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Will Read Commants For Food
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Arno
When I was a kid, financial life was simple. My parents gave me allowance, and I would put it on my bank account. That is pretty much all that ever happened. I am a very conservative person in that respect. I have always been the kind of person to save. If my savings are not going up, I worry.

Then, one day, I started going to university. Now I got a grant. It was not enough to pay university with, but it paid for most, and my parents took care of the rest. Then I got a job. I started paying a more or less symbolic amount of 'rent' to my parents (who sensibly did not want more because they did not want to get too used to the 'extra income'). Saving went exponentially faster. And then I bought a condo. This wiped out most of my (by then) significant savings, and I started over again.

At some point, taxes started being an issue. First, I only paid income tax. This was simple. When I moved out on my own, however, things got more complicated: I still paid income tax, but now I could deduct mortgage interest payments (*), so I always get money back. However, suddenly I paid for sewage, for removal of garbage, and when that was done, the people who keep the dikes in shape and manage the water in The Netherlands wanted their share.

When Beedoo! moved in taxes went up still. Now I pay dog tax; because this is now a two person house hold, many services now charge for three people (yes, really). There are, of course, also advantage to having a multi-person house hold, but since we do not have an official relationship contract, those don't count. To the various tax people, we are only an single item if it means we pay more, not less.

Added to that is that Beedoo! officially still lives in Flagstaff, as well as here. She used to pay most of the taxes for her house (owned by her mother) - nowadays it's more complicated - so all in all, there's a lot of taxation going on. Not that it criples us or anything. It's just like this constantly buzzing insect that never quite goes away, cause there's always something. Being grown up is hard work!

I'm sure that things could be a lot simpler if we made things more official... We may have to do that, some day. ;)

P.S.: This comic was actually one of my favourite ideas. I was so anxious to find a topic to use it on! ;)

(*) - They called me crazy for putting my savings into my condo! I could have loaned to the hilt and deducted the interest payments while receiving interest on my money. But now that the housing market is teetering those giant loans are like stones around everybody's neck. Except for mine. Who's CRaZY NoW!? HUH!? Eh-ha. Eh-ha. Eh-hahahahaha! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! I'm fine. Really. Just a cough.


Beedoo!
This dragon is broke. We'll fix her once we have the money.

I don't have a lot to add here, I think. I find the Dutch tax system a bit heavy-handed. Everything here is super-regulated, and while a lot of the money goes to health care and public works, it's still basically a third of Arno's income (or more, now that he's in a higher bracket)... And being an American who regularly got most of her taxes refunded, I find the Dutch system a little... creepy.

For instance, I paid $10 per year for Kayenta's dog tax in Arizona. Here, Arno's paying roughly 90 euros for her. I about had a heart attack when I heard that. I can't imagine what they're doing with that money. It's certainly not providing free poo bags along our route, or anyone to clean up after people who don't clean up after their dogs. (Unsanitary streets are one of the big issues people have here... aside of the fact that the Cabinet just fell... more on that another time.)

On the up-side, it seems like a lot of things are taken care of by the friendly civil servants here, without needing prodding or bribery, and people seem to be content with the amount they have to pay for what they get... odd for a culture known for frugality.... there's a joke that copper wire was created by two Dutchmen fighting over a penny. But I don't agree with taxing two people at the price of three... it's another one of those 'criminalizing the population' things, like the public transport chipcards... the ones that you have to keep 20e on at all times, in case you don't check out, so they can take the fee out of your card. So, yeah. Suspicious to a fault, and certainly willing to leech cash out of you at any opportunity. I don't know how they can put up with it...



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