Property of the U.S. Government

Posted on September 5, 2012

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A strange parallelism became visible today – one that has a degree of irony, but is not much of a surprise considering the parties behind it. The parties behind it were the Democrat party and the Communist party of Cuba.

First the Democrat party and an advertisement promoting the values of the party:

 

Government is the only thing ‘we all belong to’? Who is this ‘we all’? Were you previously notified of your new status as a government drone? Oh, pardon me, it’s all making sense now. We ratify our standing every year when we file the income tax return.

I don’t know of any time in this country, up until today, where a political party was espousing the concept of American citizens being property of the Federal Government as opposed to free individuals. Be that as it may, the day has indeed arrived where it is expected that there is a mindset among Americans in which they are comfortable in considering themselves wards of the State.

Perhaps it is appropriate with the ever expanding dependency class that is emerging. Maybe it is the sense that America is too small for God, Natural Law and Statism to compete for the allegiance of the citizen. Sovereignty replaced by servitude. In such a case, God and Natural Law, must be pointed to the exits – as they are at this week’s DNC in North Carolina. Forget about ‘We The People’, I suppose. Now it’s ‘We The Government’.

For Cuba’s part of this planetary alignment of Fascist / Marxist thought and practice, we learn that the Communist government is using tax policy to put the clamps on wholesale goods that are not being supplied within official channels in the government controlled market.

Carlos Batista of AFP News reports that Cuba has slapped a new customs tax on everyday goods shipped from overseas in a drive that experts say could weaken the economy and sap consumption. The levy took effect Monday and is payable in foreign currency.

It targets goods imported by private citizens, often self-employed people who have started up businesses as part of timid reforms undertaken by the communist government in 2011.

In Cuba, where the government controls 90 percent of economic activity, the dictatorship regards parcels and packages of gifts from American families with Cuban relatives as meddling with the economy and therefore taxation is used as a weapon to discourage private enterprise. Does this begin to have a familiar feel?

The new measure taxes merchandise at the rate of 10 dollars a kilo after the first three kilos. Foodstuffs — exempted from such taxes after hurricanes hit Cuba in 2008 — are also taxed now.

Privately owned restaurants will be put in an untenable position, having relied on these ‘care packages’ to bring to market menu items that are unavailable in the government wholesale market. Think of the Soviet – era commissaries only more pathetic.

The new tax “could seriously raise prices of imported consumer goods, the supply of which is scant in the retail trade network,” said Mauricio de Miranda, of the Pontifical Xaverian University in Cali, Colombia.

Now, I’m going to insert something with this analysis that is going to possibly lose some friends of Blasted Fools. The U.S. Embargo on Cuba is an example of politicians continuing to fight yesterday’s wars. It doesn’t make sense anymore.

It is a policy that does not befit a great nation. It is also a policy that now, in the post Soviet, post Cuban Missile Crisis era, poses a strategic vulnerability to the United States, in that eventually, a rival superpower (China), is going to see value in enveloping Cuba in its own sphere of influence. They would probably go about doing so in much more subtle ways than placing missiles on the island.

If Obama – or anyone, for that matter in either the Democrat or Republican parties had a spark of leadership in them, they would advocate a new engagement with the government of Cuba and use the advantages and leverage that we have, to open up relations and trade.

Of course there is political resistance here in the Cuban community with such an engagement, but bringing them into the plan and the discussion, it’s reasonable to assume, would certainly add some traction to the initiative. Senator Marco Rubio was asked by Human Events a few years ago, under what circumstances would he approve of the lifting of the embargo. He answered:

When Cuba joins the rest of the civilized world in how it treats its people. That is freeing political prisoners, it means free and fair elections. They can choose any form of government they like, but they have to have freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of expression. The fundamental rights that we believe are endowed to every human being by our Creator. That’s the kind of country that I’m interested in us having a relationship with. And the embargo serves as leverage for us to be able to accomplish that. You have, as we speak right now, a number of dissidents and hunger strikes in Cuba. And their brave wives are marching every Sunday. And they’re being beaten, taunted, hassled and harassed. These are women. They’re called the women in white. They’re providing an extraordinary example of just how repressive this regime is and how it’s on the wrong side of history”.

We certainly do need to make human rights and free elections our top priority in any dealings we have with them. I just think that some direct diplomatic engagement carries no risks to our side and may yield positive results.

The contrast with how we manage our relationship with Communist China is notable. China is every bit the repressive regime that Cuba is, yet our multi-national corporations, ever on the hunt for cheap products and labor, demand that the U.S. accommodate China in ways that make leverage on human rights nearly impossible.

There’s also our domestic Sugar industry, holding any such plan at bay – but what then of all the talk about ‘Free Markets’? Is that all just empty rhetoric? Apparently so, when special interests trump the benefits of prompting the reform of a ‘prison island’ 90 miles off our coast.

Back to the original topic. A Cuban government minister issued a public statement on the new taxation policy, that today’s Democrat party would in every way, find to be asymmetric with that of their own views:

Carmen Arias, deputy director of the customs service, said the taxes are “a way to counter this non-commercial means of personal enrichment.”

He should have been invited to Charlotte to introduce the leading exponent of that point of view.

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