German Of The Day: Netto vom Brutto

That means net pay from the gross. And gross is it ever. Only Belgium (think Land of the EU) does it better. Meaning worse, of course.

Netto

According to a report just published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Germany has the second biggest tax burden worldwide. And we’re talking about middle-income people here, people. Not millionaires or anything.

The OECD calculated each country’s tax wedge – the gap between what employers take home in pay and what it costs to employ them, including personal income tax and social security contributions. Germany had a tax wedge for single, childless workers of 49.4 percent, behind Belgium at 54 percent. That means nearly half of a single person’s income goes towards taxes and social security contributions in Germany.

Please remember this the next time somebody starts telling you again how wonderful everything over here in ze Europe is (“socialized medicine” and all that). There simply is no free Mittagessen (lunch).  You can go broke eating free lunch over here.

„Die Belastung der Bürger ist deutlich höher, als uns bewusst war.”

Remember: Germans have more words for taxation than Eskimos have for snow.

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This Just In: Governments Waste Money

In Germany, too? You bet.

Waste

The latest “black book” has been published by the German Taxpayers Federation and here – not counting your regular, every-day kind of wasteful government spending – are just a few of the more special ways in which government tosses money out the window:

Garbage cans in the city of Leverkusen that cost  1,258 euros a shot.

A fish ladder near the town of Lauterbach that cost taxpayers 100,000 euros. The only problem is that the fish can’t reach the ladder.

Or how about a townhouse in an exclusive location in Manhattan, owned by the Federal Republic of Germany. The only problem here is that it’s been empty since 2009 and costs taxpayers over 80,000 euros a year in upkeep.

“Politik und Verwaltung gehen verschwenderisch, sorglos oder leichtsinnig mit Steuergeldern um.”

Eat More Rich People!

Germans should be ashamed of themselves. Again, I mean. The amount of personal wealth just keeps on rising here – another 79 billion this past quarter – and has reached yet another historic level. The Germans, it seems, have never been richer. And this, as we all know, is a bad thing.

Rich

Haven’t you people ever heard of Umverteilung (redistribution) over here? What do you need all that damned money for? It’s not like it’s yours or anything. Well it is but it isn’t, if you know what I’m sayin’. And who says it doesn’t stink? It stinks that you still have it. What you folks need is leadership like we have now been graced with in New York City itself. You’ve already got all the tax loopholes you’ll be needing so roll up your sleeves and let’s get this party started!

Im vierten Quartal 2013 wuchs das Vermögen der privaten Haushalte in Form von Bargeld, Wertpapieren, Bankeinlagen oder Ansprüchen gegenüber Versicherungen im Vergleich zum Vorquartal um rund 79 Milliarden Euro oder 1,6 Prozent auf den historischen Höchstwert von 5,15 Billionen Euro, teilte die Deutsche Bundesbank mit.

Crime Does Not Pay TV

Uli Hoeness hasn’t yet begun his three-and-a-half year jail sentence for seven cases of tax evasion (his lawyers are appealing the decision) but when he does, it’s going to be absolute hell.

Uli

The JVA Landsberg prison he will most likely be doing time in does not allow cell phones and prisoners have to buy their own TVs! But even more cruel and unusual here is that they don’t allow prisoners to have satellite pay TV receivers. Watching Fußball on Sky just ain’t going to be happening, Uli.

By the way, this is where Hitler wrote Mein Kampf and he didn’t have a satellite receiver, either. I think I’m going to be keeping my eyes on this one.

Das bedeutet unter anderem, dass den Häftlingen kein Fernseher gestellt wird. „Sie müssen sich selber einen Fernseher kaufen und können damit dann die üblichen Kabel-Programme empfangen“, sagt Eichinger. Auch die Kabel-Gebühren müssen von den Häftlingen getragen werden. Da für den Bezahlsender Sky aber ein Receiver benötigt werde, könne dieser nicht empfangen werden.

Taxing Nuclear Fuel Rods That Aren’t Being Used?

You can never be too rich or too thin, I guess. And if you’re Germany, you can never tax too much, either.

Taxation

Germany’s biggest utilities, still reeling from the country’s early exit from nuclear power, scored a major victory Tuesday when a Hamburg court said the national tax on nuclear fuel rods may violate European law.

The Hamburg finance court said it “cannot assess beyond any doubt” whether the tax on nuclear fuel used for electricity generation complies with European law. It will now ask the European Court of Justice to decide whether the levy conforms with rules that prohibit member states from creating new taxes on electricity for “general budget financing purposes.”

The tax was introduced at the beginning of 2011 and came as part of an extension of nuclear reactors’ operating lives that the government had agreed on. However, the nuclear disaster at Japan’s Fukushima power plant in March of that year triggered a U-turn in German energy policy, with Chancellor Angela Merkel ordering the immediate shutdown of the oldest plants and the early phaseout of nuclear energy by 2022. Out of 17 reactors that were in operation in March 2011, only nine are still producing power. But the fuel-rod tax remains in place, to the utilities’ annoyance.

Das Hamburger Finanzgericht will vom Europäischen Gerichtshof (EuGH) in Luxemburg zentrale Fragen zur umstrittenen Brennelementesteuer klären lassen.

Black Workers Are Everywhere These Days

No, not Afro-American workers. You know, Schwarzarbeiter (illegal workers).

Black

And they’re everywhere all over Europe these days, although Germany is the champion here again too, as usual.

Eight million Germans are working on the black market as we speak, so-to-speak, generating about 13 percent of the country’s economic output. And loving it, I hope for them, because many of them just don’t seem to have any choice in the matter. Nobody will hire them otherwise:

Punitive tax regimes, increased labor market regulation and a growing lack of trust in governments are causing many Europeans to abandon formal employment and enter into the murky, illicit world of shadow economies worth billions of dollars.

Unternehmen und Arbeitnehmer setzen auf Schwarzarbeit, dadurch entstehen zwei Drittel des Schadens. Für das weitere Drittel ist verantwortlich, dass viele zu geringe Einkommen und Erträge ausweisen.

Someone Needs To Finally Have The Decency To Tell The German Greens Which Country They Live In

When it comes to money matters, I mean.

Greens

Like I mentioned earlier, only in Germany can a political party go for (and actually get) votes by promising to raise taxes.

But I now stand corrected: (actually hope to get) is what I should have written. It turns out that not even do-gooder mainstream green-like German green people like the idea of increased taxes all that terrible much. At least not when the cameras have finally been turned off and they can answer a survey in peace and quite when the Green Shirt party watchdogs aren’t breathing down their necks.

Ever since the announcement of that wacky plan of theirs to raise the top rate of income tax to 49 percent for those earning 80,000 euros ($104,000) a year or more (and to 45 percent from 42 percent above 60,000 euros), voter support for them has dropped steadily.

I guess there’s GREEN in theory and GREEN in practice after all. And practice makes perfect, you know.

Die Grünen erreichen im Politbarometer nur noch 13 Prozent. Dass die Steuerpläne der Partei schaden, glauben 53 Prozent.

Angela Tea Party Merkel

“Wait a minute… This seems familiar to me. Romney and Ryan stole all this from Angela Merkel! That which the Tea Party wants to do is already being done by Merkel here, and for quite some time now: She wants to force other European states to save instead of just continuing to throw money at them.”

“With Ryan as vice-presidential candidate, the presidential election now has two clear and easily understandable alternatives: Obama wants to save the economy by going further into debt (financed through taxes) and pumping this into the economy. Romney and Ryan want to save the economy by lowering taxes (which should lead to more private investment) and forcing the state to save.”

Ich habe jedenfalls nie verstanden, warum die Deutschen die Tea Party nicht mögen. Logisch ist das nicht: Einerseits sind die meisten Deutschen erschrocken und verängstigt ob des schwindelerregenden amerikanischen Haushaltsdefizits und fest überzeugt, dass Amerika die Staatsschulden abbauen muss. Sonst würde es doch irgendwann zusammenbrechen oder von China aufgekauft. Gleichzeitig aber hassen sie die einzige politische Bewegung, die genau dafür kämpft – die Tea Party.

And now here’s some economist rap.

Bust Them, Switzerland

And throw away the key. Those no good criminals. Those German tax collectors who have been trading in stolen Swiss goods.

Switzerland has issued arrest warrants for industrial espionage for three German tax collectors who bought (with German government approval) the bank details of German tax evaders in Switzerland.

“For Germany, the issue is one of tax fraud, leading the country to authorize three tax inspectors to buy leaked stolen data on tax evaders in 2010. This legally dubious approach wasn’t an issue domestically because of the common belief that the state was collecting its alleged due and it effects only ‘the rich.’ But in reality, because Switzerland has different laws, the officials acquired stolen property to use as evidence, and paid the thieves €2.5 million for it. Anyone who dismisses this as a trifle needs legal tutoring.”

“Just imagine how Germany would react were the Chinese government to buy automobile designs from German car company employees to speed up industrial development — with the argument that patent laws are too strong in the West.”

We’re Only Taxing You For Your Own Good

To protect the climate. And while we’re at it we’ll tax you Americans even more.

A “departure tax?” Then I’ll just stay here. Germany’s Air Transport Tax – somehow meant to save the climate but no one can explain to me just how this works – is penalizing American carriers by taxing them the maximum amount of 45 euros per passenger.

These carriers are now suing the country on the grounds that “Germany cannot arbitrarily close its budget gap on the backs of US airlines and their passengers, who already pay taxes at excessive rates. This is a short-sighted cash grab.”

Of course it is. But they’re going to keep on taxing us anyway. Americans don’t vote here.

Die kurzsichtige Maßnahme werde der deutschen Volkswirtschaft größeren Schaden zufügen als möglicherweise an Steuereinnahmen wieder hereinkomme.