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The happiest taxes on earth

Posted by on May. 15, 2009 at 4:01 PM
  • 64 Replies

Northern Europeans are the happiest people on the planet, according to a new survey.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says people in Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands are the most content with their lives. The three ranked first, second and third, respectively, in the OECD's rankings of "life satisfaction," or happiness.

There are myriad reasons, of course, for happiness: health, welfare, prosperity, leisure time, strong family, social connections and so on. But there is another common denominator among this group of happy people: taxes.

Northern Europeans pay some of the highest taxes in the world. Danes pay about two-thirds of their income in taxes. Why be so happy about that? It all comes down to what you get in return.

The Encyclopedia of the Nations notes that Denmark was one of the first countries in the world to establish efficient social services with the introduction of relief for the sick, unemployed and aged.

It says social welfare programs include health insurance, health and hospital services, insurance for occupational injuries, unemployment insurance and employment exchange services. There's also old age and disability pensions, rehabilitation and nursing homes, family welfare subsidies, general public welfare and payments for military accidents. Moreover, maternity benefits are payable up to 52 weeks.

Simply, you pay for what you get. Taxes in the U.S. have taken on a pejorative association because, well, we are never really quite sure of what we get in return for paying them, other than the world's biggest military.

Healthcare and other such social services aren't built into our system. That means we have to worry more about paying for things ourselves. Worrying doesn't equate to happiness.

The U.S. ranked 11th on the OECD list. In addition to the top three, we were beat out by Sweden, Belgium, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Norway. To be sure, we were ahead of France, Great Britain, Japan and China, among many others. But we can do better.

With the highest gross domestic product in the world, we are the richest country. On a per capita basis, though, we don't even make the top 10. The U.S. ranks 15th in this category, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Denmark -- maybe because they are happy -- ranked fifth. Other, more "satisfied" countries also earn more on an individual income basis. Oh yes, and the average workweek in Scandinavian countries is less than the U.S.'s

We need to take better care of ourselves.

It may not just be taxes, of course, that lead to happiness. There are other factors to consider. But better social services and less worry about having to pay for things such as medical bills, retirement and education do help with the happiness factor.

Yet, we are so dead set against paying more taxes that it's even spawning nationwide protests. Tea party, anyone?

Maybe it's time that we looked at taxes differently. We have to pay them anyway. So they might as well make us happy. If Northern Europe is any benchmark, the more we'd pay the happier we just may be.

Thomas M. Kostigen

Copied from Wall Street Journal


 

by on May. 15, 2009 at 4:01 PM
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Replies (1-10):
sweetie00
by on May. 15, 2009 at 4:11 PM

I heard about this. I had forgotten to post it, so thank you for doing so. Excellent points.

funny how we are the richest, yet not the happiest?!?!

tericared
by on May. 15, 2009 at 7:35 PM

Taxes in the U.S. have taken on a pejorative association because, well, we are never really quite sure of what we get in return for paying them, other than the world's biggest military.

Palestinian People are defending themselves and their Land and their Homes against Israeli war crimes and Israeli war criminals, both military and civilian.

lilyrose73
by on May. 15, 2009 at 7:37 PM

I have an excellent idea.... why don't you move to Europe?  I'm sure YOU'LL  be much happier there :) 

Raintree
by Ruby Member on May. 15, 2009 at 7:38 PM

How long have you been singing this song?

Quoting lilyrose73:

I have an excellent idea.... why don't you move to Europe?  I'm sure YOU'LL  be much happier there :) 


Stand up, this is comedy. The DNA lotto may have left you smart, but can you stand up to beauty- dictator of the heart. I can stand up for hope, faith, love but while I'm getting over certainty. Stop walking God across the road like a little old lady. - Bono

lilyrose73
by on May. 15, 2009 at 7:40 PM

What are you talking about?  I'm as happy as a clam... even with Obamination as Pres. there is no place on Earth I'd rather live... same can't be said about the OP.  If she doesn't like it here, or thinks it's so much better in Europe, she is free to leave, just as anyone else is...

Quoting Raintree:

How long have you been singing this song?

Quoting lilyrose73:

I have an excellent idea.... why don't you move to Europe?  I'm sure YOU'LL  be much happier there :) 



Raintree
by Ruby Member on May. 15, 2009 at 7:43 PM

No. Now read slowly-

How long have you been singing the song of 'If you don't like it, why don't you leave??' to everyone else when they try to make a little point about how we don't pay the same amount of taxes as  the happier nations on earth?


Quoting lilyrose73:

What are you talking about?  I'm as happy as a clam... even with Obamination as Pres. there is no place on Earth I'd rather live... same can't be said about the OP.  If she doesn't like it here, she is free to leave, just as anyone else is...

Quoting Raintree:

How long have you been singing this song?

Quoting lilyrose73:

I have an excellent idea.... why don't you move to Europe?  I'm sure YOU'LL  be much happier there :) 




Stand up, this is comedy. The DNA lotto may have left you smart, but can you stand up to beauty- dictator of the heart. I can stand up for hope, faith, love but while I'm getting over certainty. Stop walking God across the road like a little old lady. - Bono

lilyrose73
by on May. 15, 2009 at 7:47 PM

This is my first.... WTH is your point?  You must have me confused with someone else,  Einstein.  LMAO  And happiness is subjective... maybe they are "happy"  because they don't know any better... I highly doubbt that the majority of people in the US who pay no taxes but get Medicaid would he "happier" if they actually had to contribute  taxes to get their "free" health care...

Quoting Raintree:

No. Now read slowly-

How long have you been singing the song of 'If you don't like it, why don't you leave??' to everyone else when they try to make a little point about how we don't pay the same amount of taxes as  the happier nations on earth?


Quoting lilyrose73:

What are you talking about?  I'm as happy as a clam... even with Obamination as Pres. there is no place on Earth I'd rather live... same can't be said about the OP.  If she doesn't like it here, she is free to leave, just as anyone else is...

Quoting Raintree:

How long have you been singing this song?

Quoting lilyrose73:

I have an excellent idea.... why don't you move to Europe?  I'm sure YOU'LL  be much happier there :) 





Raintree
by Ruby Member on May. 15, 2009 at 7:50 PM

If I had a nickel for everytime someone said -if you don't like it leave- in this group, I'd be able to afford housing in the swanky area of town.

That is my point.

And I've seen you say this before. ''Einstein''

Let's look at one thing you say  here- 'maybe they are happy because they don't know any better.'' Too bad they score higher than we do on testing. Maybe the same could be said for *ahem* some of us?

Also, healthcare isn't free NOW. We all pay at some point into the system. And of course, the Europeans outlive us, which means they must be doing something right..

Quoting lilyrose73:

This is my first.... WTH is your point?  You must have me confused with someone else,  Einstein.  LMAO  And happiness is subjective... maybe they are "happy"  because they don't know any better... I highly doubbt that the majority of people in the US who pay no taxes but get Medicaid would he "happier" if they actually had to contribute  taxes to get their "free" health care...

Quoting Raintree:

No. Now read slowly-

How long have you been singing the song of 'If you don't like it, why don't you leave??' to everyone else when they try to make a little point about how we don't pay the same amount of taxes as  the happier nations on earth?


Quoting lilyrose73:

What are you talking about?  I'm as happy as a clam... even with Obamination as Pres. there is no place on Earth I'd rather live... same can't be said about the OP.  If she doesn't like it here, she is free to leave, just as anyone else is...

Quoting Raintree:

How long have you been singing this song?

Quoting lilyrose73:

I have an excellent idea.... why don't you move to Europe?  I'm sure YOU'LL  be much happier there :) 






Stand up, this is comedy. The DNA lotto may have left you smart, but can you stand up to beauty- dictator of the heart. I can stand up for hope, faith, love but while I'm getting over certainty. Stop walking God across the road like a little old lady. - Bono

sooga_booga
by on May. 15, 2009 at 7:51 PM

I have to be honest.

I have no issues with the taxes I pay.. Even with my taxes going back up again after the "Bush tax cuts" expire.

However.

I wish the AMERICAN PEOPLE got more out of the taxes I pay..  I think there should be better schools, more help for people who want to pursue higher education or trade schools, more medical/dental/mental health help and options for people,....................... I could go on and on about what I wish the taxes I'm paying in were doing for the people of this country.

With all honestly and sincerity.. I'm in the top tax bracket right now. I would be more than willing and happy for that to go up even higher. IF my taxes were actually providing for and helping the American people in the ways that I seen taxes used to benefit citizens in other countries.

I personally believe the American people would have so much less stress in their lives if they did not have to worry about things like;

Not being able to see a doctor or dentist due to lack of insurance or cash.

Having to worry about how to pay for a child's doctor/dental appointments.

Not having to worry about how they are going to pay for college for themselves or their children if they wish to go.. Same for trade schools.

Not having to keep a job they hate and feel demoralized in just because it provides insurance.

And so on and so on..  Cutting out a lot of these worries would not only make the American people happier, but healthier as well.

                                     khandalogo.gif SIKH....... image by 00-H-B-K-RULZ-00

Mysty_1961
by Member on May. 15, 2009 at 8:02 PM

 I have been to some of the Scandinavian countries, and I agree people there seem to be pretty happy even though they are very heavily taxed.  They are by no mean wealthy, but they do seem to live comfortably.  Most notably they do have excellent health coverage, everything seems to be taken care of from birth to death.  The health coverage also seems to be very comprehensive with no long waits for service or rationing of service.  I am not that well versed on it, but it seemed to be the case.  Their unemployment rate is very low, and the spread between wages of the lowest paid and highest paid is much less then here or many other countries.  I think they have become accustomed to the government taking care of their basic needs and they provide for them self.  We have become or are getting to be a country of haves and have nots.  Our tax system is all wrapped up in politics which means someone is always going to be happy depending on who is in power.   Until we can all work together for the common good we will be unhappy.  However, in my opinion having everyone on a common level is not the "American Way".  I think we can learn from other countries, but we do not want to model our self after them.  We have been the leader of the world and the envy of most, so we need to make adjustments to get back to this position.

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