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Will Cuban Socialists Lead America to Freedom?


I’d like to follow up on my blog post of yesterday about the Cuban government’s decision to lay off 500,000 government employees, given that Cuba’s socialist system has engendered a state of near-starvation poverty in the country.

Undoubtedly, there is consternation among those who are being laid off. For their entire lives, they have worked for the state — a guaranteed job, no risk of ever being fired, free health care, free education for their children, subsidized food and housing, and free retirement pay. No matter how old they might be, the state has truly been their parent since birth.

Now, all of a sudden half-a-million adult children of the state are being fired and thrown out into the private sector.

Self-doubt and fear will undoubtedly afflict many of them.

Would it be any different here in the United States if the U.S. government were to begin dismantling its welfare-warfare empire?

Of course not. In fact, the feeling of doubt and fear might be much greater than it is for those 500,000 Cubans who are now entering the private sector.

Consider Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. What is the standard response of the ordinary American when a libertarian calls for immediately repealing, not reforming, these socialist programs?

An extreme case of self-doubt and fear.

“If we repealed these programs, people would be dying in the streets from starvation and illness.”

“How could I survive without my dole? I’m too dependent on it.”

Is it any different with education?

Nope. Same thing. When a libertarian proposes an immediate end to all state involvement in education, including a dismantling of public (i.e., government) schooling, what is the response of the average American?

“Oh my gosh! If people weren’t forced to subject their children to a government-approved education, everyone would be dumber.”

Not surprisingly, free public schooling and free health care, along with social security, have also long been the pride and joy of socialist icon Fidel Castro.

Lots of Americans would even doubt the economic benefits of a huge layoff of federal employees. Suppose, for example, that the U.S. Empire immediately withdrew all troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, Korea, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the rest of the world.

Libertarians would say, “Discharge them! Put them all into the private sector.”

Statists, who generally have a woeful lack of understanding when it comes to economics, would say, “Oh, no! The private sector cannot handle an influx of hundreds of thousands of federal employees. There will be mass unemployment. We must keep them on the federal payroll for the indefinite future, even if they’re just sitting around.”

Nonsense. Laying off hundreds of thousands of welfare-state workers and warfare-state workers would produce an economic bonanza. That’s, in fact, what the Cuban authorities are banking on — that those 500,000 Cubans will begin producing wealth so that those still working in the parasitic sector can seize part of it to fund their operations.

Laying off all those bureaucrats would have a doubly positive effect. First, the newly privatized federal employees would now begin producing wealth instead of parasitically seizing wealth. Second, the private sector would no longer have the heavy tax burden of supporting the newly privatized workers. More savings, lower taxes, and more production mean more wealth and higher standards of living.

During America’s era of slavery, it was undoubtedly claimed by some that slavery should be gradually phased out rather than ended all at once. The slaves, it would have been argued, lacked the necessary skills to survive in the private sector. It would be cruel and inhumane to simply throw them off the plantation and into the free market. And think of the unemployment that would be produced with millions of newly freed slaves entering the free market all at once.

Yet, ironically, for the slave the best thing that could ever happen to him would be to be freed — that is, “fired” from the plantation life that guaranteed him a job and free health care and education and cast out into the free market where there were no guarantees at all.

To extricate themselves from the socialist morass and the mindset of self-doubt, fear, and dependency that it has been inculcated in so many Americans, it is necessary for the American people to recapture a belief in themselves, in others, in freedom, and free markets. Americans also need to abandon their long-held faith in the federal government to get them through the vicissitudes and hardships of life and replace it with a deep and abiding faith in God.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if Cuban socialists, through their firing of those 500,000 government employees, helped pointed the way to economic liberty and free markets for Americans to follow?

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.