This past weekend, I did some traveling to visit family out of state and get out of the “cabin” for awhile. The weather was good and a cookout ensued on Sunday under sunny skies and mid 70 temperatures. As the guests gathered, a nice family arrived, friends of my sister and brother-n-law. Marc, Trista and their two boys were really nice people and we had a great time playing cornhole and enjoying the great weather. Marc, is a legal immigrant from the Netherlands. His mother still resides there, is retired and visits when she can. So I thought I’d ask questions about life over there, especially when it pertained to the Socialist utopia that a few have been brainwashed into believing. Here is a look at what we talked about.
Healthcare- Healthcare has been 100% socialized up till the recent few years where it is taking a turn towards privatizing. This was paid for through taxes and co-pays. Co-pays were based on income, the more you make, the more your co-pays were. I asked why the push away from socialized medicine. The reply was simple, government costs too much. There was also no talk about lowering taxes as a result of this, and the government would not address the question. (not a shock there).
Public transportation- this is the best thing that I found. The have a great public transportation system, with trains running regularly and on time. The cost is minimal, with senior citizens paying even less. It is mostly taxpayer funded and used by most, except the wealthy (1%) Yes, they have this group too!
Taxes- Now for the bad news. Tax rates are around 50% on income and all but the poorest pay. Taxes on luxury items like cars and TV’s are above 20%, in some cases, reaching 40%, depending on the item. Clothes are also highly taxed above 10%.
Driving- You want to drive, you will pay the price. a drivers license costs about 4K to get. Annual license plates are value dependent, as much as 5K a year. Gas is around 7 dollars a gallon. No question as to why public transportation is so well liked anymore!
Public welfare- There welfare system is far bigger and more lucrative than ours. Immigrants who work their can get assistance for everything, money for food, rent, furniture, transportation costs, utilities and on and on. This is a very sore subject for the natives, as you could imagine. A Moroccan immigrant can live for free in the Netherlands, while taking his earnings and living in luxury back in Morocco for over half the year. Similar to our immigrants send money home, except they can work for half a year at a time over there.
Education- I heard good things about the system as a whole, but we did not spend much time talking about it or the details.
Retirement- I did not get many details on the subject. Marc’s mother took a 7% cut in her retirement income at the beginning of the year. the only answer was that it was government mandated and there is still anger over it.
That is most of the talk in a nutshell. Marc said he could not afford to live over there and raise his boys like he is doing today, because of the taxes. He told me about his mother and upbringing and we shared lots of fond memories. We will now arrange for him and his family to come up to the country this summer for some quiet time shooting guns and dancing around the campfire at night ! As usual, feel free to bring forward any subjects for continued debate.