I noticed an interesting headline in the Daily Mail about a new book on Hitler’s alleged wealth. It suggested that he dodged millions in taxes.
This made me pause and think. Can you imagine some tax guy confronting a ruthless dictator about his tax liability?
Do dictators even pay tax? The English queen does not (she is paid from tax revenues), so I do not imagine Adolph feeling any urge to support “his” nation with a donation. The “royal” family might take a hint from the old boy and charge for the use of likenesses….except they probably do already.
When I become one--either dictator or queen--I will not pay any tax...
The only story of interest in Germany is not Malaysia, Ukraine, or Syria. These are insignificant, because a leading figure in the world of German football/soccer has been convicted of tax evasion. The president of Bayern Munich, the most-successful club in the country and holder of the European title, and the man credited with building the club into a powerhouse has been brought down by greed, arrogance, and hubris. Germans, who like to think of themselves as Europe’s most-honest taxpayers, are enjoying a bit of Schadenfreude...except for fans of Bayern Munich, who would forgive any sin of the club’s president.
I have noticed one major difference between Germany and the United States.
Both are democracies, although the form varies. Both are capitalist market economies. But, a dichotomy exists in the way the government works.
In the United States, decreasing taxes have caused a reduction is government services (schools, police, fire, public works, etc.) All except military spending have be cut back or shifted to the private (profit-making) sector.
In Germany, something rather different occurs. Taxes increase, but services are cut back. Despite governmental bloating and waste, no one complains. School funding in reduced and maintenance neglected, but politicians increase their spending.
Voters in both countries remain docile despite being fleeced…
The photo below was taking while filling the tank of one of out cars. Besides noting the cost of one liter (that’s about 1/4 of a gallon): Euro1.55.9 and then notice the sticker on the right: 86 cents tax per liter.
Gas stations/gas companies place these stickers to inform customers that they are not making huge profits. They want all to know that the government is taking the biggest bite (tantamount to making a huge profit), with over half the cost being tax.
This is one more example of excess taxation in Germany. The government cashing in in more ways than in any other country in the world. Because no one questions (Germans are docile), waste is extreme.
The subject of rich people avoiding taxes continues to be a major issue in Britain. In each report, someone comments that most do it legally. No one seems to point out that the “rich people” and their servants (ie. politicians) make the laws. Of course, they make laws that benefit themselves more than the less-fortunate.
In the spirit of full disclosure (I’m as much a hypocrite as the next man), I would take advantage of every law that would lead to lower taxes...
Any student of world history will have learned about the rise and fall of the British Empire, especially how they enriched themselves through plunder. I did. But, one aspect has made me curious. Why do the British continue to hang onto vestiges of their former glory, mostly tiny islands with no economic potential?
Today, I read an article in Vanity Fair on London real estate, which answered that question. It’s all about money (what else?). These tiny remnants are all tax havens, which protect money of wealthy Brits and funnel secret money, with no questions asked, to the financial institutions in London.
The article provides a good look into the world’s big money, after one gets past the bit about expensive London real estate.
In general, this simply proves the hypocrisy of British politicians, who constantly rant about eliminating tax havens and tax avoidance.
I often read or hear about the danger of increasing taxes on those that “create wealth”. From the best I can tell, wealth creators in the United States--more so than other industrial nations--are basically creating wealth for themselves at the expense of those less-well-off. The demand to lower--or not raise--taxes is nothing more than a plea to help them “create” even more wealth...for themselves and their ilk.
I noticed the following quote on the front page of several newspapers and heard the quoted comment on one news broadcast.
Republican candidate says he will not release more tax records
but his own review shows 'I never paid less than 13%' in the last decade
A review of my taxes shows that I never paid more than 58% plus whatever ridiculous amount I owed in US taxes, because of a legal trick called minimum alternative tax (this is the opposite of tricks used by rich guys to avoid taxes). That’s a clever way of extorting money from citizens living overseas, who pay taxes to a nation that has an offsetting tax agreement.
I have no sympathy for Baseball Glove, who has become wealthier because of tax laws. I have failed to become wealthy and ended up less well-off because of US and German tax laws.
Frequent discovery of reasons to be disappointed with the country of my birth is unpleasant. Enjoying illusions is far more satisfactory. But, alas, evil people keep coming up with ways to destroy that. The latest comes from a Vanity Fair article about Baseball Glove Romney’s talent for avoiding US taxes and thereby becoming unseemly rich.
According to the article, the US government has passed laws to make tax avoidance attractive foreigners willing to invest in the United States. On the one hand, the government complains about countries, like Switzerland, making tax avoidance easy, but does the same thing. And, continue to tax its own citizens regardless of where they live...unlike countries whose citizens are being lured to hide money in the US.
I do not like to dislike anything, anybody, or anywhere. I do like to dislike taxes, but only unjust ones. I happen to be realistic enough--unlike a seemly large number of fellow citizens--in the necessity to raise money to pay for services and infrastructure. I would suggest a middle path, which seems to be unacceptable to anyone able to manipulate laws or take advantage of them.
`There is one tax, which I do not mind paying. The German word is Kurtaxe, which is levied in many tourist towns. Kur means cure, such as one takes at a spa. Each visitor to such towns pays a daily fee--usually one or two euros--which is added to one's hotel bill. The money is used to beautify the town. Below is one poor example from a park in Interlaken
I was first impressed by flowers in such towns and cities, when I first visited Europe last century, and continue to enjoy this practice. I'm happy that the likes of Grover Norquist have yet to crawl from under a rock on this side of the Atlantic.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.