How The United States Can Learn From Cuba
In 2013, my family and I traveled to Cuba, a communist society led by a dictator, Raúl Castro. In Cuba, citizens are restricted from freedom of expression, meaning that the government controls all media output and input. The government claims this is for the “public security, the integrity, the economy, independence, and national security” of Cuba (“World Report 2015: Cuba”). Even though the government restricts certain rights and freedoms, the government also takes care of its citizens from cradle to grave. Every Cuban citizen receives free healthcare and free education. They are cared for in pain and sickness and given the opportunity to educate themselves to the highest levels of academia; all without paying a dime. I talked to multiple citizens and almost all seemed happy with their wealth and position in their society, as everyone has access to the same things. Contrast these facts with the United States. We are considered to be a “free country” with a lot of room for individual expression, but many of our citizens are unable to afford healthcare. According to a recent Forbes article by Dan Munro, “The U.S. Population is currently hovering at around 320 million, so 2015 looks to be the first year healthcare spending will reach $10,000 per person” (Munro, “U.S. Healthcare Spending”). In addition, the cost of a college education in the United States has skyrocketed in recent years. “According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2015–2016 school year was $32,405 at private colleges, $9,410 for state residents at public colleges, and $23,893 for out-of-state residents attending public universities” . More prestigious colleges and universities, such as Dartmouth, charge over $67,000 a year, including tuition, fees, books, and housing expenses (“Financial Aid Cost of Attendance”). These astronomical costs have led many American students into poverty, unable to pay back the student loans they are forced to take out in order to finance their education. In the United States, the government can even go after senior citizens and tax their Social Security checks in order to pay back old student loans. Nonetheless, these are not fears shared by the people of Cuba, who never have to worry about ending up homeless or bankrupt because they are unable to pay for education or healthcare.