As being a non-American, when visting USA the low tax-rates were simply baffling.
Here, for example, people have to pay over 20% per every purchase I make. My salary gets taxed with 20% of income tax + the employer must pay extra
33% of payroll tax + much higher taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and gas.
We can all agree that personal taxes in USA are significantly lower than in most European countries.
Compared to average EU country, US people consume far more, often without even thinking. Too many people overconsume and buy more stuff than they
actually do not need due to being influenced by extreme marketing campaigns, which creates an illusion of choice and freedom to choose. It is one of
the reasons behind the obesity problems and consumerism.
If you have to pay over 150$ for a pair of jeans or shoes (not designer) , 1000$ for an iPhone, 7,5$ for a gallon of gas and 2$ for 0,5l coke, you
actually do have to think more before buying something considering similar/lower salaries than in the US.
Speaking in numbers.
901 B $ deficit in the budget of USA in 2013
, which is added to the huge debt.
In 2011 US people spent 10,7 trillion $ on shopping out of which:
-16 billion on chocolate (2,8 billion pounds eaten)
-2,3 billion on tattoos
-65 billion on soft drinks,
-117 billion on fast food (on average over 300 bucks a year on fast food)
-40 billion on lawn care
-50 billion dollars on pets
-30 billion on lottery tickets
- on average people waste 570 dollars worth of food in a year - total 165 billions
Taking into account every purchase (while not including rent, groceries and other basic needs), rising the sales tax and gas price to similar level as
in European countries have (around 20% and 7,5 $/gal), it would give extra trillions of dollars a year (maybe even double the national budget), which
could be used for creating a stronger system (better education with lower costs, including higher education, stronger healthcare, stronger public
transport network, more social benefits).
If spent well, this would have many benefits:
1) People would consume less, waste less
2) Environmental benefits on driving less, consuming less, wasting less
3) People would be healthier on average, which would mean longer life expectancy, more happiness, less depression
4) People would think more on average before buying stuff ( they do not actually do not need) impulsively
5) Stronger social security for anybody
6) The corporations would lose power
7) Lots of jobs created
8) Wealth cap would lower
9) ... etc
Probably somebody will bring up the argument that it will weaken the economy, so it will be covered. On average countries with very high taxes (for
example Nordic) have similar/stronger and more competitive economies, not talking about leading all kinds of positive statistics from education and
happiness to economy and healthcare.
of Low Tax America - Why Amerians aren´t Getting Their Money´s Worth
On the one hand, yes, we pay less. The share of our total national income captured by the government in taxes is small compared to most
developed economies. On the other hand, we get less. Americans pay out nearly as much as some European countries, Canadians, and the Japanese. But we
receive a lot less for our money.
Look at high-tax Sweden, which has the fourth-most competitive economy in the world, ahead of the U.S., according to the World Economic Forum. In
return for paying their taxes, Swedes have access to a generous support system for families and individuals that most Americans can only dream about.
That includes not only quality health care but also child care, a more generous retirement pension, low-cost college education (most Swedish
universities charge no tuition fees), job retraining, paid sick leave, paid parental leave (after a birth or to care for sick children), ample
vacations, affordable housing, senior care and more.
Ideologically-bound Americans counter that, at least in the U.S. it is discretionary about whether or not you purchase these services. The government
isn't picking your pocket through higher taxes or forcing you to purchase any particular form of assistance. That's undeniably true. But in this
economically insecure age, are services like health care, higher education or some kind of skilled job training, child care, sick leave, parental
leave, retirement and senior care really discretionary? Or are they increasingly essential to ensure healthy, happy and productive families and
If Americans Knew What Swedes Receive For Their Taxes they would probably riot.'
In the United States, any discussion of taxes revives age-old arguments about individualism vs. collectivism: to what extent should government be
invested with the power to take from one person's pocket and place money into another's? Should the wealthy have to share a portion of their wealth
with those less fortunate? The idea of "forced sharing" is one of the bright dividing lines of politics, both today and yesteryear.
But in most of the rest of the developed world these dilemmas have been more or less settled, and with a different outcome. For the most part, people
don't view taxes as collectivism steamrolling over the individual. Rather, taxes are viewed as a kind of membership dues that self-interested
individuals pay to be in a club from which they all mutually benefit. A Labor Party leader in the Netherlands, Wouter Bos, captured the prevailing
philosophy, arguing that the Dutch workfare support system is based on "enlightened self-interest" -- "We all run the same risks, so we might as well
collectively insure ourselves against those risks."
Such American suppression of this important discussion only serves to perpetuate many myths and prevents Americans from understanding the vast
shortcomings of our approach toward taxation. Consequently, millions of hard-working Americans never have the opportunity to enjoy such a
comprehensive level of support for themselves and their families, unless they can pay a ton of money out-of-pocket -- which most can't
I know many people are unemployed and I really did not mean to offend or judge anyone, these are just facts about spending habits in previous years.
I am interested in the opinion of Americans on this matter after reading this post and the article. I am not American, although I truly hope that
American economy can better itself, as such a big economy has huge impact on the economy here. If the economy collapses there, the same happens here.
As being the largest economy in the world, America also has to bear the responsibility in front of the world.
edit on 30-4-2013 by Cabin
because: (no reason given)