I’ve lived, worked or traveled in every democracy. Every place has it’s cultural and historical charm, but nowhere have I found it as inexpensive to live well as in Texas. Working here gives you an automatic pay rise….there is no state income tax…the direct federal tax and regressive sales tax is less than a quarter of European societies or mine…Canada. In the western countries mentioned the individual is now paying over 80% of net income towards direct and indirect taxation…..and aren’t there a lot of hidden taxes and fee’s these days?

There seems to be another tax on something every time you leave the house in Canada….taxation has driven Canadians into poverty. There is a vicious circle of high taxation to compensate the highly paid state employees for the increased cost of living with higher wages and benefits…and then raising taxes on individuals to compensate for those increases….leading to an ever escalating cycle of increasing prices because businesses are forced to pass the costs onto the consumer in order to keep the doors open…..consumers in Canada don’t have the contract protection of civic employees btw. Like I said…a vicious circle exists and its not politically correct to talk about it.

For example, the small town police chief in Vancouver makes more than the big city police chief of New York city. This is indicative of the arbitrary overhead taxpayers like those in Canada are being forced to recover from their paycheques and pour into the pockets of a privileged elite.

http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Vancouver+Police+Chief+tops+municipal+police+salary+list/8186096/story.html

Go to the highest levels of civic management and the elites are paying themselves twenty times the average salary of a working family……what did you say about systemic corruption in Zimbabwe? In socialist Canada, the civil service has become the equivalent of royalty….whose privileges are enforced by a dictatorship of politically motivated and politically appointed judges.

Ugly statistics are popping up, people in Canada are having fewer children… eating less and consuming less because of dwindling personal resources. Did you know that the fastest growing segment of food bank clients in Canada is working families…who can now make an appointment to use the food bank after hours…so as not to face the embarrassment of hunger? Do you wonder why there are long lines at the US border for Canadians to shop for basic food items like milk and cheese…that are sold in the US for less than half the going price in Canada?

Hunger is where the rubber hits the road…..especially when parents are having to choose to feed their children or pay the mortgage….and now increasingly…on the Visa Card. Can you imagine not being able to have children because your government refuses to allocate tax revenue fairly? I think that’s called slavery.

Meanwhile …great big juicy steaks are $4 US dollars a piece at Krogers in Dallas today… a side of BBQ ribs is $7. A dozen large eggs are $1.68 cents. One gallon of milk is $1.99…and hasn’t changed for several years. Cheese is a quarter of the price in Canada and the selection is enormous. Did you know that the dairy monopoly ( called marketing boards) in Canada buys American cheese at a discount and then trucks it over the border only to mark it up 200% and gouge Canadians with the increase after by-passing the Canadian farmers?

Wasn’t a marketing board set up originally to protect the Canadian producers from a second country dumping cheap imports? Anything processed, in a box or a can, is ridiculously cheap in Texas….bulk is even cheaper…..try Sam’s Club, a big distributor, and buy by the palette at wholesale prices. I bought two Hawaiian pineapples today…2 for $1 dollar. And darn it…people find a lost dog here and go out of their way to reunite it with it’s owner….that’s classy.

Yeah I saw the recent video about how Jim Carrey doesn’t like Americans ….but Jim is a Canadian..he doesn’t understand the beauty of personal freedom….Canadians are always talking down the American way of life…..after a long history of our own government telling us that things in Canada are better…but are they? They might just be trying to justify whats not right at home and serve an insidious agenda of socialism while protecting the rights of a few over the needs of the many.

I’m just a lowly traveler…looking at things the way they are…and how I’d like them to be….not a politician with an agenda… A benefit of travel outside your own culture is it grants you a broader and more introspective perspective not available to people back home who have to listen to the daily propaganda. I pay for things out of my own pocket….and it seems to me I have a much better lifestyle here in Texas….I’m glad to be here.

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Comments
  1. auntyuta says:

    I am very happy for you that you can have such a good life in Texas. I still have a few questions:

    Would you be able to earn your crust in Texas, I mean be there as a permanent resident and still have such a good life? What about retirement? I guess you would be a self supporting pensioner? Medical expenses? Self reliant too?

    And here is one further question: What can you tell us about politics in Texas in connection with the economy? What is the state’s main source of income? Is it oil?

    We spent two months in Berlin, Germany, recently. The rent over there is much lower than for instance in Sydney. Food prices are very similar to what we are used to in Australia. Australians often complain about high taxes. But I think Germans are taxed much more. We didn’t stay in a highly priced hotel but rented a studio apartment with our own cooking facilities. Our Australian Dollar is valued highly. So for us the holiday wasn’t too expensive.

    Tax systems vary from country to country, currency values differ too. I find it’s not so easy to make comparisons.

    • Well Aunty….your ability to ‘earn your crust’ ( a delightful term) or quality of life is dependent on your education and/or skill set the world over, not just in Texas. The average Social Security in the US for a person who has contributed for the full term is $2340 p/m…or $4500 p/m per couple……an individuals income would depend on their unique circumstance. Not sure what it is in OZ…but in Canada it is half that, with most Canadians outside the civil service having to provide substantially for their own measure of comfort in retirement.

      You mention Germany which has a generous social system, high prices and high taxes. We saw recently how the PIIG group of countries in the Euro zone bankrupted themselves with unsustainable civil service pensions and perks leveraged on unsustainable increases in debt resulting in both national and personal debt skyrocketing and yet to be paid by a future generation with escalating taxation and reduced services. Theres no free lunch apparently, even in a socialist paradise. Frankly, my opinion is that many western countries have perverted the concept of socialism and instead adopted a dictatorship of the privileged class, ie: those who successfully live off the taxpayer as opposed to those who create capital through their own endevour.

      The Texan economy is not petro-based. In fact Texas ranks globally only behind California in technology manufacturing research and technology services. California being at $2.8 trillion…Texas at $1.8 trillion…..meaning the technology sector alone is larger than the entire GDP of Australia by 500 billion dollars. Texas is the largest exporter of manufactured goods in the USA. From where I sit in Irving, I am surrounded by a sea of head office buildings…not satelitte offices of corporations….literally thousands of global businesses located here because of the benefits of smart taxation and smart government policy. Aerospace manufacturing is huge here, as well as agriculture and all manner of major manufacturing. As a result of the diverse economy the wages and lifestyle are each very high….while the cost of living remains low…net benefit going to the individual citizen.

      Medical expenses are an individual issue, private policies can be had at $300 p/m…..policies are in place for the less able. Most companies now provide medical insurance for workers and their families, like anywhere else. A similar policy in Canada, even with ‘free medical’ still costs $138 p/m in premiums…not much of a dollar differance…..but in the US a person has instant access to medical treatment and services as opposed to Canadians who in most cases face long waiting lists, long term stress and pain…even premature death under the universal standard of care for simple procedures. Hope that helps.

      When purchasing any product in Europe with Australian currency you would first have to have purchased Euro….at the rate of approx…$1.23 A Dollar per unit. That means the $1 Coca Cola you buy is costing you 23% more than at home.

  2. auntyuta says:

    Well, dear JWH, you’ve given me much to think about. Thank you so much for this comprehensive answer. What you tell me about the economy in Texas amazes me. I had no idea how advanced in technology it is. I only knew about California.

    Personally I wouldn’t want to live on a basic pension in Germany. It seems to me the basic pension doesn’t cover all expenses whereas in Australia the basic pension is sufficient if you own your own home. Many Australians aren’t in a position any more to own their own home. Property prices went through the roof, which of course profited some people. It’s very different from how it was when we arrived in Australia. This was in 1959. Everyone could purchase their own block of land then. These times are gone.

    Well, as I said, the Australian pension is adequate. But don’t tell this to the people who buy on credit card, or smoke, or spend heaps on alcohol, or gamble. To each his own, right?

    In Germany we found you can buy extremely good quality food at low prices if you went to the right shops. Services ranged from very low priced to very expensive. A lot of newcomers seem to work in the service industry. Many open their own shops. We were often surprised how little they charge for their services. We never had to pay any more than we would have had to pay in Australia.

    In Berlin property prices seem to be still lower than in cities like Hamburg or Munich or London. This makes the city very attractive to people who want to live on a shoestring!

    • Germany has a complex ‘3 pillar’ pension system that requires a thoughtful understanding . The persons with a defined benefit pension ( usually restricted to civic workers) are assured of an above average income in retirement to the detriment of those who don’t. For example… the average private citizen must fund an additional 50% of stated civic wages in new debt in order to underwrite the pensions of retiring state workers.

      For example every civic job paying $70,000 requires the system to borrow an added $33,000 in order to fund the pension. In Canada, for example, where the country is overburdened with legacy contracts supporting the caviar dreams of civil service pensions, the growing debt to support the system of graying civic workers has forced the taxation burden on all Canadians up dramatically. In this case the German contribution model or the Australian means testing model would be superior.

      http://www.mea.mpisoc.mpg.de/uploads/user_mea_discussionpapers/y8hl3aada9n1acbo_DP_Nr34.pdf

      Australians carry extremely high debt to GDP at 277%……you’re spending $2.77 cents for every dollar you earn…..that should be troublesome…a much lower figure brought down Greece Spain, Cyprus and Ireland. Japan is 200% …USA 180%…Canada 168%. It doesn’t take much imagination to extrapolate what will happen to the countries who are spending twice as much as they’re taking in total revenue.

      You mention skyrocketing house prices….we can trace this phenomena back to the ex US Fed reserve chief Allen Greenspan inventing quantitative easing in 2001….flooding the system with freshly printed money without any correlation to the economy. What you are looking at is not Australian values going up, but runaway inflation of asset prices and a depreciating unit of exchange…it’s called the M3 in economic terminology. I’m sure you’ve noticed the price of consumables going up at the same pace.

      Our governments have addicted themselves to debt…in order to support an antiquated and unsustainable status quo. The quandary we face is that if interest rates rise, out governments have to pay back the money they have borrowed from the taxpayers at higher rates than the tax revenue can support. Several acclaimed economists have referred to this as a Ponzi scheme…. I happen to agree.

      You mention immigrant labour being cheaper in Germany..it stands to reason that undocumented workers who pay no tax and live in abysmal conditions offer their services for a lower rate than would a unionized citizen with all the perks. The economics of poverty can be quite different for those fleeing tyranny and disaster.

  3. auntyuta says:

    Thanks again for another reply that shows you’ve studied the subject extensively.
    Now, just to say something to your last paragraph about foreign workers. Some of them who’ve recently arrived and aren’t documented yet might work on the black market, especially in the building industry. But I’m talking about legally employed very low paid workers in manual jobs. Believe me, there are jobs available in Germany at extremely low pay! For people who’ve fled poverty in their own country even these very low paid jobs are extremely welcome. They think in Germany they live like in paradise! The whole extended family lives together in very small apartments and they know how to save money and invest it properly.

    Whoever served us in Berlin was always extremely friendly and happy to be of service. A cup of coffee in a proper cup (not a throw-away cup!) cost only two Euros. And the coffee was always of the best quality. A piece of very delicious cake would cost us only around two Euros. No matter where we go in our area in Australia, a similar serving of coffee with cake does cost us well in excess of seven Australian Dollars. And at this price the cake would definitely not be as good. For a very good piece of cake we’d have to pay here about seven Dollars, just for one piece of cake!

    We have here the so-called two-Dollar-shops. Some products that are sold there (all imported from China) are reasonably good. The same goes for garments. These are all imported from China. Even if you are prepared to pay a higher price, you end up buying something that’s imported from China.
    The same thing we experienced in Berlin. So the price for things like garments didn’t go up at all.
    Where you are always in for price increases is things like electricity, water rates, fuel costs. The same in Germany. And of course for people who have to pay rent, the rent goes up all the time.

    As concerns pension-systems and how much debt countries may have without getting into trouble, well, this is a subject that seems to be rather complicated. I am all for fairness. But it seems to me at the top end some people don’t really deserve to make millions every year. I am of a generation who experienced wartime (WW II) and scarcity in everything especially after the war. When I look at it how people these days tend to waste a lot of things (throw-away-society) or how they spoil their offspring with material things without being able to give them much of their time, then I don’t know whether everything is really progress.

    • Regarding fairness and executive compensation..don’t forget that businesses generate their own capital and do not place an added burden on the taxpayer..whereas governments produce zero capital and get their income straight out of the taxpayers pockets…..one creates…the other takes. Yes I agree….prices in Oz are outrageous…..you’ve even made $2 dollar shops out of $1 dollar shops:) Imagine the price of T-Shirts and other widgets in the west if we didn’t have third world manufacturing….god bless the Chinese.

      Germany is an anomaly in that they have no minimum wage. But… I wouldn’t call it a bargain travel destination. Longer term travel does allow a person to dig in and find all the best deals though…and good for you that you have that free time to do so.

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