Consumer Spending and Healthcare Seeking Balance in U.S. and China

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As the ruler of the zodiacal sign Taurus, Venus represents money. And as the ruler of Libra, Venus represents our relationships involving money. Libra is symbolized by the scales of justice, as Libra energy engages in diplomacy to ensure each party is treated fairly and equally to keep the scales of justice balanced.

So it was appropriate that Treasury Secretary Geithner visited China while the Moon was in Libra, which tends to put people in a more cooperative mood, raising the potential that the parties coming together can reach agreement.

The USA was born with the Sun in Cancer challenging Saturn in Libra. The U.S. likes to talk about fairness, but seeks to tilt Libra’s scales of justice in its favor by touting our status (Saturn) as the world’s most powerful nation and the world’s reserve currency. The Sun challenging Saturn in Libra means the U.S likes to do this in a paternalistic, “father knows best” kind of way. The U.S. sees itself as a beacon of democracy and freedom, and seeks to promote those principles around the world. But those principles can be conveniently cast aside in exchange for a relationship with another country that has the material resources we want.

With the USA’s Saturn conjoining China’s Mercury and Neptune in Libra, the U.S. government is willing to overlook the fact that it is doing business with a communist regime with an abysmal human rights record. The U.S. is addicted to China’s cheap goods, along with the goods and services U.S. companies can establish in this emerging market. China’s Venus is in Scorpio, reflecting its position as the world’s largest holder of U.S. government debt. So let’s ignore the fact that the Treasury Secretary visited China but left just before the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre because his visit was about maintaining harmony (Libra) so the Chinese leadership remains confident (China’s natal Sun in Libra) about buying U.S. debt (Venus in Scorpio).

In a speech at Peking University, Geither said: “A successful transition to a more balanced and stable global economy will require very substantial changes to economic policy and financial regulation around the world. But some of the most important of those changes will have to come in the United States and China.” The Treasury Secretary then outlined what must be done to stabilize the two nation’s economies.

The symbol for Venus resembles a hand mirror, reflecting that the U.S. and Chinese economies have become too imbalanced in one direction. Geithner said: “In the United States, saving rates will have to increase, and the purchases of U.S. consumers cannot be as dominant a driver of growth as they have in the past.” The Treasury Secretary said that China needs to develop into a more domestically driven economy as “the world is not going to be able to look to the United States, as in the last few recoveries, and expect US consumption to help the world get out of this.”

Geithner spoke of what both countries are lacking when they look at their reflection in the mirror: the need for healthcare reform. To assuage the Chinese government that fiscal spending now is “critical to our long-term fiscal health,” Geithner said “we have to put in place comprehensive health care reform that will bring down the growth in health care costs, costs that are the principal driver of our long run fiscal deficit.”

The Chinese are big savers because despite living under a communist regime, China has a weak social safety net. According to the World Bank, families making less than $200 a year still manage to save 18% of their income. The Chinese save for education, retirement, and to pay for healthcare costs. When it comes to healthcare, China has such a free market capitalist system that even Republican members of Congress would probably prefer to hold on tight to their government sponsored healthcare benefits.

An excellent article by Geoff Dyer in the Financial Times (“Sickness of the savers”), describes how patients will not be admitted to a hospital in China until they pay cash up front and wait for reimbursement later. Once admitted, patients also need money to pay for bribes. Since up to 40% of a hospital’s revenue comes from profits from drug sales which are linked to doctor’s salaries, there are huge financial incentives for doctors to overprescribe expensive drugs and recommend patients take unnecessary tests.

China is moving toward rectifying this situation, committing to making health insurance a basic right. In 2008, the Chinese government committed to providing universal health insurance coverage, with the goal of getting 90% insured by 2011 and everyone by 2020.

In terms of spending and savings, the U.S. and China are mirror opposites. But in terms of ineffective health care systems, both nations follow the same path. Treasury Secretary Geithner is suggesting that the US and China’s paths will converge in both consumer spending and healthcare. What this means for the U.S. is that healthcare will become a right and we will be more balanced in the distribution of health services to all our people.

Saturn represents government and all types of structures. Saturn’s transit in Libra* will be even more influential during the time it overlaps with revolutionary Uranus in pioneering Aries and transformational Pluto in Capricorn. These planetary energies will impact key natal planets in both countries charts, particularly from mid July to mid August and November/December 2010 and March through August 2011, ushering in profound changes that bring China and the USA’s economic, physical and societal structures more into balance.

*Saturn will be in Libra from October 29, 2009 to April 18, 2010 and July 22, 2010 to October 6, 2012.

Related Post: “President Obama Declares ‘The Stars Are Aligned’ For Healthcare Reform This Year”

USA: July 4, 1776 5:10 PM Philadelphia, PA
People’s Republic of China: October 1, 1949 3:15 PM Beijing

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