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How's your country
FN Posted: Sat Jan 5 08:45:24 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  If you have some time to waste, please tell me a little something about your country, in the field of


politics
economics
healthcare
welfare
criminality
good points
bad points
how you experience it
how you think others experience it


 
FN Posted: Sat Jan 5 09:06:32 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Also, a rough (or precise) estimate of how much of your income goes to taxes would be appreciated.


So for example:


you get 1000 gross, for which your boss pays 1400, and you end up with around 600 net.


 
addi Posted: Sat Jan 5 11:15:35 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:

>politics
A mess. Needs an overhaul
>economics
Getting worse by the day. Thank you, Dubya
>healthcare
Don't even get me started on this topic :(
>welfare
Needs an overhaul too
>criminality
on the rise..in direct proportion to the increasing gap between the haves and have nots
>good points
I'm here
>bad points
I'm here


Sorry, Christophe..I know you were hoping for something with a bit more substance, but to do that would require way too much time and effort for a sunny day here in Atlanta.

*I think somewhere in the neighborhood of 30% of our gross income goes to taxes here...low compared to many western european countries. Of course your benefits are greater than ours because of this.


 
FN Posted: Sat Jan 5 11:31:53 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  And how much extra does it cost for your employer?


Yeah I'd like a long read but it's all good :)



I'm just trying to get a little more insight in how it is all done abroad, I know the big lines but not the more detailed and "every day effects" of it all


 
erikagm Posted: Sat Jan 5 12:35:46 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Either that or you're really a 60 yr old perv hitting on Libra.

Hehehe :)


 
FN Posted: Sat Jan 5 12:44:11 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Aside from the age you won't hear me deny it ;o)


 
erikagm Posted: Sat Jan 5 13:26:49 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>If you have some time to waste, please tell me a little something about your country, in the field of
>
>
>politics
We just recently (less then 10 years)finally managed to get out of the grip of the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, Institutional Revolutionary Party) after almost 100 years of their exclusive rule in the presidential seat. We still don't know whether this is good or bad, but at least it's a change. They're both conservative parties, although the new party, PAN (Partido Accion Nacional, National Action Party) is WAY right-wing. They're highly religious as well, even more so than Bush. So far, though, so good, but we know better than to fall into the lull of safety, since that is exactly what happened when PRI took over initially. There haven't been any MAJOR changes, but this are a tiny bit better up to now. We have skated over a few scares, such as what our economy would be like after the presidential switch, and we almost got a REAL socialist Hugo Chavez-type this last election, with the PRD (Partido Revolucionario Democrata, Democrat Revolutionary Party) candidate. He's a real nutcase, and I don't think he would have allowed capitalism and he would have made those of us that actually -work- have to pay for all the lazy-ass bums on the street so they could lead the high life just to keep him in power. He's the type that I think would try to become a Castro-type leader. Thank goodness he wasn't elected. He still has TV ads calling himself the "real" president. Sheesh. So don't want to go into too much more detail, so ask if you have questions about this, and take into consideration they will be answered by a liberal-minded lesbian ;)

>economics
So far the peso has been stable against the dollar (our eternal comparison point). After the 1994 devaluation of the peso, when it went from 3 pesos to 11 pesos and down to 6 pesos per dollar in about a 6 month period, it has slowly crawled back to near 11 pesos per dollar once more in this 13 year lapse. Not bad for Mexico, considering previous devaluations and their quick downward spiral to even worse exchange rates.
Our monthly minimum wage here in Mexico until December was about 140 dlls, which can actually buy you... Well, nothing. Not even one person can support him/herself on that amount unless they don't have to pay rent or utilities and live on the really shabby part of town. Luckily, most people don't really earn that except those that also have other types of income such as restaurant workers (tips). Here, it is even preferred to beg on the street than to earn just plain minimum wage, since reports have shown that beggars can make up to 30 dlls on a good day just by extending their hand palm-side up. Buying power is not that bad, considering we pretty much manufacture all the basic goods and they are therefore not all that expensive. We can buy a kilo of tomatoes, onions, potatoes, bananas or oranges for about a dollar, and lean beef meat is at around 6 dollars a kilo, depending on where you purchase it. As for utilities, I receive a monthly water bill of around 8 dollars a month when someone else is living with me and this also includes doing loads of laundry and watering my garden. My light bill arrives every two months, at a cost of about 20 dlls each month with 2 persons living here. This would include the bimonthly use of a microwave, refrigerator, washing machine, blender, toaster, 2 cordless phones, 2 30"-or-so TVs, 2 computers, 2 DVD players, and around 10 or so lightbulbs, although not all of them lit at the same time, nor all day. So it's not that bad, lots of government subsidy there.

>how much of your income goes to taxes
Pure taxes, I would say around 15%.

>healthcare
As long as you belong to the working force, or are a direct member of their family (parents, children), you are forced to pay a healthcare fee on your paycheck, each paycheck. We call it "seguro social" provided to us by the IMSS (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Mexican Institute of Social Security). The rates vary depending on your salary, so the higher your salary, the more you pay. It equates to about 10% of your income before taxes. This provides you with free medical care at any level, as well as all of the medicines needed to treat the disease and any surgical interventions required, no collateral, no copay, no nothing except what you dish out each paycheck. As I said, this covers not only the worker, but his/her partner (heterosexual only) and his/her children. It also covers daycare until the age of 4, and it also helps cover sick leaves. If the sick leave is non-work related, you receive 60% of your regular wages, non-taxed. If it is work related, you receive 100% of your regular wage, not taxed as well.

Since this payment is labelled "social security", it also covers other items not related to healthcare, such as Infonavit (Instituto para el Fomento Nacional a la Vivienda del Trabajador, National Institute to Support Homes for the Workers). Depending on how long you've worked while being enrolled in IMSS, your age, your salary, etc, you are entitled to receive governmental support to help finance the purchase of a house within a certain price range which cannot exceed 300 monthly minimum wages or so. Basically, the government loans you money so you can buy low-cost housing and then gives you 30 years to pay them back, taking the payments out of your paycheck at a 9% APR. This APR is low, compared to what the banks were charging when I got my house, and the length of time to pay is very reasonable. Also, there's a nice catch. If you get better wages, the government can't increase the payments already set down in the contract, which equate to no more than 25% of your wages before taxes. Also, if by that amount you still haven't managed to clear the debt at 30 years, as long as you've always been paying, they wipe your debt and the house is yours. The house is also free of debt should you die or become incapacitated to work. I enjoy this benefit, and therefore am paying around 200 dlls a month in mortgage payments, which is lower than the rent for a house like mine.

>welfare
We have no such thing as welfare. If you're out of a job, so be it. We have free clinics and low-cost healthcare, but that is about the extent of the help the poor receive. All schooling including University here (in government run institutions) is free of tuition, the only thing you have to pay is for notebooks and such, since even the books are provided by the government. There is also private schooling, which varies in cost.

>criminality
This all depends on the city you're living in, and I'd like to say that even then the percentage is pretty much the same nation-wide, with the possible exception of DF (Distrito Federal, Federal District, our capital city), but even then if you consider the sheer mass of people living there, I am sure the rate is pretty much the same as well, it is just more widely-publicized and maybe a tad more violent. I do not know percentages, but in my town, where about 2 million people live (or so), we hear about maybe 6-7 murders a year, most of the time less, about 3 rapes a year, and about 300 or so car robberies (including stereo system thefts), and a bunchload of armed robberies. Most of the time they're non-violent crimes and no one gets hurt except for the loss of property.

>good points
There's still a high focus on family despite the closeness to our north-neighboring country which focuses more on self (no offense to all you americans, but all those americans that I know say the same thing). People tend to want to help each other, they are very giving. People here are very warm, friendly and will usually back each other up in times of need. I say the good thing about Mexico is its people, because although there is some racism, it is nowhere near as high as several other countries I know about, since there was never an issue of outright slavery here. It was more sort of a feudalism deal. Sure, it is still easier to get ahead of the world if you're a lighter tone of skin, as in every other country I know of, but it's not that marked here, since people in high-ranking (private) posts I know are pretty much evenly divided.

>bad points
That the Roman Catholic Church has always sort of had the government by the balls despite the church and state separation proclaimed by one of our presidents, Benito Juarez, sort of 200 years ago. The corruption among government officials. The burocracy. The fact that you have to kiss ass to get anywhere.

>how you experience it
I don't have it that bad. I am a part of the middle-middle class, own my own home (along with the government), have all my health issues taken care of, have a small car, have a computer, have running water and electricity, have an education, work for an American company that gives me many additional benefits to those required by law, and lead a calm life.
The only qualms about it is that I am still treated as a second-class citizen in respect to my being a lesbian. I am not allowed to marry my partner, I can't give her my healthcare benefits as a hetero couple could, and if I pass away, she gets nothing. But I can't complain too much, since at least I am not discriminated, and there are laws to protect me from that type of thing. I am a lot better off than most gays in south america or most of asia and africa. I am no worse off than most gays in the USA even. So, I am ok.

>how you think others experience it
It all depends on where they come from and what they want to do with their lives. My father, for instance, came from a very high-class family that lost all their money when my grandfather died. My father's brothers and himself all went to school to become engineers, architects or like my father, a doctor. The only one that made a shitty life of himself was my dad, but that's because he's a slacker. My uncles are all very well off and have a much better life than we ever did. One can pretty much get where he wants if he has the right attitude and the will to do so.



P.S.
DAMN VERISIGN, AGAIN!!! Anyway, hope THIS post was of help. Sorry for the previous post.


 
Posted: Sat Jan 5 19:14:54 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Well, I've been living in the USA for all of six months now, and just went back to Canada for my Christmas vacation. I'm having a nice time of it here.

I'll try to do a cross-comparison between the US and Canada very briefly, but please understand that things are going to be extremely skewered - in Canada I was a student, in the USA I have a full time, well-paying job.

>politics
Both countries currently have conservatives in power. I've been abstaining from the vote since I was 18, a trend I think will continue until I feel that there's a positive change that can be made.

That said, there are more options in Canada. Power shifts easily, and ordinary citizens actually have a say in what goes on (try and show me where a national referendum was ever called in the USA to decide whether or not a state could become independent).

>economics
Our dollars are about the same now.
Here's a fun fact: my mother lives in Canada and drives 40 minutes across the border to work at a Detroit hospital every day - she'd been doing this for a very long time and experiencing considerable benefit for it, as the American dollar had been substantially higher than the Canadian one for a very long time (at one point, just a few years ago, the exchange was $1 USD = $0.55 CDN). I transferred money to pay off some Canadian credit cards a month or so ago and I was treated to something for the first time ever: losing money on the exchange. About 10% of it. That was a shock and a half.

I pay about 30% in taxes now. In Canada, I always finished with tax bonuses for being a student, but well, I was a student then.

>healthcare
Americans die three years younger than Canadians on average.

Since I moved here, I've kept a number in my head: The price of a round trip airline ticket back to Canada.

If I ever require treatment that costs more than that number, my ass is on a plane.

That said: I recently had dental work done to correct some less-than-state-of-the-art work done by my dentist in Canada.

I happily have medical and dental insurance here, which is nice though limited, but I try to imagine how much life would suck if I didn't have any at all.

>welfare
People seem less concerned here, I think. It's hard to say - I've mostly kept inside my apartment since I've moved here, but homelessness is a problem.

When I lived in Canada, I spent a few years as a volunteer at a shelter downtown.

The truth is, you'll find people willing to do selfless acts no matter what country you're in. The problem is that there aren't enough of them anywhere.

>criminality
I was very curious to hear that they don't have Devil's Night here in Arizona - it's apparently a Detroit specific thing.

While living in Phoenix isn't exactly the same thing as living in Detroit, the prevalence of guns here still terrifies me. I find myself restraining from flipping the bird when someone cuts me off on the freeway for fear that I'm going to get killed. It's irrational, but the situation never came up in Canada.

When I was up in Windsor for Christmas, we had our first gun murder in 7 years: two Detroit youth that had snuck handguns across the border and gotten into a fight at a nightclub.

>good points
I'm in an area with a thriving economy, and I've thrust myself into a career that is unlikely to lose jobs to developing nations (a major fear of mine - I watched Detroit's automotive jobs go down the drain) - creative internet marketing. Life is calm, I have a normal routine that I do, and I'm not in a financial crisis.

>bad points
American health care, the idea that I could wake up one day with some rare disease that will end up bankrupting me.

>how you experience it
I love it. I'm financially secure, doing a job I love, after studying a subject I loved (unrelated to my field of work, and for much less money because it was in Canada). I feel reluctant to do some things here (nothing fundamental; when i say "some things", I mean flipping someone off on the freeway", but my liberties aren't really infringed upon in any substantial way.

>how you think others experience it
Depends who we're talking about. Most people I know seem pretty happy, but I live in a nice area in a booming town.

In Canada, I lived in an area that wasn't doing so well, but people were still very happy. I wonder if that outlook on life could exist stateside, where social equity at the bottom line is less of a concern.

--------

I hope this helps. Truthfully I'm both surprised and happy with how my life has gone, but I don't attribute much of that to either of the countries in which I hold citizenship.


 
FN Posted: Sat Jan 5 19:33:31 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Thanks :)

I'll be adding my own soon, in the meanwhile everybody who wants to: keep it coming :)

There's no special reason why I'd like to see this from different countries, I just think it's an interesting thing to keep track of and ask again in another 5 years :o)


 
everyday_daisy Posted: Tue Jan 8 02:08:30 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
 

politics
-they kill journalists. :(
economics
-it was getting better last year but, i don't keep track.
healthcare
-really awful infrastructure - there's insurance for government workers but i'm only familiar with the govt. workers in the higher positions .. i.e. diplomats etc.
welfare
-poor but happy
criminality
-here and there and many assassinations
good points
-people, nature etc.
bad points
-everything else + traffic
how you experience it
-comfortable life so far, attending college blah blah, my parents are rich and i hope to be in order to survive and help
how you think others experience it
-they're dying


 
erikagm Posted: Wed Jan 9 00:16:17 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  It may be just me, but I have NO idea where you're from, everyday_daisy, and your profile doesn't say.


 
Mark Posted: Wed Jan 9 09:56:12 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  politics
At the moment it is a bit quiet. The only thing that happened lately is that Wilders (our right wing bleached hear politician) is making an anti-Islam movie or something. HmmíK well there seems to be a trend in being as loud as possible lately to get the most voters behind them. Mostly this are small or single person parties (we have about 18 parties, I believe, here in the Netherlands, even one specially focusing on the need of animals). Being loud isníŽt only a property of the right wingers, but also the left.

economics
Could be worse, could be better. ItíŽs a bit on a slow side.

healthcare
Expensive for those with low income. Everybody is obliged to have a basic insurance. This basic insurance is the same for everybody. The problem is that it costs about 100 euro a month (depending on insurance company) and with a low income it almost isníŽt affordable.

welfare
Worse then politicians want to believe. Many people have debts (doníŽt know the exact number or percentage, but it are a lot) and of those, many caníŽt pay them. But it probably could be worse.

criminality
There is criminal activity for sure, but it isníŽt all that bad. Every year there seem to be a few assassinations though.

good points
The Dutch climate :p wellíK no. Everything that hasníŽt anything to do with politics, journalism, royalties, celebrities is ok.

bad points
Everything that wasníŽt positive in the previous point.

how you experience it
I find it nice to live in the Netherlands. Sure we doníŽt have mountains (which I miss btw) but I can enjoy myself here â║ There are many points left for improvement, but it could always be worse than it is now.

how you think others experience it
Ask them.

About the taxes. This is what I remember about it. The information is a year old. Plus it is an estimate since taxes vary in different scales depending on salary and the sector you work in.

If you get 1800 euros, the company pays about 2200 to 2400 euros. After taxes you get about 1200 to 1400 euros. Please note that for example a lease contract for your car or payment for your health insurance (which can be done by your company) has not been taken into the calculation.


 
mat_j Posted: Wed Jan 9 12:40:37 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
 
>politics

An Escherean nightmare of uncodified constitutions, a German Tribal chief descedant as a Sovereign (for that reason!), unrealistic political parties as different as skimmed milk and semi squabbling for power in a dusty maze of toppling books and backroom handshakes. A top down bureaucracy as manageable as football stadium full of greased up terriers.

>economics

Lies and backhanders, money pours into the country and is absorbed into the chalk like crevaces of the modern uberaristocracy. Things are better but that's only because the guys on top are getting better kick backs.

>healthcare

Disease and pestilence stalk the land, the health service is crippled by bureaucratics and underhand politicians trying to strangle her in secrecy. 'Scare them,' they cry out form their ivory towers,'make them think they will die if they use the free health service, they're all rich enough to go private now anyway!' A thoroughly competant lady NHS lies bound and gagged in Westminsters gardens.

>welfare

'Awl 'em Muzilems is gettin' awl ver monies ain't they!' screams mother tabloid, 'them are getting paid to live in ver country whaile we awl starve.' Immense naivety and a grotesque and fraudluent underclass blossom like fungus on the corpse of a rat. if welfareness is a tightrope we're dangling underneath it!

>criminality

Urban centres still have a long way to go to catch up with the yanks and the truth of it is it's not as bad now as it has always been. Mother tabloid's bulbous finger points accusingly at the grey faced, undernourished teens guzzling chips under cold wet drips that fall into the vandalised bus stop. 'Look at 'em awl hangin' arawnd on the cooorrrners listening to all that coon music, filthy dirty little beggars, if only John Bull would make Soljers of them.'

>good points

Despite it's failings, education, health care, low unemployment, general increase in prosperity (for some), decent comedy on the TV. A rawkus bow form auntie Beeb and her Public service broadcasts.

>bad points

Poverty gaps yawn and stretch and more unhappy victims fall in. Obese children wallow around crying because they're too fat and exhausted to keep up with mama on the shopping run. they fall behind and panther like street gangs rip them to pieces and feed off them for weeks.

In parliament dusty old Vultures posture and caw but the nature of the beast will never change.

>how you experience it

Through the bottom of a glass dear boy... it's the only way to travel round here

>how you think others experience it

I just know that they do, whether they want to or not.


 
everyday_daisy Posted: Wed Mar 19 19:49:48 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Philippines!


 



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