Friday, May 15, 2009

No taxation without celebration

This from MarketWatch, not known for these kinds of views on taxes:

"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."

We can't find the OECD link, though we haven't looked that far. Combine this survey with this, and that gives food for thought.

Declaration: we don't advocate high (or low) tax - just the tax levels voters want. But we firmly oppose the kinds of knee-jerk anti-tax approaches that have become so popular in recent decades.

1 Comments:

Blogger Henry said...

Sweden and Denmark have high taxes but you have only to step ashore at Esbjerg to see that the money is spent a lot more wisely than in the UK. The public realm is valued. Unlike the UK, Scandinavia also seems to be short of power-crazed jobsworths who will do their utmost to make the most of the tiny little bit of power they have.

Of course this requires high taxes, but it also calls for a decent democratic system so that people have a proper say in what happens to their money. In the UK, all the power is with the political establishment and civil service mandarinate, which is a different relationship.

The Scandinavians are quite simply different from the British. They have a different way of thinking about the world. Sweden in particular seems to be a very female country, which amongst other things means that children get a better deal, so not surprisingly they grow up happier, and incidentally do not start school till the age of 6. Trains, for example, have a nicely equipped children's play area. I spend about one-third of my time in Sweden, and based on this experience, it is evident that the situation regarding Scandinavian culture is so complex that few conclusions can safely be drawn.

As regards taxation, employment-related taxes are very high which is giving rise to persistent unemployment especially amongst immigrant groups. Unemployment in Sweden is estimated to be four times the official figure of about 5%, with a serious problem of welfare dependency. The present high taxes on labour are not sustainable.

3:03 pm  

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