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19% sales tax? Do they ALSO have an income tax?

But of course. We have all the nice taxes one could wish for. After all, the German (and European) politicians are not so stupid as the Americans. Therefore, they must know best how to spend our money, right? That's what our media says, anyway. And way too many people believe it.

If England and the United States hadn't fought, Hitler would have won his war. Perhaps the world would be a better place, nicht wahr ? Germans would be happier people, aber natürlich !

How would the oh-so-smug German majority answer that?

"Truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but, in the end, there it is."
-- Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
British statesman and Prime Minister.

Ray, keep up your good work.

Thanks.

@thomass: "19% sales tax? Do they ALSO have an income tax?"

Do they ever. Allow me to give you a little example. Not only is there income tax (minimum bracket 25%), church tax, solidarity tax, there is also property tax, energy tax (petrol is 3 times as expensive as in the US just because of the taxes), insurance tax and road taxes that are out of this world, real estate transfer taxes, etc... suffice it to say that there is probably not a tax that they haven't implemented here, and in spades. There are also the "contributions" (Beiträge) -- the Germans don't call them taxes, even though they are: The mandatory contributions to the state-run health insurance scheme, unemployment insurance, old-age pension insurance, disability insurance, and long-term care insurance. These are in the truest sense of the word not insurance, because you have to pay into them whether you have a risk or not, and whether you want to or not (I don't have a risk, and I don't want them, but too bad). You have no choice. Similarly, the "fees" (Gebühren und Abgaben). We pay $25 a month to support "public" television whether we watch it or not. The law says you can't opt out. Even if you only have a computer, or a car with a radio, you're still in. There are several other such mandatory fees, such as "wiederkehrende Beiträge" for street repairs or so on, even though direct taxes support the same thing. So, what this means is that my very average German teacher's salary is only 45% of the original amount by the time I actually see it. And of that 45%, more than half goes to pay the other incidental taxes (described above) along the way. It is not exaggerating to say that 75% of what I earn feeds the German Social State, and I won't ever see a penny of it. The percentage of pay that goes to the old-age pension scheme is also being raised on 1 Jan. Trouble is, in a few years there will be so many retired and so few actually working that they can't raise the rates high enough to keep the system afloat. It's the same demographic time bomb we have with Social Security, but 100 times worse and much more acute especially since the Germans are not having children. And so many special interest groups have so many politicians in their pockets (on both sides of the aisle) that nothing can be reformed. Gee, isn't "social market economy" great?
I haven't even mentioned how my US Air Force pension gets double-taxed here because they obviously think I have too much money.
Under these conditions, it is no wonder that Germans don't feel very generous with the money the State doesn't spend for them.

I totally agree with you scout.
I amamazed at the German public's gulliblity as well. Now their Government is trying to mandate increases in pay just because the "Forecast" for Q4 is not as bleak as before.
The end result will be a peole endorsed Tax hike. Just imagine the bottom line. The Government takes approximately 70% of those increases in various taxes, starting with Gewerbesteuer, Koerperschaftssteuer, Einkommensteuer, Mehrwertsteuer, Oekosteuer, solodaritaetssteuer, Sozial abgaben etc.
A clever trick to get the public behind an incredible Tax increase by paying them off.
The down side of course lies in the future, which will make German products even more expensive in the world market. Dumb Dumb, Dumb.
They just can't understand that the Market should regulate this, not the Government?

"The fact is that Americans give more than the citizens of any other country. … They also volunteer more," Brooks said. "Americans per capita individually give about three and a half times more money per year, than the French per capita. … Seven times more than the Germans and 14 times more than the Italians."

If that is a fact, then I would like to see some methodology.
I doubt those numbers, because there are not reliable statistics about how much Germans donate for international causes. Nobody is keeping track of private donations, as far as I know. The Hudson report acknowledges that.

Besides, remittances are NOT foreign aid. It is not American generosity with poor people. It is just solidarity within a family. Immigrants in Germany also send huge amounts of money to their families in the countries they came from.

"midst of the journalist-driven panic and bed-wetting over Iraq"

I don't think that is a fair assessment. The Iraq Study Group wrote there is "significant underreporting" of the actual level of violence in the country.

Jorg,

The methodology could not be any worse than the flaky link about aid that was posted on the Atlanta Review.... give me a break protection of the enviroment...

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