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An immigrant's story ... I hope it's not too poignant

An immigrant's story ... I hope it's not too poignant

Old Oct 26th 2005, 12:18 am
  #16  
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Default Re: An immigrant's story ... I hope it's not too poignant

I am not European to begin with, I just work here :) Think of me as an
H1B visa holder this side of the pond. Given that, I don't think I am
wqualified to answer your questions but I will try to answer them
nonetheless, based on my exposure to both US and EU economic and work
conditions:

1. Is housing outrageously expensive?

It is roughly comparable to NY and CA housing markets, so to start with
the answer is yes because atleast in US outside of these two states and
surrounding areas you can afford a house easily. The problem however is
compounded here in Europe by the fact that interest on mortgage is not
deductable from your taxes and their idea of fixed mortgage is what we
call variable ARM in US. There is no such thing as a 30 year fixed
version to speak of. Mind you I haven't been to a lot of countries in
Europe, so my knowledge is limited to what I have been exposed to.

2. do they charge you exorbitant fees to drive Porsches, Mercedes and
Ferraris?

Yes. For example a 2005 BMW M5 costs 80K dollars in America, the same
car is roughly 110K USD in UK, which is probably the cheapest in
Europe, in Denmark the same car is roughly 300K USD and in Norway its
about 230K USD.

3. are taxes unreasonably high?

Yes. Again, UK is one of the least taxed countries that I know of in
UK, but I paid over 50% of my income in combined taxes during one my
gigs there because of self employment and national insurance
contributions, in Sweden, top tax bracket is at 56% and it approaches
rather quickly, Finland 51%Netherland 52% and France 49%. Similar upper
40s rates are applicable to most EU nations except the recent eastern
states which have favourable taxation to spur economic growth.

4. or is it the lack of opportunities for enterprising?

No lack of opportunities per se, however the social welfare
infra-structure effectively competes with small businesses for labour,
i.e. its more profitable to stay unemployed on paper and collect
welfare while working odd jobs than to work in a steady but documented
employment at small businesses. It is also very difficult if not
impossible to get rid of excess workers should the demand drop. In
Switzerland for instance, people that are laid off are given more than
60% of their final wages for either one or two years while they look
for their next job, explain to me who would be stupid enough to look
for work while they are getting paid 60-70% of their salary without
working for 2 years? And to top it all off, the employer that laid them
off is on the hook for unemployment insurance premiums as well.

However from the perspective of average EU citizen, these things ensure
a proper work-life balance and combines with 4-8 weeks holidays and
access to universal healthcare, most people don't even "need" to work
if they so choose. Anyway, that's just my understanding, let me know if
you have any other questions.
 
Old Oct 26th 2005, 2:42 pm
  #17  
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Default Re: An immigrant's story ... I hope it's not too poignant

Thank you for listening.
Man, are you sure your'e not a writer.. that story was moving..
Sorry for all your Immigrations problems though (Hope the American experience helps you in India)! Good luck and God bless
Myharris is offline  

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