Saturday, April 25, 2009

Honesty... Is Such A Lonely Word

Yeah, I know...  Billy Joel...  I'm dating myself.

Anyhoo...  Watching Today this morning (gots to get my Miss Amy fix...  Maybe some screen captures later)...  I see this commercial talking about the Dosal family being threatened by this new tax that the Florida Legislature is proposing.  Seems that these Dosals are hard-working, salt of the earth type folks.  Lost everything in Cuba after Castro came to power, moved to America and lived the American Dream.  Started a business here in Florida, hired people...  Even gave the employees (as they are very quick to point out)  "comprehensive benefits."  And now those bastards in the legislature want to tax these good people and throw their employees out on the street.  It's even called the "Dosal Tax"!  Got to love the fat cats in Tallahassee.  Those Dosals are just trying to run a business, damn it and, like every other business, their main goal is to hire people and pay them and give them health benefits.  Now, they don't really say what exactly it is that the Dosals do for a living.  They run a business and employ people, I get that...  Give them benefits.  Not entirely sure what it is that they do though. 

I think I've said before that I live in the Tallahassee media market so when the legislature is in session we get a good number of these advocacy ads.  Maybe you get them as well in other parts of Florida.  Not sure if they are statewide.  Almost all of them have the voiceover done by one of about three people and this commercial is no exception.  They are usually paid for by some group that his a generic name that no one could really disagree with.  Floridians for Healthy Kids or Citizens for Understanding or, as in this case, Floridians for Tax Fairness.  Now, you never really know what these groups are or who finances them or whatever.

Let's do a little Googling, shall we?

Turns out the Dosal family is the Dosal Tobacco Corporation based out of South Florida.  They make cheap cigarettes and have been able to undercut the big guys because Dosal wasn't part of the tobacco settlement.  While Phillip Morris and whoever else is having to pay billions to the state and, naturally, passes that cost along to the smokers, Dosal is able to undercut them and seize market share.  As you might imagine, the big buys aren't real happy about that.

Now, Florida's budget is way out of balance and the legislature is scrambling to find money they can steal raise in order to even the scales.  As always, tobacco is an easy target because everybody hates smokers.  The big tobacco companies have indicated that they are willing to accept a larger tobacco tax if the legislature will even the playing field by imposing a fee on Florida tobacco manufacturers like Dosal...  Thus, the "Dosal Tax."

Now, I'm not a big fan of taxes in general.  I'm also not a fan of imposing taxes that target certain unpopular groups.  It's a little too close to Hitler taxing Jews.  Yeah, I know.  I'm playing the Hitler card.  Still, there is a parallel there.  Anyway, I'm not crazy about this sort of thing.

On the other hand, I'm also not crazy about advocacy ads that don't give you all (or even most) of the facts.  If the commercial mentioned that, oh by the way, the Dosal's make cheap cigarettes, you think maybe people might not be quite as sympathetic?

I ignore advocacy ads because I always assume that there is an ulterior motive:

Sick kids?  It's about money.
Teaching kids?  It's about money.
Health care?  Money.

It's always about someone making or losing money depending on what the government does.

Oh, and Floridians for Tax Fairness?  Did a little web search at the Florida Division of Corporations website.  Here's the mailing address for Floridians for Tax Fairness, Inc:

TWO S. BISCAYNE BLVD.
SUITE 1900
MIAMI FL 33131

and here's the mailing address for DOSAL TOBACCO CORPORATION:

2 S BISCAYNE BLVD.
STE 1900
MIAMI FL 33131

Hmm...  The ad probably wouldn't have been as effective if they had told us that, too.

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