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So let's start off by saying they're never free because you pay taxes, which pays (part of) your school or medical bill.
That said, when you look at what these things cost after taxes, the USA is one the most expensive "developed" countries by far.
When looking at Here's what college costs in 28 countries around the world - INSIDER[^] you can see that college is free in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Turkey.
In the Netherlands you get money from the government to pay for tuition and housing and on top of that college is heavily funded.
I'm not sure how it is now, but when I went to college the money you got was gifted if you finished in four or five years.
This used to be different, but we got some people who went to college for a long time, like ten years, and kept getting all those benefits.
According to that list, the average tuition per year is $2.420 in the Netherlands, which sounds about right (I can't really say if that's incl. or excl. the money students get from the government).
Personally, I paid around €1.600 in tuition and I had to pay for books, but I got a good €90 a month (which is low because I lived at home and my parents had a decent salary, my girlfriend at the time got over €400).
Even the USA's arch nemesis, Mexico, does very well with only $527 a year.
Compare that to the USA, $8.202 a year, which nets 14% of students a student debt of $50.000 or higher.
I don't know of any countries that have free healthcare, but I do know that when I get cancer I won't have to worry about the costs.
That's not what most Americans can say, or so I've heard: How does health spending in the U.S. compare to other countries? - Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker[^].
Healthcare in the USA is almost twice as expensive as in Europe, but not better nor used more frequently.
Look up other lists and they'll show comparative figures.
The catch, because there's always a catch, is that I ALWAYS pay for healthcare even if I don't use it.
That's because health insurance is mandatory and it costs me around €70 a month, which is pretty cheap (I have the highest own risk, which means I pay €800 when I need treatment, instead of €350, which is the lowest own risk).
I'm also not insured for everything, like psychiatric help, so if I ever need a psychiatrist, the bills could still add up, although not as much as in the USA.
I believe insurance is not mandatory in the USA, but even the most basic insurance is a multitude of what we pay in Europe.
So what I probably meant to say was "All those taxes and you're still crippled by student or healthcare debt "
At least you can still buy a gun to end it all if such a bill ever presents itself.
Which is part sarcasm and, as the numbers show, part truth.
I avoid buying from China not even on political ground but because it's too much a gamble. As for food, I won't eat anything from a country who's regulations are so weak they even poisoned their own infants. And shipped poison pet food to US, and radio-active sheet-rock, and HDD's that are DOA, and alkaline batteries, with 5-10 years before 'expiration' leaking while sitting in a drawer having never been used and . . . on and on . . . also, I avoid Walmart, which has an office and outright sets up manufacturing in China to increase the unsavory flood.
A nice measure would be, and I've sent such a request to various online vendors, is to include in the item description where it was manufactured (sometimes the Ships-From country filters help).
So - my buying their crap has not been been a problem for some time - unfortunately, my personal=safety based boycott isn't 100% enforceable. But, I will shop around and even pay more, although long term, I'm really paying less.
Too keep the reply lounge-safe, I'll stick to this:
The only real difference I found in my taxes, depending upon the party, is which one does it to my face and which one hides it and pretends they're tax heroes.
Interesting food for thought: with the 'big tax cut' (which would have increased my taxes if my mortgage wasn't paid off), there is a need for a new revenue stream to fill in the gaps created by the cut . . . and what better way to raise taxes than indirectly, via tariffs (sort of a VAT without a vote). Recessive tax rates - the sweet sound of more wealth to those already wealthy - and no work is involved.
They work for a living, buy food with money they earn; try to enjoy some recreation. Unlike the wealthy they have no advocates. Unlike the self-proclaimed oppressed, they have no advocates. They work so they can't get Medicaid - and they don't earn enough to pay for medical insurance. If they have legal problems they must spend much of their earnings on legal council because Legal Aid and other such organizations won't give them the time of day (except when they want donations) - neither have they enough money to buy their way out of trouble, either.
Ultimately, they're the ones who pay for everything for everyone else.
Other dictionary definitions that should exist for the middle class:
Economic Cannon Fodder
Working Class Lemmings
I've heard many a politician stump on looking out for the middle class.
Until after the elections. Basicly the same for all the idiots, past and present.
honey the codewitch wrote:
What i don't hear from them is concern over the working poor,
That class growing with the infusion of immigrants from the middle class.
Personally, I think it's a disgrace that a person in the USA can work full-time job and not have enough money to get by. And should they dare have a family? !
Another observation, one which I made to my kids, right as they were finishing high-school and shopping for college: "You can work hard now, or you can work hard the rest of your life". In general, the lowest pay is reserved for the hardest jobs.
On the other hand - I have seen and heard first hand account (via wife, a teacher) how poor the attendance is where she teaches and how little respect the students have for school and education. There's a result of peer pressure? Family/culture? Maybe a society that will give them what they need if they don't work for it themselves - a honeypot to keep them in lower class or a palliative to avoid an increase in crime?
Plenty of pandering going around. My (partial) solution? No one should starve or be cold; as a society we should supply the necessities of life where needed - social safety nets are for all of us. HOWEVER, if you want nice things then, well, you'll need money and that's for those who work. Protection and motivations need to be coordinated. Is it cruel, or, is not doing it what's really cruel?
No one should starve or be cold; as a society we should supply the necessities of life where needed - social safety nets are for all of us.
are you elephanting kidding me? Try that with your children, they'll never elephanting move out. Are you drunk? Define the necessities of life? You guys boggle my mind. There is nothing like a little "sh*t this sucks, I need to do something" to get someone motivated.
<italic>Stuck in a dysfunctional matrix from which I must escape...
"Where liberty dwells, there is my country." B. Franklin, 1783
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” BF, 1759