Archive for January, 2013

Cuba, part two, the economy

27 Jan

This is a preliminary observation of the Cuban economy based on information provided by the local guide and the lectures by the Havana University professors. In addition, my commentary is at the end of the essay.

Under Fidel Castro the Cuban economy enjoyed a boom after he became an ally of the Soviet Union.  The Cuban economy was riding high because the Soviet Union and its eastern European satellites bought virtually all of its sugar output—millions of tons annually–at above market prices.   With a massive subsidized cash flow from his communist patrons for more than two decades, Castro was able to lift incomes of all workers by holding down prices of basic goods and services, thus fulfilling one goal of The Revolution—social justice, provide free medical care and education through college, pour money into the arts to enhance the nation’s cultural traditions, and create what he thought was a socialist paradise in spite of the U.S. embargo.

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Letter to the editor

26 Jan

Published January 26 in the Record

Real war pits power against liberty

Regarding Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin’s “Looking to Lincoln on this second inaugural” (Other Views, Jan. 21):

Doblin is right in his original premise: “America is at war” at home. Unfortunately, Doblin makes the understandable error that the country’s primary conflict is about the conservative red states versus the liberal blue states.

Politically, there is a red/blue divide, conflict in America, no question about it. But the real divide in America is about the proponents of the welfare-warfare state (which both conservatives and liberals support) and the proponents of a free society — that is based on free enterprise, not crony capitalism; honest financial institutions, not the Social Security and Medicare Ponzi schemes; civil liberties, not the anti-Bill of Rights Patriot Act and the counterproductive war on drugs; a non-interventionist foreign policy, not one of invading nations that have not threatened us and meddling in every corner of the globe; and honest money, not the fiat Federal Reserve dollar.

In the United States, we are witnessing another skirmish in the epic battle that has played out time and again in recorded human history: power versus liberty. The forces of an all-encompassing central government have the upper hand now, as they did in the Soviet Union for a good part of the 20th century. But the American welfare-warfare state’s days are numbered, just as the Soviet empire was in peril even before it collapsed before our very eyes more than two decades ago.

Murray Sabrin

Fort Lee, Jan. 21

The writer, a professor of finance at Ramapo College of New Jersey, has been a candidate for state office as both a Republican and libertarian.

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Cuba, part one: first impressions

21 Jan

My wife and I traveled to Cuba with 22 other Americans (January 9-16) on a tour organized by Road Scholar; a Boston based nonprofit travel agency formerly known as Elderhostel.  Road Scholar has a license issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Treasury Department to conduct People-to-People interactions.

The trip—Shalom Cuba: Exploring Jewish Heritage—is a cultural exchange that is permitted by the federal government despite the official embargo that has been in effect for more than 50 years.

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You are invited

07 Jan

The first Sabrin Center event of 2013 will be held on January 30 at Ramapo College.  To register for the event see the announcement and the names of the panelists who will discuss the New Jersey economy.

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The Zimbabwe solution to the debt limit is being planned in DC

04 Jan

Inflation is about to take off…

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Posted in Federal Government, U.S. Dollar


The GOP should fold up its “big tent” and just go away

02 Jan

The deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff passed the U.S. Senate with only eight no votes.  The House passed the bill on New Year’s Day in another (smaller) “bipartisan” vote, 257 to 167.  In other words, the GOP, the party of supposedly fiscal conservatism, caved in on higher taxes for not only upper income Americans but also allowed the temporary Social Security tax cut to expire for all wage earners.  Moreover, the estate tax rate increases above $5 million.

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Posted in Federal Government, Federal Reserve, Income taxes, Spending, Taxes, Warfare state, Welfare state