Saturday, June 15, 2024

The Freedom Tax.

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( I took the time to read the lyrics of the Star-Spangled Banner. The last line of the first stanza is the following: “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”  I never knew there was a question mark.  Every time I heard someone sing that part, their voice was certain. Confident.  Solid.  Francis Scott Key, the song’s author, questioned if we were really free or brave.


Then, I had a conversation with a friend. She’s going to the Dominican Republic to complete plastic surgery as the final part of her surgery series.  Each surgery she has completed has been in another country because it costs her more to have the exact same surgery in the United States.  She has a six-figure salary. She owns her own business.  Yet, she has to travel to another country just to save money so she can take care of her family as a single parent along with protecting her health.


My response: “Wow. We may be the land of the free, but we pay a hefty price to be here.” It was at that moment the inspiration for this article clicked, and I began my research into seeing just how much this freedom tax really costs Americans. I started with plastic surgery. Media will have you believe people do it just for cosmetic reasons. However, one of the most popular surgeries is due to the increase in obesity. Plastic surgery helps some of those people “reset” so they can develop a healthier lifestyle.  Abdominoplasty (a tummy tuck) costs about $8150 in the United States. In Mexico, that same surgery is $4500!  Then, I looked at groceries.  In the United States, the average cost of groceries is $27.10.  In the United Kingdom, the cost is $21.75. Finally, I looked at prescription costs.  Apparently, the “prescription drug prices in the U.S. are more than 250% times higher overall than those in 32 other countries”.

Again, ouch.

As black people, most of us subconsciously believe we pay a “black tax”  in order for us to be successful in business and other areas of careers.  I know I have experienced it. However, this freedom tax doesn’t just impact your self-esteem. It is a monumental part of our everyday lives because it affects our income and livelihood.  The average salary in the U.S. is around $56,000 dollars. If citizens have to pay so much for things like prescriptions and groceries, how can they truly live the freedom that is expected?  It’s quite difficult to be free when you are living from paycheck to paycheck while paying back student loans in the midst of raising 3 children and taking care of your elderly mother who has Parkinson’s’ disease.

I want to be incredibly angry, but I realize that this is a problem we created because of perception.  The United States will do anything in its power to uphold the illusion that anyone who comes here can achieve the American dream if they work hard enough to make the money to do so.  When money becomes the American dream focus, it leads to an emphasis being placed on what makes a citizen look or appear free even if they are not.  How can this tax go away?  From my viewpoint, it is possible, but it will take a change in mindset.  Americans have to realize that materials or appearances are not as valuable as they think.  Once that shift happens, it deflates the cost of things people consider valuable.  Until then, the freedom tax exists, and it is not going anywhere any time soon.

Staff Writer; J. W. Bella

May also follow this talented sister online over at; JWB Writes.

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