Friday, February 27, 2015

Second Thoughts From The New York Times On Cuba Slim Yacht) refugee yacht)

Attentive THC readers may remember his December 2014 post, Top 5 Reasons We Ended The Cuba Embargo.

The first four were:

- Retro look of Havana appeals to hipsters.

- Travel to U.S. mostly by boat which is more environmentally-friendly than air travel.

- Fairness Doctrine implemented on more progressive basis grounded in concept that anything not approved by Government is unfair.

- Fertile ground for new Cash for Clunkers program.

The fifth was:

- Income inequality solved by maximum monthly wage of $20.

It's this last one which is now giving the New York Times second thoughts about the wisdom of ending the embargo as you can see in its recent article bemoaning the advent of capitalism on the island:

Inequality Becomes More Visible in Cuba as the Economy Shifts

This is causing the Times, which has advocated strongly for reducing income inequality in both its editorial and news sections, anguish.  It is better for everyone to remain poor together according to the Times.  Well, almost everyone.  In Cuba, the ruling elite is exempt from many of the restrictions imposed on the rest of the population because, well, just because.  In the U.S. the Times pushes the issue though it would exempt the members of its Editorial Board, the family owners of the paper (the Sulzbergers) and its largest non-family shareowner (currently 17%) the well-connected Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim who controls 80% of the landlines and 70% of cell phone service in his native country (see this NPR piece on his monopolistic practices; no mention of his large ownership interest in the Times; does anyone doubt that if Slim were a major shareholder in Fox that NPR would have mentioned it at least in passing?).
All of which brings to mind Margaret Thatcher's response on income inequality from 1990: "They'd rather have the poor poorer".

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