USA, the land of the FREE (minus the freedom plus more taxes if you smoke)!

Понедельник, 17 Мая 2010

This is a topic that is very close to my heart. The United States of America has always been a beacon of freedom in the world. The country was formed with one idea, freedom.


Regardless of how you may feel about specific actions of the government of the USA, throughout the history of this great nation, the truth is, that this is a country of opportunity.


As an immigrant that was not able to live in my native country (Cuba), I have the utmost respect for the USA, however, I have also learned here, that it is fine to disagree with the government, it is actually the duty of the individual to call out the government when injustice is being done and try to change the course of the government’s actions, by voicing our dissent and voting the politicians out of offices if we do not agree with their actions.


Smokers in the USA today are not only marginalized, but the government is asking them to pay more and more taxes to make up for the government’s excessive expenditures. On one hand the local, state and federal governments are expanding the banning of smoking and on the other, the smokers are paying more and more taxes.


In response to government actions, more and more smokers are fighting back, and one of the ways is the newly created Cigar Rights of America. This group is a nationwide grass roots organization formed by individuals that are tired of the government’s abuses. This is a typical American response, were the people take issue with the government and fight back.


This type of action is what makes the USA a great country, where the individuals have a constitutional right to question the government and to raise their voices without the fear of persecution.


Currently the smokers are having to fight local legislation that try to increase taxes or expand the smoking ban. The following are some of the cities and states that  Cigar Rights of America is monitoring and organizing their members to fight:


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:

The city council is trying to impose a 3.6 cent tax on every cigar sold in Pennsylvania in addition to the taxes that the state is also trying to impose on cigars and in addition to the Federal Taxes.



The state senate is working on a bill to make it illegal to smoke in all enclosed establishments such as bars and restaurants.



The state senate is working on a law to increase the state’s tobacco taxes, including  an increase to the current Other Tobacco Products tax rate (which includes cigars) from 10% to 40% (this increase is in addition to the Federal Tax).



The state legislators passed a law which needs to be signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger  (the Terminator) to make it illegal to smoke in public parks and public beaches.



The Governor of Massachusetts proposed to increase the state tax on tobacco products (including cigars) from the current 30% to 110% (in addition to the Federal Tax). (No this is not a typographical error)



The state is reviewing a senate bill that makes it illegal to smoke in any public building, public place and any enclosed area within a place of employment.


Brooksville, Florida:

The mayor of the city proposed a law for the city not to hire any individual to work for the city if they smoke or use any tobacco product, even if they smoke in their homes. Under the new law, the city will fire any current employee if they do not quit smoking within 12 months if the law goes into effect.


(To the readers of this blog, I must disclose that I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. These are actual proposed laws being considered by the local and state governments).


If you would have told me when I came from Cuba that 30 years later the United States Government and local governments were going to try to restrict individual freedoms and impose unfair, excessive taxes on individuals, I would have told you that those things will have never happened in the USA. But, what I did know, even when I came from Cuba 30 years ago, is that the citizens of the USA will not sit still while the government restricts their freedom or imposes unfair taxes. After all, this country is the beacon of Freedom (If you do not smoke that is).