America is More Socialist than You Might Think

Written by Oscar Rodriguez

Growing up in socialist Cuba, we were often reminded how fortunate we were to be living in a socialist country where people were taken care of by the government and where every citizen has access to free healthcare and free education from preschool to graduate school. We were also reminded that in socialist Cuba nobody experiences hunger because the government feeds everyone through a system of monthly rations enough to feed a person for a month. These rations included a variety of products like milk, meat, fish, grains, candies and even beer and cigarettes. If a person used all his rations he can buy more in state markets at a low price where all the products are subsidized by the government.  Other perks of living in “Cuba’s socialist paradise” are free mortuary services and nursing care.

To this day, many people on the island that haven’t had the opportunity to travel (because international travel is restricted although the government has softened restrictions in recent years) or do not have any relatives residing in the US, still have the idea that in the US people die ill on the streets because they cannot have access to healthcare. Or that education is basically inaccessible for those that cannot pay for it.  The Cuban government constantly compares the “good socialist system” against the inhumane and evil American capitalist system where the most fundamental human rights and needs are totally reserved for those that can afford it.

The “ill American capitalist society”, according to the Cuban regime, does not have a cure, it will never get better because that’s the way it is and has always been. In its principles and core is inhumane and unequal.

But is it? Of course not; the truth of the situation is far from what the Cuban regime depicted. The fact is that the US despite being the champion of capitalism in the world has many socialist like programs that are the envy of any socialist country that ever existed. American kids have access to free education through K12 and even free or subsidized higher education. There are also health programs like Medicaid and Medicare that secure treatment for individuals in financial need and the elder. And there are the SNAP and WIC programs to help families that cannot afford to buy food.  These and many other state-supported programs make possible a more equal society by lifting those who are at the bottom and securing some equality of opportunity.

The founding father Thomas Paine noted that for a society to function properly, even an individualistic one, there must be some degree of equality. In his pamphlet Agrarian Justice, he proposed to redistribute wealth from the wealthier to the poorer, therefore, creating a more equal society. Paine proposed welfare benefits for the disabled and the elder as well as land and money to young people once they reach maturity. This pamphlet dating from the early years of America are a clear evidence that social welfare and equality were pillars in the creation of the new nation.


This entry was posted in Communitarianism, Individualism, Socialism. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to America is More Socialist than You Might Think

  1. Anonymous Student says:

    I would agree that many programs in the United States are ignored or not talked about much. The ability to send kids to K-12 school on taxpayer dollars entirely is a huge advantage granted to everyone here. The government has many programs aimed at uplifting those who haven’t been able to secure high paying positions. I don’t think these programs are perfect and I think all social welfare could be replaced with a universal basic income. Either way, noticing these socialist programs is certainly important.

  2. Anonymous Student says:

    Great points man! It is really interesting to take the global perspective of America as a non-apologetic capitalist behemoth and try to challenge that by introducing the presence of many American welfare programs. Although, personally, I believe America’s welfare programs really aren’t very productive and have a lot of room for improvement. While socialist is often touted as a dirty word (even with the political prominence of Bernie Sanders), many seemingly “socialist” programs are necessary to assure basic income, food, shelter, and other necessities. Overall, I liked your connections to the class material (like Agrarian Justice), your unique perspective coming from socialist Cuba, and am always a lover of challenges to status quos. Excellent job man!

  3. Anonymous Student says:

    Nice take on this subject! I honestly think so many Americans, including myself, take social programs like K-12 education for granted. If we would’ve told the founding fathers that in a couple hundred years the federal government would be shelling out the money that we do now on social programs, they’d probably roll in the grave a little bit. I think your connection to Cuba was really cool because we also don’t pay much attention in America to what kind things are going on there.

  4. Anonymous Student says:

    I enjoyed your blog post! I really liked the points you brought up and how you linked the points to your personal life. Classifying some of America’s programs as socialist is not a viewpoint I see very often, but when I do come across them I am usually left in a better state of mind about the future of America. Your post is no exception; well written and presented. The only addition I would suggest is providing some sources on your paragraph of America’s social programs, perhaps to a news article about how these programs are socialist, or to an article outlining social welfare programs as a whole.

  5. Anonymous Student says:

    As a Native American tribal citizen, I can only relate somewhat to the socialist society you describe. Our tribe does ensure free health care with the IHS and we have countless economic development corporations sanctioned by the tribes which provide services and opportunities to tribal citizens.

    I think the core distinction in our cases is the size and scope of the governments we’re looking at. The Cuban Republic has more or less been an autocracy since it was a colony, and American tribes seem to favor councils and smaller state government. With this in mind, I wonder if someone like Kemis would support socialism at its most basic form such as what we have described above.

  6. Anonymous Student says:

    The article compares socialism and its perception based on the idea of two countries Cuba and the United States. Cuba was and partly is a socialist and communist nation. Therefore, many restrictions are present that limit the freedom of one’s speech and movement. Arguable, they are present to maintain the regime because people that are exposed to the world would not want to live in such challenging environment. Although the US is a state that is dominant by the economy, money, and free market, it had provided many liberties and right to its citizens. People are welcome to travel, study, and work financial resources dictate their option and opportunities, but there are many ways to increase their amount. consequently, the article is correct in stating that American is more social country and community.

Leave a Reply