The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

27 August 2003

Eternal revenue

A question that has me wondering, from JessicaHarbour.com:

[I]s the desire to pay as little in taxes as possible a worldwide idea, or is it particularly visible in Americans? Do, say, Swedes, who traditionally have a much cozier relationship with a redistributing state than we do, nevertheless call radio shows in Göteborg to find out how they can maximize their deductions, and ask their accountants whether it's better to sell the house in November or December? Do they feel more guilty than Americans do when they do take deductions? Are there differences in how cultures approach taxes, or is the desire to pay the minimum and keep the maximum universal?

I haven't lived overseas, except as a functionary of the US military, so I can't really address this question from personal experience, but I rather suspect the following:

  • Nobody, not even your average Californian, wants his personal tax bite increased, no matter what may be said for public consumption;
  • In semi-socialist Europe, they are perhaps more likely to shrug and say, "Well, what can you do?" and pay the bill without complaint.

At least, that's how it looks to me.

Posted at 1:30 PM to Political Science Fiction