Reducing Unemployment and Saving Money At the Same Time

So the USA’s unemployment stands at a stubborn 9.1%, the national debt keeps climbing, and the USA doesn’t seem to be very popular with the global community, despite spending billions on it.

But wait:  isn’t this the same country that contributed to the demise of the Soviet Union in the late 1980’s?

Right-wing conservatives often credit their ultimate icon, then-US-president Ronald Reagan, with “bankrupting” the Soviet Union by forcing it into an extremely expensive arms race to develop and field more capable intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defense system cutely known at the time as “Star Wars”.  Others argue that it collapsed under the weight of its own economic deficiencies and the built-in defects of a communist methodology.  But those folks are ignoring the truth: without the people of the Soviet-bloc countries demanding democracy and western-style economics and goods, the Soviet Union might still around today.

The USA traded freely with the Soviets, mostly to the USA’s financial gain.  Everything from grain to blue jeans to western pop and rock and roll was exported to the Soviet Union, along with the information about the outside world which accompanied these exports.  The more they got, the more they wanted, and the residents of the USSR went to great lengths to get what they wanted.  Corporate America ate it up;  the increasing demand was exponential.  It was a huge money tree for the USA’s and Europe’s capitalists: almost like selling heroine to addicts.

In the course of becoming addicted to more and more western culture, the Soviet citizenry began demanding more and more access from their government;  they just couldn’t get enough.  The Soviet government responded by taking the path of least resistance:  it relaxed its restrictions and allowed more and more importation of western culture (and subsequent information).

In a classic snowball effect, western culture became critical to Soviet life.  The Soviet government had made a critical mistake:  once allowed into the country, western cultural contamination portrayed the west as cool, instead of the evil destroyers that decades of government propaganda proposed.  The people’s demand to be more “western” ultimately grew past the point of no return, and the internal pressure to dismantle the Soviet empire became an irresistible force.  The USSR began crumbling from within.  The arms race and economics defects stuff just helped it along.

In other words, blue jeans and rock and roll crushed the USSR.

So riddle this reverse logic if you can:

For over 50 years, a piddly little Caribbean island nation with practically no modern weapons or technology and only 90 miles from Key West, Florida, has been a thorn in the side of every American leader since John F Kennedy was president in the early 1960’s.  The USA imposed a trade embargo on Cuba in 1960, and made it even more restrictive in 1962.  With only occasional lapses, this embargo is the longest such economic action in modern history.  Its stated goal was to force the collapse of the communist Castro regime in Cuba.  This was supposed to cause a new democratic government to take hold in Cuba.

However, after more than 50 years, even an 11-year-old can see that this stupid embargo is a massive failure.  It has only hurt the Cuban people.  They’ve existed without the American influence that comes with every pair of American jeans, every rock cd and every car part needed to repair their ancient American Chevies.   Meanwhile the USA spends billions in foreign aid to fund local infrastructure projects in places like Africa, which accomplishes…what?

While the USA suffers unemployment and financial deficit/debt problems, Castro’s Cuba spends money fomenting international hatred of the USA, which the USA spends money trying to reverse (unsuccessfully).  Meanwhile, Americans sit at home without a job.

The obvious solution is to lift the trade embargo against Cuba completely and immediately.  Flood the island with American blue jeans, rock and roll cd’s, and free consultation for improving their crumbling infrastructure.  Then offer to supply free materiel and unemployed American workers for those infrastructure projects and repairs. .  Select workers based partially upon their friendliness and knowledge of the benefits of democracy.  Addict the Cuban to American culture.  Let the same process that brought down the USSR work its hedonistic magic in Cuba.

Then sit back and watch as Americans working in Cuba lower the US employment rate for a fraction of what we used to spend on foreign aid. Watch more jobs created in the USA, as Cuban cigars and other goods are now featured and sold . Watch US markets make enormous new profits, while the US government spends less, generates new import and other revenues, as democracy takes hold in Cuba because of demands for what the Soviet people demanded (and got).  A win-win for everyone.

Alas…it will never happen.  Why?  Because neither Cuban-Americans in Florida and elsewhere, nor the American ultra-right can see past their self-righteous fanatical indignation over such a proposal…it doesn’t have any anger in it.