I wouldn't exactly count street drugs in my cost of living. I did just
run across a court case in which the state attempted to levy a tax of
$750,000 on an individual for possesion of a controled substance (9
pound of Mary Jane from Mexico). Taxing criminal activities is a
particularly American activity and is done because, among other things,
taxes are settled in civil court where the burden of proof is not as
high as a criminal case.
Ah, the Routemaster. Fit them with snorkels and an upper floor drivers
position and sell them to New Orleans.
The costs I gave were for the Midwest and not in a major city. When I
started working I made it a point to stay away from California,
Washington D.C., NewYork, Chicago, etc. simply because of the high cost
of housing, commuting and crime. You will find engineer's salaries
typically follow the cost of housing so that California or Washington
D.C. will be in the $90k range while away from these areas will be down
to 40k - 50k.
If you have decent health insurance, which most engineer's have, you
will pay very little for health care and you get it when you need it.
The trend now is to health savings plans and then catastrophic
insurance for the rest. You can then balance the pain with the need to
see the doctor, but if you have a heart attack or cancer you are
Now if you go to Starbucks you can pay anywhere from $2 -$6 for a
coffee, but I'll take the McDonalds coffee for 50 cents.
I think you are saying you pay some kind of income tax in addtion to
VAT? We have a lot more hidden taxes, but everyone complains about
income tax forgetting to add up all the little ones. King George would
be jealous of the job Clinton did on us in that area.
The property tax we pay goes towards education, fire, police, roads,
local government, parks, water and sewer and boondogles. Education gets
the biggest share of that.
Tax on inheritance can be avoided legally for the most part and is
limited in cases of small estates (like most of us would have).
I could probably take a 2,000 mile train trip here for 89 quid but
probably not before 10am. The low fare and luxurious seating would be
courtesy of tax subsidies. The breakdowns and lack of punctuality
courtesy of not enough tax subsidies. :)