Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cutting Communism - One Head at a Time

Cuba continues to be in the news. It appears that Raul Castro understands the pitfalls of communism more than his brother. First, Raul lifted restrictions on Cuban farmers, now he is letting Cuban barbershops work for profit.


Can the U.S. re-learn the benefits of a free market from Cuba? Or will the lessons learned there fall on deaf ears?

Why does the media portray capitalism as evil in free societies, yet celebrate when communist countries turn capitalistic?


By Michael Voss BBC News, Havana

Cuba is turning over hundreds of state-run barber shops and beauty salons to employees in what may be the start of a long-expected privatisation drive.

All barbers and hairdressers in shops with three seats or fewer will be allowed to rent the space and pay taxes instead of getting a monthly wage.

The retail sector has long been derided for poor service and rampant theft.

The country's former President, Fidel Castro, nationalised all small businesses in 1968.

'Slow and cautious'

Now his younger brother and successor Raul Castro is trying to modernise the system without jumping to full-scale capitalism.

Other communist countries such as China and Vietnam have long since pushed through market reforms while maintaining political control.

President Castro's first economic reforms involved giving unproductive state-owned land to private farmers.

Some taxi drivers are allowed to work for themselves.

This is his first attempt to deal with shops in the retail and service sector.

It is likely to be a gradual process, though.

These beauty salon changes have not been officially announced or mentioned in the state-controlled press.

In a recent speech to the Young Communist League, Raul Castro acknowledged that people were impatient for change but warned that he planned to move slowly and cautiously.

See the BBC Video here.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Destruction as Development

How could anyone confuse the violence and destruction of war and natural catastrophe with economic development? Because they concentrate only on what they can see, and they ignore what they cannot...

From the Atlas Network

Friday, April 2, 2010

Haven't We Learned Anything?

In a recent op-ed piece, Fritz Hollings (former senator from South Carolina), touted that we should stop trying to save money in order to pay for Medicare. Instead, his brilliant solution is to create a VAT tax. Just 1% tax - what could be the harm...? Oh, and another 2% to pay down the debt.

History lesson - Our first income tax was
only 7% (top bracket). Forty years later it was 92%.

Economics lesson - VAT taxes, tariffs, etc, do in fact increase the price of imported goods.
It is not a "free lunch."

A 3% VAT tax would only open up yet another floodgate of government spending at our expense. Instead, I have a nifty idea: Cut government spending.


"We shouldn't be wasting time waiting to see whether we can save $500 billion from Medicare. The 1 percent VAT can guarantee that health care reform can either be paid for or the extra money used to pay down the debt. Then the other 2 percent VAT should be dedicated to paying down the debt.

For those nervous about taxes, let's vote. Any voting against this approach will be voting against paying for health care, against paying down the debt, against relieving Corporate America of income taxes, against promoting exports by 32 percent, against stemming the flow of off-shoring jobs, and voting against middle-class jobs and saving the economy of the United States."

- Ernest "Fritz" Hollings

Read the entire op-ed here.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Che Guevara - Killer Chic

From Reason.TV

“We’re rightly horrified by fascist murderers like Adolph Hitler,” says reason.tv’s Nick Gillespie. “Why aren’t we also horrified by communist killers?” Certainly, Che’s body count isn’t anywhere near Hitler’s. But what about someone Che idolized, someone whom he might have liked to wear on his chest?

“Che, Castro, all the communist regimes idolized only one thing that Mao personifies—violence.” Kai Chen grew up in China under the reign of Mao Zedong. Although he won gold medals for China’s national basketball team, Chen’s was far from the celebrity life of an NBA star. Says Chen, “You have no right to talk, and you have no right to think.”

And yet, like Che, Mao’s image is becoming an increasingly popular way to move merchandise. You can buy Mao t-shirts, mugs, caps—you name it. Near Chen’s Los Angeles home there’s even a restaurant called Mao’s Kitchen. “Can you imagine a restaurant called Hitler’s Kitchen?” asks Gillespie.

View the REAL Che Guevara HERE