President, heading into the summit of Pacific Rim leaders, I would expect him to take something of harsh stance, use his bully pulpit a bit. China has a horrible human rights record, has threatened the US with economic warfare, of a sort, has done little to control the piracy of US intellectual property, etc.
Here's the part that bothers me the most:
“As a part of our engagement with China, we have worked with (President) Hu Jintao to convince him to help convert his economy from one of savers to one of consumers, which means -- and, by the way, that takes a lot of effort and work to get in a position where you can even make those kind of constructive suggestions, which means the development of a pension system, or health care, so that people don't feel like they have to hoard their money to save for a rainy day, but in fact there's some kind of safety net that is predictable, which then would convert a Chinese person who is beginning to realize better income into a consumer,’’ the president told reporters. “And then all of a sudden you've got consumers, which provide opportunity.
Rather than calling on China to rid itself of its Communist government, embrace individual rights, and allow capitalism to work freely (thus allowing that middle class to grow on its own without government interference), he essentially says that China should simply change how it controls its people's lives. I don't think it's the lack of a "pension plan" that causes the Chinese people to hoard every dollar, I think it's the fact that they have so little control over their own lives.
Read the rest if you want, but it's all pretty much just as bad.