One of the great things about traveling is the opportunity to meet people that live and work in different parts of the world.
On our recent trip to Brussels for the ICANN meeting, we do what we always do, talk to the local shop owners, taxi drivers, people that are sitting next to you in restaurants, about world events, their country, their way of life.
We chatted with one middle aged Gentleman for a few hours. He grew up and lived in Brussels his whole life.
Soon the subject of our discussion turned towards taxes.
I ask him what income tax rate he was paying.
“I pay 58% and I’m proud and happy to do so.”
He went on to explain why he had no problem with paying 58% tax:
Our medical care is paid for. If I, my wife, or our children get sick or need surgery, we don’t have to pay for it. Prescriptions, doctors, hospitals they are all free.
Schools and university are free.
The parks and streets are clean.
The police are helpful and are not corrupted.
The country supports the arts, which are very important and it keeps all of the historic and important buildings in excellent condition.”
Not once did he bitch or complain about his 58% tax rate.
He did say he, like most middle or lower class people in Brussels, he had to work 2 jobs to live.
He claimed to work 2 jobs, 7 days a week, totally 350 hours a month.
“If I only worked one job I would not have enough money in my pocket after taxes to pay my mortgage.”
So although he said “All I do is work”, he said he was happy.
I love my jobs, I love what I do, I live in a beautiful place, I have a great wife that I love, I have great friends, what more could I ask for”.
I have a small apartment but there are a ton of parks so why do I need a garden? If I want to walk in the park or have a bottle of wine, I just go to one of the parks.
Like many in Europe he saves money by having just a small car for long trips but uses a bicycle or a motor scooter to go to work, run his errands and do his shopping.
Of course Income tax isn’t the only tax that people in the EU pay.
Most items that are purchased are subject to a value added tax or VAT which is basically a national sales tax of 21%.
Hotel rooms and restaurants bills also include the VAT.
I’m sure there are other fees and taxes the government collects as well.
This gentleman was most proud of his country.
We also met a couple from Norway who told us that they just had a baby a couple of months ago, and the mother gets as a matter of right gets a year off with full pay and benefits after the baby is born and the father gets 13 weeks off with full pay and benefits.
I asked them how many more children they were planning on having.
They said 4.
They were most proud of their country.
Which brings us to July 4th.
If your an American be proud of your country.
Wishing you and your Family a Great Holiday weekend.
Well sound strange, however every European country is different.
For example I am paying 49% (health and social insurance) of my Income, but if is this 49% about 830 Euros a month it stops, it is not rising up, that is the limit beyond nobody pays more.
So if I make 3000 or 10000 there is no difference for me and I am proud too, that I can help people who are not living well – disabled people or children with only one parent etc… It’s called social state : )
What country do you live in?
Great post on socializing on different country…. I do it my self. There are some typos…. did you post from a phone?
Yes when I’m traveling sometimes I have to blog on an iPad or iPhone, which is difficult.
I went through and corrected some errors, thanks for the tip
We also met a couple from Norway who told us that they just had a baby a couple of months ago, and the mother gets as a matter of right gets a year off with full pay and benefits after the baby is born and the father gets 13 weeks off with full pay and benefits.
Mike … Canada has almost the same thing and 35 weeks can be shared meaning the father can take them if the couple so chooses …
Look how the US stands against even against poorer countries.
The US is a vertible banana republic in many ways 🙂
howard Neu says
I’ll take this “Banana Republic” over any other country in the world and shame on you for feeling that way. And if the current administration has its way, WE will be paying that 58% tax without the benefits, just to bail us out of the tremendous debt that we and our children and grandchildren are being put in by the bailouts.
I used to be proud of this country, but am very discouraged by what I see and the way we live now. The U.S. does not have the patriots it used to have, folks are dismissive of you, unfriendly in many cases, won’t lend a hand to neighbors, have become obsessed with their wealth and themselves.
The U.S. Gov’t is now a total puppet gov’t for winning the vote of special interest groups, whether it is big business, big oil, Latinos, etc…… It makes me want to vomit. Sorry….but had to say it.
As a person who has spent a lot of time in other countries, starting at age five, some very poor ones also, I can in all honesty say that the average American lives a very sucky life.
Outside of being free and the somewhat lack of corruption in the U.S., it’s a miserable life for most folks here in the States. Most of the poor folks in free countries I have been to are WAY more happy than Americans.
Most Americans are oblivious to how great it is to live in many other countires. If they only knew they’d get very upset at the quality of life they are missing out on.
I’m really thinking of moving my family to a Latin American country. It IS a better life, folks are happier, folks are nicer, strangers treat you like friends. It’s really a chance to actually LIVE your life and not be a slave to the forced lifestyle in the States.
I have many immigrant friends and they all think life sucks here. They only stay for the money to help other relatives. If it was not for the money they’d be gone in a heart beat. They know what most Americans don’t……in general life better in other countries. And guess what, as the economies in those countries keep growing they are increasingly thinking of going home as opportunities expand there and decrease here.
In Atlanta, where I live, some of the immigrant sections are now ghost towns as folks are going home for better opportunites. The Mexicans are still here in force though.
The U.S. needs an uprising and a real revolution. We need to kick some ass in the Gov’t and change our lives for the better. Not just vote on incumbents with a new crop of sell-outs taking their place…..we need REAL folks in office……not the Palins or the Obamas of the world.
Seriously, think about it……don’t we all want a better life than we have now?
Can anyones say they are happy with the direction we are going or even the status quo?
Howard, we have been turning into a Banana Republic in the short course of about the last 15 years.
I’m very sad to say this.
@ Howard Neu … Howard despite all its faults, as a Canadian I would still move
to any beach city in the sunny West Coast at my first chance 🙂
James Barclay says
I agree with Mike.
I moved to USA six years ago, and it is a disaster of a country if you get disabled like I did three years ago.
I lost my credit, my wife, my house, my health insurance, my job, my health insurance when Cobra run out.
The land of the free is BS . Its the land of the free if you can afford it
So I have had enough. In one month, I will be making ALIYAH to Israel, where they provide health insurance for pre-existing conditions and a safety net for the disabled.
But I am primarily going because all my friends there say that its as expensive to live In Israel as it is in America – only they are so happy there, they would never come back to USA.
However, I will never forget the fact that American heroes died to save my grand parents from the Holocaust in a country thousands of miles away. For that I am eternally grateful.
howard Neu says
Like Ray Charles says “Hit the road Jack, and don’t you come back no more”
it’s acceptable to pay so much taxes, ONLY if all public services are top class
M. Menius says
“We also met a couple from Norway who told us that they just had a baby a couple of months ago, and the mother gets as a matter of right gets a year off with full pay and benefits after the baby is born and the father gets 13 weeks off with full pay and benefits.”
This sounds like a true socialist state. Practically no country can afford to provide those kinds of “entitlements” to its citizens without massive wealth redistribution.
Whatever happened to people becoming personally responsible and financially self-sufficient … without waiting on a government handout. There is no FREE money, or FREE services. The government has no money. Everything is paid for via redistributed wealth earned through private enterprise and the personal income of working people.
People don’t pay tips in restaurants, bar… in Europe. It’s not necessary. 😉
For example in Spain, you can eat in a restaurant two main dishes, dessert and beverages = 12 Euros tax included.
Also we have cheap public transport. People don’t have car because they can go everywhere quickly with it.
High speed trains between cities. By car 6 hours vs by train 2.30 hours.
Kevin M. says
“”And if the current administration has its way, WE will be paying that 58% tax without the benefits, just to bail us out of the tremendous debt that we and our children and grandchildren are being put in by the bailouts.””
@Howard – Agree with them or not, let’s not lose fact of ‘whose’ administration put us in the ‘need’ for these bailouts. (funny how we’re all worried about our childrens and grandchildrens ‘debts’ of tomorrow, but are unsympathetic for the parents of these children that are suffering to find ways to feed and cloth them today!)
“I’m really thinking of moving my family to a Latin American country. It IS a better life, folks are happier, folks are nicer, strangers treat you like friends. It’s really a chance to actually LIVE your life and not be a slave to the forced lifestyle in the States.”
You know I have been very fortunate in my life and had a chance to travel & spend time in countries including some in Latin America.
I have spent months in Costa Rica, going up and down the pacific coast and in the capital of San Jose.
Costa Rica is generally considered the “nicest” place to live in Latin America, I also have spent some time in Panama.
Let me say this.
You don’t want to be poor and living in Latin America.
Lets face it, it sucks to be poor period.
But in Costa Rica if your poor, (we are talking about people who are working, not homeless but are certainly poor), they have a HARD life.
The either walk for miles at a time down dark roads with no sidewalks, no “bike lanes”, many times with children in tow, or they ride on old bicycles down the same crappy roads.
They don’t have seasons there like summer and winter, rather they have a dry and wet season.
In the dry season its hot.
If your driving in a nice car with a/c and hanging out at the beach its great.
But if your poor, then your walking miles in 90+ degrees with high humidity or pedaling a bike to get to work or go to a store or see your family.
In the rainy season it rains, for days at a time, so your then walking that road holding an umbrella or riding a bike with one hand and hold an umbrella with the other.
The final choice is to wait for an hour to get on a hot crowed bus to make your way to work or home and you better be prepared for a long walk from the bus stop to your final destination.
If you get sick and your poor your not going to one of the top hospitals they have in San Jose.
Your going to a local clinic, which I’ve been to, and honestly I wouldn’t leave my dog Bandit there for treatment.
The houses for the poor are amazingly small, no a/c (power bills are very high for a US style house with a/c, hot water etc you would pay $2K a month and up, way up), yet all the houses have bars to protect their meager possessions.
Because its dangerous.
If your poor you don’t get to live behind gates, with guards who have guns.
When I travel through Costa Rica I take no jewelry, not even my wedding ring.
We rent a small Toyota.
Low Profile all the way.
Many parts of the Caribbean are the same way.
Jamaica, Nassau, The DR.
You don’t want to be poor there either.
You don’t want to be there no matter what.
Mexico where it sucks so much to be poor that we (the US) can’t build enough walls to keep tens of thousands of people from coming over.
African countries where they don’t even have clean water to drink or a bucket to carry the water back to their house, or $10 to buy a mosquito net to protect themselves and their family from malaria which still kill hundreds of thousands of people a year.
No doubt it sucks to be poor where ever you are, but their are FAR FAR worse places to be in the world if you are poor than the US.
So on this, of all days, lets not bitch and moan about the US.
Today’s let’s be thankful for all that it has given us, the greatest gift of which well maybe, the opportunity not to be poor.
“People don’t pay tips in restaurants, bar… in Europe. It’s not necessary”
You pay them its just included in the bill to the tune of 20%
Ms Domainer says
Don’t let the door slam on your butt.
Take all your “unhappy” immigrant and tea party friends with you.
If our country is suffering, blame eight years of George W. Bush and his Big Oil cronies. We were doing pretty well during the Clinton years. It’s going to take at least 20 years to undo the Republican damage done on the U.S.
Yes, President Obama has made mistakes trying to fix the problems he inherited from Dubya: a nonsensical war and a financial system in tatters, but when I return to the States next week, I’m going to hang in there because the U.S. is MY country.
Happy 4th to the real Americans who support their country.
I agree with a lot of what you say Mike, especially the Africa part. I spent my youth helping my dad give malaria shots and do mosquito counts in some of the poorest parts of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Southern Mexico. Also Swine Flu in the late 70’s. I’m very keen as to the problems and have actually had dinner with folks living in cardboard boxes and have slept on the streets with the bums in places like Sao Paulo……just for the experience of it.
What I will say though is that the middle class here in the U.S. for the most part can’t afford health care, homes, heating/cooling, gas, etc anymore… so you don’t need to be poor to feel many of the same effects as the poor in Costa Rica.
I can honestly say that being poor in those countries is not the same as here, meaning you can still get by (I don’t mean every person or every section of every country).
It’s hard for me to explain, but to put it another way I know of parts of Mexico where I can live for $2,500-3,500 a year and that includes housing, food, and maid. Does it lack a lot of comforts? Yes, absolutely. But at least you can get by. Here in the States……if you don’t make at least $20,000 a year your fuc*ed. You must earn to make it here, or bum of others or the Gov’t. Everything is so out of whack. You have much higher obligations just to “make it”. A lot of those poor folks in those countries are getting by better than they look.
I know this issue is a controversial one and can be debated to the end of time, but 40 + years of seeing both sides of the fence has led me to have insight that most Americans don’t have.
BTW…..Costa Rica is a cake walk compared to almost all the rest of Latin America. There has been an absolutely huge influx of expatriate money there in the last 15 years. Jaco Beach had about four very small hotels there in 1995. Now it is crammed with big hotels. I’ve spent a lot of time in Costa Rica also, but it has become expensive now that there are so many Americans and Europeans there driving up prices.
My wife has a debilitating disease that costs about $30,000 a year to treat in the U.S. In her home country, Brazil, the treatment is free, compliments of the Brazilian Gov’t. They take much better care of their people than we do, and not just regarding health. Of course it’s a socialism that pays for that, but I’m not here to start a second firestorm. 🙂
Happy 4th everyone if you can manage to muster a smile in light of the status quo. I’d like to show some false bravado regarding this country but I am that discouraged. Maybe I should turn of Fox News huh? They keep screaming and making me more nervous.
I feel like I am being an American by calling a spade a spade even if others feel I should not say these things. We need more folks to speak up as a catalyst for change in this wrecked country.
BTW…….Mrs. Domainer I despised the Bush era but am learning to despise the Obama one even more.
Oh btw…… FairTax.org anyone? It’s about time is it not?
National sales tax to replace income taxes, I can agree with you on that one
Buffalo Dave says
I am not rich but I’ve traveled in asia europe canada mexico and latin america on a students budget. i’ve lived some time in some of these places. i can say this with certainty:
There is no greater place to live than the USA.
Lets keep america free of the socialist scourge. socialism is voluntary slavery.
James Barclay says
America is a great country with a rich mixture of people and culture. But any society is judged on how they treat their most vulnerable citizens.
If I was not lucky enough to have had some decent success as a domainer when I could no longer work due to my illness – I would be out on the street. I happened to be in the right place at the right time.
How many people do not get lucky? How many people die as a direct result of not being able to afford health insurance? Or go bankrupt due to a cap on their insurance policies like me. I had a great job, a great life and great health insurance. And yet still, with all that priviledge, I lost everything.
I have made it back now through domaining. But like I said – I got lucky.
Imagine for a second you were in my shoes but with zero income from domaining.
What would you do to survive as a disabled person?
Uncle Dick says
Everything is relative. To have rich, there must be poor. If everyone was rich we would all be poor. A rich person in Haiti could consider themselves poor in America. If you want to swim with the big fish be prepared to be gobbled up. It comes with competition and if you don’t want to work hard and be creative then expect to be unhappy surrounded by the riches that are produced in this country. Taxation is not in our DNA. Since the beginning of this American experiment we fought tyrannical rule and died for true freedom.
Anyone that wants a government to take care of their needs is a sterile human being. You are much like hair. It is there for the showing, needs daily care and can cost a lot to maintain. You can call me a dick. I am creative and have emotional drive and constantly trying to produce for the future.
It needs to be said time and again that most other countries will never give thanks to the money, resources, blood and treasure that we spilled then and now in war and in peace. Most other countries would be just fine accepting neutrality under the Nazi’s, communists or social rule as long as their survival was sustained. Just like hair, at any given point they can get a different style, cut, color or change the part to the other side. They are creatively and mentally bankrupt.
When was the last time you saw someone from Belgium or Costa Rica walk on the moon, create the computer chip or dream of becoming a billionaire. Not very often I would suppose. The high taxation and supposed social equality that Europe considers so vital is unsustainable. In the next four years it will become frighteningly apparent even more so then now.
Happy 4th to all the other dicks out there.
@ James Barclay, Good for you for finding a dignified way out – I hear you! But I give you two years in Israel, if that . . . You’ll be back! 🙂
“And if the current administration has its way, WE will be paying that 58% tax without the benefits, just to bail us out of the tremendous debt that we and our children and grandchildren are being put in by the bailouts.”
Correct. What do you think should happen; your children and grandchildren should pay for the debt (that has been there all YOUR working life)?
When will you Americans start to get the message, that the debt needs to be paid?
…in the nicest and friendliest possible way.
James Barclay says
Thanks, I was thinking 12 months myself!
Anyway everyone, politics aside, Happy 4th July….to all the nice people out there!
Just think, only in America can you not work a day of your life, pay no taxes, get a free education (with meals), free medical care, and more. Eat your heart out Belgium guy !
And btw I have been mentor to a kid (now an adult) who lives the above life (it’s not pretty) but there are hundreds of thousands like him and the numbers are growing.
M. Menius says
Someone who is happy to pay 58% to “their government” has been indoctrinated over their lifestime to serve a government run state. The guy says he works two jobs just to get by. That says it all.
America is an incredible country because of capitalism and the free market. It breeds ingenuity, innovation, and incentivizes people and companies to create a much better quality of life.
The whole concept is predicated on each individual adopting a work ethic, personal discipline, and applying themselves. The segment of American society unwilling to do these things is growing year after year. Large numbers of our population have been catered to, spoiled, and bailed out to the extent that they have given up on hard work and chosen instead to exist on a never-ending expansion of welfare programs. It’s the lowest common denominator, and it will wreck this once great country.
9 out of 10 emergency room visits go unpaid. Think about that. It’s profoundly revealing.
I was recently seen at a local ER and had a total contact time of around 7 minutes with a receptionist, nurse (who took my temperture and blood pressure) and a doctor (2 minutes to examine an injury). The bill was $404. Why? because I had to help pay for the 9 people before me who did not pay their ER bill. Five years from now that 7 minute bill will be $1000, and eventually the system will collpase as we know it because people expect everything to be FREE … without any expectation that they have to actually work for anything or pay for anything. This mentality is epidemic. This mentality is a cancer that will crush America.
July 4th is a celebration of the hard work and sacrifice that this country was founded upon. A celebration of the opportunity that was forged from people’s dreams and dedication to freedom, independence, and a new way of life. This is being hijacked by a nation of people with their hand out and political “leaders” willing to rob American businesses & entrepreneurs to buy the votes of these people.
I’m from Belgium and the “I need 2 jobs to get by” is BS. You can live fine here with one “normal” job. The cost of living is not too high in Belgium. The average cost of renting is also a lot cheaper compared to America. Heck for $500/month you can rent a nice 2 bedroom appartement in a lot of cities in Belgium (Brussels will be more expensive).
Before I bought my house I was living for 2 years in a nice 2 bedroom appartment in Mechelen (close to Brussels) and was paying 475 Euros/Month. (around $590/month)
Keep in mind also that Brussels is the most expensive city in Belgium. Brussels does not equal Belgium. It’s like saying America is expensive because living in NY is expensive.
The 58% income tax in Belgium is based on how much income you have. If you make less you pay less. Before I started my home-based business I was paying around 40% income tax and my net income was still enough to support me, my unemployed wife and baby daughter (and I could save a little bit of money at the end of every month). I was working 40 hours a week which is the default amount of working hours that employees have to work in a week.
The guy I spent hours with was a limo driver, job 1, he did live in Brussels not on the outskirts and works in Brussels.
He works two jobs, he doesn’t need to make it up and he wasn’t complaining about it.
It is what it is.
The guy had an apartment he said was worth 400k Euro’s certainly not extravagant.
I”m sure he could work only one job if he chose to live in a place other than Brussels in a cheaper place, but for a guy who speaks 4 languages, highly educated and doesn’t have a high lifestyle by any means, paying 58% and keeping just 32% for yourself so you have to work 7 days a week is ridiculous.
I never said the limodriver made it up and I agree with you that keeping 42% (not 32% as you said- if you give 58% on tax you are left with 42%) to yourself while working 7 days a week is ridiculous.
All I’m saying is that this is not the standard of life in Belgium. Like I said while i was still working for an employer in Belgium I payed 40% income tax, worked only 5 days a week (my work location was Brussel btw) and had all the above mentioned benefits and a lot more free time. I didn’t have a high-end job also, I was a mere Helpdesk support guy.
Living in Brussel is a choice and if you have to work 2X as much to have the same benefits as someone living elsewhere in Belgium it’s ridiculous indeed.
Lets just agree that no one should have to work a second job just to pay his taxes
Hawaiian Shirt Guy says
Happy 4th of July everyone!
For good, for bad, I am grateful to see the political dialogs.
The worst thing would be if no one cared!
@ James Barclay – Health is the First Wealth – Its interesting how Americans
always find the money to go to war but never enough money to take care of their
own people with basic healthcare. I had a cousin in New York that got
cancer and his parents confided that had their son not died earlier they would
have gone bankrupt. You get this kind of relief only in America 🙂
Your comments about going to an ER and getting a $404 bill for 7 minutes and stating that the eventually the system will collapse as we know it because people expect everything to be FREE …
While some benefits are certainly up for discussion healthcare is not.
Healthcare is a right from human being to another – its not a benefit which should be decided by government.
The longer we continue to play the role of letting the insurance companies decide how to control the healthcare industry the more we all pay for it.
The whole expression “it costs more to do nothing – which is what the govt does about healthcare in the USA – is exactly spot on”
But hey, with a free healthcare system we would not be provided half the joy of amusement from the jokers in the senate either.
I do enjoy the comment from James
” Its interesting how Americans always find the money to go to war but never enough money to take care of their own people with basic healthcare”
Yes, that about sums it up.
James Barclay says
@buffalodave – your silence is deafening.
“When will you Americans start to get the message, that the debt needs to be paid?”
I get the message loud and clear: http://www.loganflatt.com/2009/12/the-us-will-never-be-able-to-pay-back-its-debts/
John Berryhill says
“When was the last time you saw someone from Belgium or Costa Rica walk on the moon”
You do realize the moon landing was a government program, yes?
When was the last time NASA flew a mission to intercept an asteroid as part of a program to develop asteroid deflection capability?
Oh, right, NASA doesn’t do that… The European Space Agency does….
The remarkable thing, Mike, is that you can have these conversations abroad in English, because educated people don’t get up in your face about the fact that Americans are too lazy to bother.
I was on Fremont St. in Vegas one evening watching a street magician, and a Brazilian tourist and his friend were having a conversation. Some “patriotic” woman turned to them and shouted “This is America, speak English!”
I had been so impressed with how friendly and helpful people were to me in Brazil, even though I had to struggle with a few basic Portugese
phrases. The abject reflexive hostility that Americans have for others is pretty amazing.
I love this country. I have no idea why so many of its inhabitants are so arrogant and mean spirited toward others.
“Some “patriotic” woman turned to them and shouted “This is America, speak English!””
I love this. Its funny (and sad) but everywhere you go in the world you will find Americans who expect English to be spoken because … its the only language many can speak.
First, avoid Fremont street .. odds may be better on the strip but thats one pit of an area to go to compared to the strip
In Miami we have almost 60% of the population speaking Spanish yet politicians argue all the time about making spanish mandatory .. like a second language is a bad thing. America was built on immigrants – in fact, almost everybody has heritage from another country since America was founded long after many of the worlds countries. We are an immigrant country whether “patriots” like to admit it or not.
In Luxemburg citizens have the option to study abroad for a year paid for by the government just to learn another language. In fact, the government will fund a couple trips so as a young person you could live in Barcelona for a year and learn spanish and then move to Paris for another to learn French.
Why, because it increases the education of the population and in turn improves the economy.
Have you have met an unintelligent person from Luxembourg? No.
Have you ever been amazed that a person can speak 5 languages? How many Americans you know can do that. Not many but travel overseas and its more common than you think.
Educators in France are held with high respect from parents but here they are paid sometimes close to poverty levels and have to pay for supplies out of thier own pocket for what .. to help our kids learn? Pay them $75,000 a year I say and you will see how the next generation of kids quickly improve.
My favorite was at the Louve in Paris a few years ago and some Americans shouted .. the signs are not in english, how are we supposed to read them
I can betcha you the Germans, Chinese, Brazilians (yes, even Canadians) and everybody else never said that. They just bought a headphone set and did the tour.
Education and Healthcare are not political topics. It is our responsibility as humans to provide the best care for one another and education for our kids and in the USA no one can argue we fail pretty miserable at this compared to other key countries
Why we argue about this in the USA still is beyond me.
But I guess we still have Halliburton’s to fund.
James Barclay says
Totally agree with Alan and John.
America has done amazing things and as a kid growing up in the UK, there was a wow factor in our attitudes towards America and Americans. Even watching tv hearing the American accent was cool.
However that has changed over the last decade.
America should be the natural friend to British people due to the (IMO non existent anymore) “special relationship” forged since World War II.
Yet many Brits today have a negative attitude towards America. Words such as arrogant, obese and militarily aggressive are some of the nicer names you hear these days. Of course they are stereotypes, but behind every stereotype lies a hint of truth.
Not every Brit of course. But the fact that there is even a small minority says volumes about the change of attitude towards America.
Americans admit this themselves. Take Supersize Me the movie – as an example of the obesity Americans suffer due to poor education & the fact that healthy food is at least double as expensive as fast food.
I cant speak for every Brit, but the ones in my social circle had a negative impression of the US.
Brits get on great with the Aussies and vice versa. But Americans??
Its the assumption that America is the center of the universe that the whole globe needs to listen to – you know the phrase “leaders of the free world”. I would certainly say leaders in global war zones, but of the free world??
Until Americans can wrap their heads around the fact that healthcare is a right and not a privilege, that having your taxes pay for a revolving door career criminal’s RIGHT to have an attorney is LESS important than the right to life, there will be a seething resentment amongst the working class of Americans who are all struggling to pay their healthcare bills or go without and roll the dice
I think of Michael Moore, (enemy number 1 of the far right & probably more hated than Osama Bin Laden)his film Sicko struck a deep chord within me and I must say I was in shock and in tears watching that movie. The fact that first responders to the 9/11 attacks who did not have healthcare insurance are out of work and denied healthcare due to the horrific long term damage all the smoke and pollutants and jet oil that they inhaled as they desperately tried to rescue people – otherwise known as a preexisting condition….is just unfathomable.
And 10 years later, they still dont have their compensation, due to legal shenanigans and bureaucracy
America has led the way for the last 50 years and I hope for the next 50 years too.
But they need to get their house in order for that to happen.
The only civilized country in the world NOT to have socialized medicine is not a medal to hang on the mantelpiece – it is a shameful smudge that needs hiding in the basement.
I agree with you avoid Fremont Street.
I happen to known one American that speaks 5 languages, including Japanese, he is a friend of mine and works as a concierge for a 5 start hotel in NY
But, Americans don’t have any accent! 😉 It’s you Brits who don’t pronounce the ‘r’ in most words even though the ‘r’ is right there in the word; we Americans pronounce our ‘r’s (unless we happen to live in Boston — “pahk ya cah”. Here in Texas, we most definitely pronounce our ‘r’s and we do it hard. Some older folks in Texas also like to add an additional syllable to each word — “West” becomes “Way-yest”. 🙂
Actually, I know quite a few Americans who speak four or five languages. I can travel alone with my French and German pretty well too.
I’m sorry man – and I know you might be joking – however your comment that Americans don’t have an accent is an example of the arrogance that exists in the American stereotype.
Remember, when people take about stereotypes they speak in general terms. Every stereotype was not just created by some random man in a basement – there is an element of truth in most.
I am not attacking America just pointing out the difference that many people in the rest of the world – you know the 4 BILLION people that represents 10 times the American population.
You had a smiley face which suggests you’re joking .. I hope
You see, by saying that American’s do not have an accent you are actually saying that we use English in its proper and ONLY correct form and everybody else speaks it wrong.
English is a language we inherited from the first British settlers – When you inherit something you are not given rights to say its your own. If you modify it sure but at the end of the day its still a language provided by the British.
As far as accents go – we all have one as without accents we would all sound the same!
Texans surely can be laughed upon as much as those people in Boston and the UK if one wants to mock the language differences. Although at times it can provide for humor its not really intelligent to say that someone pronounces English wrong unless they simply don’t understand the language which is certainly not the case of British people.
All universities offer advanced degrees in linguistics since 100’s of versions of English exist although throughout the Americas and the rest of the world – although most are very minor.
Is it proper Engligh to say
How’s she going?
Stay where you’re at till I comes where you’re to?
Oh me nerves
I grew up in Eastern Canada (Newfoundland) and we speak English yet certain parts of the English dialect found are a combination of the English and Irish our first settlers used.
Although not proper in the vast usage of English in the world there are still millions of people who understand actually what you mean and accept the fact that you come from a different culture where soundbites are often inserted into the common or popular English language.
I find saying one doesn’t have an accent is like saying the Brits drive on the wrong side of the road.
It’s the other side mate – not the wrong side.
How many winks and smiley faces do I have to use to clue you in that I’m being facetious?
I think another 2 would have made it clear.
Funny – I must need coffee again but hey – some dude will read this one day and might learn something lol … Thanks for being a good sport – actually didn’t cut you up like I do to some people at times since I did think you were joking especially when I read your prior comment to know what page you were on.
My comments were true though all the same and come on – you know Texas is its own little country that just happens to be located within the US 🙂
I actually enjoy this thread more than domains the last 24 hours .. sad.