Congratulations! You get to pay for Cuba's retirees
Cuba, that paragon of compassion, universal health care, and the glories of socialism, is outsourcing the support of its retirees to the United States. Investor’s Business Daily points to the little noticed operation underway that was uncovered by the Sun-Sentinel newspapers of Florida:
A relatively little-noted investigation from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports Castro is shipping Cuba's old to the U.S. in soaring numbers — because the Cuban Adjustment Act entitles them to free housing, free Medicaid, free Supplemental Social Security and even welfare. No matter if they have relatives who can care for them, a free retirement plan is theirs for the taking.
That's quite an enticement, given that Cuban old-age pensions run about $7 a month, and Cubans live in shambling misery with shortages, ration cards, broken-down transport and long lines. By contrast, the lowest SSI package is about $700 a month.
With free housing, free health care and free spending money added on, Cubans have a retirement plan unlike anything they can imagine in Cuba, all without having contributed a penny.
The Sun-Sentinel found that in Cuba, knowledge of these benefits is widespread. A surge of elderly Cubans coming to the U.S. for benefits has already begun, nearly doubling from 1,460 to 2,685 so far this year. And Castro has encouraged the emigration of the most costly.
It's part of an overall surge in migration, ever since President Obama announced normalization of relations. Customs and Border Protection data show that from October 2014 to June 2015, 27,296 Cubans entered the U.S. for residency, a 78% rise over last year.
More are coming. Cuba has the hemisphere's oldest population. The average age is 47, and nearly 24% of the population is above age 55, according to CIA data.
The Sun-Sentinel reported arrivals of Cubans over age 60 have risen fivefold since 2010, based on data from Florida's Department of Children and Families. So long as Cuba's economy continues to fail, as socialism always does, and the U.S. welfare spigots remain turned on, the trickle may become a Europe-style flood.
It's become a convenient pressure valve for the Castro regime to rid itself of its old people, with all their costs of aging, while holding on to power.
The cost to U.S. taxpayers for this retirement plan for Castro's castoffs is likely billions. The Sun-Sentinel found welfare alone for all Cuban refugees is about $685 million, and Cubans are the No. 1 recipients.
It is clear that the well-intentioned instant asylum granted to Cubans has outlived its usefulness. As Ed Lasky quips, the inscription on the Statue of Liberty could be updated to "Give me your pensioners, retirees, sick and impoverished."