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04-11-2008, 04:20 AM   #1
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Living in the Euro zone

Hi,

I'm getting more and more curious about the differences between the European (Netherlands = NL) and US economies.

It all started with these frustrating discussions by US forum members complaining about the cost of Pentax equipment, while we (Europeans) would be running to the shop now if prices would be that low!

Let me give you a few examples of the price and tax differences:

K20D price in US: $ 1,100
K20D price in NL: $ 1,500

Gasoline price in US (gallon): $ 3.80
Gasoline price in NL (gallon): $ 9.00

Honda S2000 in US: $ 36.200
Honda S2000 in NL: $ 78,500

Income tax on $100,000 over 2007 for a family in US: $ 14,800
Income tax on $100,000 over 2007 for a family in NL: $ 42,000

That is excluding social security costs, local taxes, pension costs etc. etc. etc.

US government expenses include war in Iraq, Afghanistan.
NL government expenses are much larger on social security, education, welfare etc.

US deficit over 2007 (if I interpret the public data right) ~ -12%
NL deficit over 2007 (if I interpret the public data right) ~ +0.2%

Perhaps there is an economist under the readers who can explain all this.

Are these large differences in prices and taxes the result of:
- A very inefficient and very large NL (+EU) government structure?
- The US accepting the fast growing national debt pushing this problem to the future?
- The fact that US citizens have to pay much more for services since less is government funded? (so, total cost of living is the same, the money flows differently)
- Something else?

Perhaps you can share your thoughts

- Bert

04-11-2008, 08:33 AM   #2
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Man, you're painting a extremely rosy picture of the US economy. In reality, the economy is slowly falling apart with runaway inflation (prices), relatively stagnant wages, massive personal debt with high interest rates, interest rates in general, staggering unemployment, businesses folding, the declining dollar, and so on. Ultimately, prices are lower in the USA because a growing number of Americans can't even afford to spend that.

In other words, our economy (yes, I'm an American) is not that healthy. That smaller deficit you mention, for example, is based on the total $13 trillion gross dosmestic product (GDP) of the US economy, the worlds largest. And that's tempered by a national debt now running over $9 trillion dollars, an amount far exceeding the entire $650 billion GDP of the Netherlands. By the way, why exclude so much in the US income tax figure? With all included, the tax differences are not all that great (only about 10-20% less in the USA, depending on where one lives).

Anyway, the reasons for the price differences are the same as with other countries with weaker economies. In other words, the same reasons it costs less for you to vacation in Southern Europe or South America. Go to those regions and you'll find cheaper Pentax products as well (along with cheaper gasoline, Hondas, and so on). Of course, the people in those regions, who don't benefit from your higher wages and stronger currency, are struggling to afford those prices (just as many Americans are in the USA).

stewart


-

Last edited by stewart_photo; 04-11-2008 at 08:43 AM.
04-11-2008, 08:55 AM   #3
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I agree with Stewart's assessments. Glad to live in a more socially driven system that has things like health care. Higher education is another example. if you want to get a decent education, you're looking at a minimum of $10,000 for a State college and over $40,000/year for a top level university. My son is in college here and the annual cost is $2500.00. Sure we pay more as the EU countries do for goods and services, than our USA neighbours for things but in the long run it's worth every penny.

Here we get stories of ordinary Americans that get a disease or hurt on the job that have no health care. They end up destitute to try and cover the health care costs. Some terrible stories. The odd thing is that if you mention a more socially driven government in the current political campaign, you're almost branded as a communist. Very odd thinking.

I don't mean in any way to offend the many US people here or elsewhere. But things are tough in many areas of the US for the lower middle class and the poor. There is almost no safety net for them except for volunteer organizations. With the falling economy, it's only going to get worse. The general attitude is that, you make it on your own or you don't, without aid from the general community or government. It's a thinking that I've never understood. It results (among other things) in the US being the highest incarceration rate of any developed nation on the planet (4 times the world average).

I've been lucky enough to travel to the USA and Europe a few times and also to your country for a couple of weeks. You should travel to the US. The pictures of the inner cities do not tell you the story. Holland is stunning compared to much of the areas in some cities. It's sad but only too true.

So we may pay more but the US pays for it in other ways.

Last edited by Peter Zack; 04-11-2008 at 12:22 PM.
04-11-2008, 09:48 AM   #4
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The USA economy is propped up completely by military purchases domestically and arms sales and other such illicit activities internationally. Take that away and the entire system would collapse into a quagmire of third world poverty (like too much of it already is). This is not my wish or hope, by the way, as I have a sister in the USA. It's just the cold hard economics.

I have not been able to visit my family in the USA for some years since the fascistic entry policy reminds me too much of getting a number tattooed on my arm. That may sound harsh to some but read your history. Most people just go with the flow, but that is not my way.

This is not a critique of people suffering under the military government of the USA. The state is inherently evil, and the United States has (in the past had) more riches, latitude and power than most to be top of the heap in that regard.

It's blood and circuses all the way until the USA goes down the sinkhole and takes the rest of the world economy with it.

Next to all this, camera prices seem trivial.

04-11-2008, 11:53 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
I agree with Stewart's assessments. Glad to live in a more socially driven system that has things like health care. Higher education is another example. if you want to get a decent education, you're looking at a minimum of $10,00 for a State college and over $40,000/year for a top level university. My son is in college here and the annual cost is $2500.00. Sure we pay more as the EU countries do for goods and services, than our USA neighbours for things but in the long run it's worth every penny.

Here we get stories of ordinary Americans that get a disease or hurt on the job that have no health care. They end up destitute to try and cover the health care costs. Some terrible stories. The odd thing is that if you mention a more socially driven government in the current political campaign, you're almost branded as a communist. Very odd thinking.

I don't mean in any way to offend the many US people here or elsewhere. But things are tough in many areas of the US for the lower middle class and the poor. There is almost no safety net for them except for volunteer organizations. With the falling economy, it's only going to get worse. The general attitude is that, you make it on your own or you don't, without aid from the general community or government. It's a thinking that I've never understood. It results (among other things) in the US being the highest incarceration rate of any developed nation on the planet (4 times the world average).

I've been lucky enough to travel to the USA and Europe a few times and also to your country for a couple of weeks. You should travel to the US. The pictures of the inner cities do not tell you the story. Holland is stunning compared to much of the areas in some cities. It's sad but only too true.

So we may pay more but the US pays for it in other ways.

It may all look very nice here on the outside but the things you are describing are only a heartbeat away.
Healthcare is crumbling and it won't take long before people are without insurance here too (there probably are already but you don't hear about it).
Kids already grow up in poverty, having to wonder if they get a decent meal that day. Foodbanks are growing under this government.
I can go on and on sounding this negative but I really rather not.

I'm not very rich as in money, I work hard for my photohobby but I can still live my life as I want it and do some nice stuff on the side.
I do on the other hand worry about what this country, or world for that matter, is coming to.



p.s I would like to have US petrol prices though
04-11-2008, 12:24 PM   #6
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So I think we've made the point and should go back to taking 'pitchers'. Things are rough in lots of areas but we're all much luckier than many in other parts of the globe.

I'd ask the Mod to close the thread before it goes much further since it has little to do with photography.
04-11-2008, 12:43 PM   #7
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I for one enjoy healthy political discussion threads, as long as we differentiate fact from opinion. In the case of stating something which implies a fact, a resource quote would be nice.

Also keep in mind that the chimp in the White House has a 25% approval rating and that not all policy is supported by all individuals.

We have all probably been guilty at one time of painting a society other than our own with misconceptions and generalizations, but clearly this is not generally a healthy or accurate picture of the society as a whole.

Just as it is easy to jump on the 'bash on the US' bandwagon, many people in the US are just as likely to jump on the ethnocentric bandwagon as well. The truth is; of course, that no country is perfect and that an ideal society would not be comprised of a single source. I am reminded of an old joke:

Heaven is where the Police are British, the Chefs are French, the Mechanics are German, the Lovers Italian and it's all organized by the Swiss.
Hell is where the Chefs are British, the mechanics are French, the lovers are Swiss, the Police are German and it's all organized by the Italians.

Each of our societies have attributes that are better (and worse) when compared to others. If we are really going to have a good political discussion let's at least agree to bring the tech.
04-11-2008, 03:04 PM   #8
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Going to close this before things get out of hand.


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