Category Archives: Australia

Australia’s Health Care System Is Fine Until You Chuck a Sickie

Shortly after the US House of Representatives passed its latest iteration of health care reform, President Donald Trump said that Australia has “better health care than we do.”

The bill is actually a step toward the Australian ‘universal’ health system.

White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders clarified that Trump did not intend to suggest that he favors shifting to an Australian-style system, but was merely complimenting an ally. As Sanders explained, “[w]hat works in Australia may not work in the United States.”

Read more at FEE

“Buy Ethical” will only harm the world’s poorest

For the past four years, Baptist World Aid Australia have been releasing their annual Behind the Barcode report into the working conditions of the global fashion industry. In an attempt to combat the garment industries sweatshop phenomenon, the report grades companies on their efforts to provide a safe workplace, a living wage, and freedom from forced labour. These grades ultimately culminate into the Ethical Fashion Guide, a report designed to allow consumers to “buy clothes from the companies doing more to protect their workers.” But while the sentiment may be well intentioned, in reality, the Ethical Fashion Guide does little to empower those they seek to help.

While forced labour, or modern slavery, should be utterly condemned and prevented in every way possible, voluntary sweatshop labour is a different issue. To be perfectly clear, sweatshops absolutely involve lousy working conditions and terrible pay. However, purchasing garments that are ‘sweat-free’ does not magically improve the plight of the world’s poorest. As grim as they may be, sweatshops represent real progress to impoverished people who are rationally committed to improving their lives.

Continue reading at The Spectator Australia 

Cuba’s self-imposed embargo is hurting Cubans more than the US embargo

At the end of January, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., introduced the Agricultural Export Expansion Act aimed at removing restrictions on United States agricultural exports to Cuba. Following the steps of 16 other states, Virginia also launched its Engage Cuba State Council, an initiative of the Cuba Engagement Coalition that seeks to promote trade and travel with Cuba and eventually lift the embargo.

Supporters of these initiatives believe ending the embargo will alleviate Cuban poverty while helping state economies grow. The president of Engage Cuba, James Williams, said the Agricultural Expansion Act would “increase US agricultural exports, create jobs across the country, and provide the Cuban people with high-quality American food.” While these efforts are an important step in improving American relations with the Caribbean country, Cuba also needs to reform its system of import taxation for trade liberalization to have its desired effect.

The U.S. embargo against Cuba has been controversial since it was implemented in the 1960s. Opponents of the embargo argue that restricting the population’s access to cheap foreign goods makes the country poorer and gives the government someone to blame for its widespread poverty. Proponents of the embargo believe that it is the one thing keeping the Communist Party of Cuba in check, providing justice for dissidents and keeping money out of the pockets of regime officials.

While they have valid arguments, advocates on both sides are missing an important factor: whether or not an external embargo exists, most goods will never reach the Cuban people because of a state-imposed internal embargo.

Continue reading at Washington Examiner.