Decades of poverty might not have spurred Cubans to revolution, but this might.

No more free smokes, all you old fogies.

HAVANA (Reuters) — Cuba is phasing out its longstanding monthly allotments of subsidized cigarettes as President Raul Castro works to jump-start the island’s sputtering economy.

Beginning next month, some 2.5 million Cubans over the age of 54 no longer will get their four packs of cigarettes as part of the country’s ration program, the government announced on Wednesday.

Communism worked real good as long as a Big Mommy Russia was paying the bill. It might still be working real good, if Momma’d had somebody paying her bill, too. But she didn’t, so she’s buh-bye.

No more grilled-cheese sandwiches and free cable for you, Cuba. Time to get a job.

Granted: Cuba doesn’t have the resources or population the U.S. does. Still, this ought to be at least a little bit of a cautionary tale. The money for public freebies has to come from somewhere. The more goods you subsidize for more people, the more dependent you become on an ever-smaller number of people to pay for those subsidies. Sooner or later, you end up with too little money, and too many needs.

Oh, right. You can quit any time you want. Sorry, I didn’t know.

The question isn’t whether there are needs to be filled. There are, and there always will be no matter how we run our economy. The question isn’t whether capitalism or socialism can “fix everything.” Neither can.

The question is: how can the maximum number of people fill the maximum possible number of needs? When you compare U.S. economic history to that of Cuba, Russia, other nations with more authoritarian traditions, the answer seems awfully clear.

Or maybe the fact that you’re reading this in a padded chair with a 64 ounce Slurpee on the desk next to you didn’t quite make that point.

Posted by The TrogloPundit

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