Friday, June 12, 2009

Main difference between Europe and USA; Americans pay more tax and their women looks different

More than two weeks ago The New York Times runs an article with the heading: ‘Going Dutch’. When I was reading the article, I remembered a conversation with a Dutch CFO of a Dutch multinational in Miami in 2002. He was in the process of getting a green card and I in the process of getting a work permit, which was granted within 3 weeks. Thank you America, unfortunately, I never made use of it since I moved, after having obtained the work permit, to my current home, Istanbul.
Anyway, this CFO and friend of my, tried to convince me that in the end people in America, the average one, pays much more tax than for example the average Dutch in the Netherlands - but it can also be another person from one of the Nordic countries which have all the same ‘social democratic system’ often in the USA declared as ‘communalistic’ aka Communists! Yuk, don’t label us that too easy!

I put several excerpts of that article of the New York Times Magazine here below…and especially to all the American Conservatives, reading this article, have fun..)

‘’ For 18 months now I’ve been playing the part of the American in Holland, alternately settling into or bristling against the European way of life.’’

‘’ For the first few months I was haunted by a number: 52. It reverberated in my head; I felt myself a prisoner trying to escape its bars. For it represents the rate at which the income I earn, as a writer and as the director of an institute, is to be taxed. To be plain: more than half of my modest haul, I learned on arrival, was to be swallowed by the Dutch welfare state. Nothing in my time here has made me feel so much like an American as my reaction to this number. I am politically left of center in most ways, but from the time 52 entered my brain, I felt a chorus of voices rise up within my soul, none of which I knew I had internalized, each a ghostly simulacrum of a right-wing, supply-side icon: Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, Rush Limbaugh. The grim words this chorus chanted in defense of my hard-earned income I recognized as copied from Charlton Heston’s N.R.A. rallying cry about prying his gun from his cold, dead hands.’’

Note: only people in one of the highest income groups pay ‘as a starter 52% tax’. For sure, he’s able to go at least 3 times a year on holiday, from 1 week to a trip of 3 weeks, probably the USA..)!

‘’And yet as the months rolled along, I found the defiant anger softening by intervals, thanks to a succession of little events and awarenesses. One came not long ago. Logging into my bank account, I noted with fleeting but pleasant confusion the arrival of two mysterious payments of 316 euros (about $410) each. The remarks line said “accommodation schoolbooks.” My confusion was not total. On looking at the payor — the Sociale Verzekeringsbank, or Social Insurance Bank — I nodded with sage if partial understanding. Our paths had crossed several times before. I have two daughters, you see. Every quarter, the SVB quietly drops $665 into my account with the one-word explanation kinderbijslag, or child benefit. As the SVB’s Web site cheerily informed me when I went there in bewilderment after the first deposit: “Babies are expensive. Nappies, clothes, the pram . . . all these things cost money. The Dutch government provides for child benefit to help you with the costs of bringing up your child.” Any parents living in the country receive quarterly payments until their children turn 18. And thanks to a recently passed law, the state now gives parents a hand in paying for school materials.’’

Note: until recently, the payments were unlimited regarding children – if you have 10 chilren for each child you get money. Now only until your 3th child. Still fair, or not?

Payments arrive from other sources too. Friends who have small children report that the government can reimburse as much as 70 percent of the cost of day care, which totals around $14,000 per child per year. In late May of last year an unexpected $4,265 arrived in my account: vakantiegeld. Vacation money. This money materializes in the bank accounts of virtually everyone in the country just before the summer holidays; you get from your employer an amount totaling 8 percent of your annual salary, which is meant to cover plane tickets, surfing lessons, tapas: vacations. And we aren’t talking about a mere “paid vacation” — this is on top of the salary you continue to receive during the weeks you’re off skydiving or snorkeling. And by law every employer is required to give a minimum of four weeks’ vacation. For that matter, even if you are unemployed you still receive a base amount of vakantiegeld from the government, the reasoning being that if you can’t go on vacation, you’ll get depressed and despondent and you’ll never get a job.’’
‘’Such things are easy for an American to ridicule; you don’t have to be a Fox News commentator to sneer at what, in the midst of a global financial crisis, seems like Socialism Gone Wild.’’

Note: He forgot to mention here the bonusses and Christmas and end of years extra payments. But read and enjoy the full article herrreeeee
And don't ask me why I as a Dutch live in Turkey...

Statement #20

Modernity doesn’t mean Democracy
But Democracy means Modernity
(On the question if the ‘modern’ Arab states are for the people/by the people)

Day Opening - June 12

Gadhaffi and his body guards...