Greg Bell: America is not the rest of the world

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  • The Trooper Riverton, UT
    June 9, 2019 12:25 p.m.

    @ silo

    Regardless of whatever numbers someone says are Sweden's tax rates, the following are true:
    1) Our taxes will go up if those types of policies are implemented here. None of it is free.
    2) Sweden does not share a border with the 3rd world, so does not have the same concerns of overwhelming their "free" goodies.
    3) Sweden relies on us to keep them from the Russian sphere of influence. In a sense, the U.S (Sweden is not a member of NATO) heavily subsidizes Sweden's social programs.

  • silo Sandy, UT
    June 8, 2019 6:50 p.m.

    @n8tive american
    "Sweden personal income tax rate is 61.85%"

    False. Sweden has a progressive income tax that peaks at 61.85%.

    "Let's say you make $60K a year. After taxes, you would be left with $22.890. "

    Also false, because you're not calculating tax using the progressive rate.

    The humorous part is that your example actually shows the opposite of what you intended.

    $60k salary is around 564000 swedish krona.

    Using a Swedish tax calculator like statsskuld, your net pay after taxes would be 386,000 kr, or $41,155 (Not $22k as you claimed)

    By comparison, using a US tax calculator, in Idaho, on $60k salarly, your net pay after taxes would be $45,461

    Bottom line, in Sweden, on $60k salary, you'd pay $4,300 more in taxes than in Idaho, and you'd have full medical coverage, free college, no medical bankruptcy, and no student loan unfunded liabilities of any kind.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    June 8, 2019 6:50 p.m.


    How deceptive can a person be?

    Your rate for Sweden, and example of what it would leave is highly deceptive. That's the nicest thing I could say.

    Sweden's tax rate includes the employer contribution to their Social Security system, if a similar number were applied to the US tax rate you post it would be higher by 6 percentage points.

    Which brings up another point. Sweden, like the US levies taxes on a graduated basis. Your math in computing the theoretical net in Sweden is way, way off.

    Furthermore, the Swedes, the Dutch, the Germans and the rest are hardly anti-Capitalist governments. In fact all most are controlled by Conservative governments in a part of the world that is decidely more generous with social benefits than the US. Yet, the people of these countries value the services they receive despite a higher rate of taxation.

    Lastly, if we were to include the cost of health care into our tax rates, what might that do to our tax rates? Given these high tax countries have one manner or another of low cost medical care for every citizen of that country, the tax rates you describe are not equivalent to US rates.

    Figures do not lie, but...

  • Edmunds Tucker St. George, UT
    June 8, 2019 4:06 p.m.

    ''We hardly saw an American brand. In fact, it was hard to find the few American things we wanted.'' Who Knew? The EU has 25 percent to 100 percent tariffs on American products, cars, Intellectual Property, you name it. 100 percent tariff doubles the cost of a product. Some tariffs even higher. The tariff has two purposes, keep the invader out and if that doesn't work, collect taxes for redistribution for social welfare. The reason the Austrians speak German, and not Russian, is because of the American Soldier. The reason the Danes speak Danish and not German is because of the Amercan Soldier, The reason the Swedes, French, and Italians speak Swedish, French and Italian instead of German, is because of the American Soldier.

  • n8ive american Shelley, Idaho
    June 8, 2019 11:58 a.m.

    For those who want America to be like European nations, here's some info for you as to how they pay for all their socialized stuff.

    Sweden personal income tax rate is 61.85%.
    Per Tradingeconomics. com

    We have democratic/socialist leaders pushing for us to be like Sweden and Denmark. How much income in taxes are you willing to give up for free healthcare and college?
    Let's say you make $60K a year. After taxes, you would be left with $22.890.
    Still want to be like them?

    Let's see if DN posts this.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    June 8, 2019 11:47 a.m.

    I guess Euro-bashing is now in season. Europe is not dirty. Europeans are not arrogant. Europeans have higher satisfaction in their lives than do Americans. And Europe is not some socialist dystopia.

    I think it was great for Mr Bell to relate the details of his visit to Vienna. The city has much to offer and much to recommend. We might learn something from these ancient cities who have a bit more experience in being communities than do we Americans.

    Lastly, someone please tell the "love it or leave it" crowd that criticism is a patriotic display. I find it oddly disturbing that Conservatives are all too willing to tell those of us with legitimate concerns don't belong in this country.

  • The Trooper Riverton, UT
    June 8, 2019 9:40 a.m.

    I have been to Vienna three times and I have enjoyed the city and surrounding areas immensely. Sounds like the writer also enjoyed it. I really don't understand why he felt it was necessary to get so arrogant and preachy at the end. The last two paragraphs are very much a European generalization of American tourists, but it really is a generalization about all tourists. It really upsets Europeans that Americans may not appreciate the final points of their culture, but when they come to the U.S., they can barely stop complaining about how things are here. It doesn't make it right and your travel experiences will be richer if you resist the urge, but it is very unfair to assert this is some sort of behavior peculiar to American tourists.

  • Cougalum St. George, UT
    June 8, 2019 9:11 a.m.

    Why was this article written? Ego. Why was it published? Connections. Who really cares about Greg’s tone deaf conspicuous consumption extravagances ? Most Americans can’t afford a few days vacation in Vegas much less 3 weeks in Vienna. But we are all glad you got to see all the museums, hear all the concerts and eat at all the restaurants. Next time you are in the mood to travel perhaps consider donating the expense to the Farmington abused children center, take a weekend getaway to the Farmington Holiday Inn and experience the culinary delights of a burger at Lagoon.

  • Gretschman Draper, UT
    June 8, 2019 6:22 a.m.

    Two generations is all it took for American self hatred to take effect. 50 years of fake news has done irreparable damage. Impartial and others should take their talents to Europe. It’s better, right? So move there. Quit complaining and tearing down the country. America is not Europe, never was, never will be. Many countries in Europe have America to thank for their existence today. People in these countries know this, and have a higher opinion of America than some of our very own Americans whose presidential candidate lost the last election.

  • Copybook Headings Draper, UT
    June 8, 2019 5:08 a.m.

    Every city I've been to in Europe was filthy. Trash in the streets and on the dirty sidewalks and graffiti everywhere. There were buildings and structures everywhere that looked so dirty that you can't help but think Europeans don't care all that much about air pollution. Let's not forget it's only been since WWII that European countries have gotten along with each other (except for that tragedy in the former Yugoslavia). Prior to that, for centuries, that's all Europeans did was go to war with each other. I am proud, and happy, to have been born in, and to live in, the United States. And I am equally, (if not more!) proud to be an American citizen. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else on this planet.

  • LilOne Nezperce, ID
    June 8, 2019 2:25 a.m.

    Most people who go on and on about America being the best country on Earth have never traveled to any other country.

  • n8ive american Shelley, Idaho
    June 7, 2019 10:02 p.m.

    America nay not be the center of the world, but most of the world thinks that we are it's bank, police and caretakers. Whenever there's a problem, who does everyone turn to? The USA. Whenever any country needs money? Again, the USA. Disaster aid? USA. Conflict? USA. Problem in your country? Move to the USA.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    June 7, 2019 6:14 p.m.

    @Independent - Henderson, NV
    June 7, 2019 5:24 p.m.
    "Americans tend to think that we are the center of the universe, that U.S. popular culture has taken over the world, and that all the important companies, technology, movies, social media, art and academic progress are centered in the U.S."
    "American egocentrism seems to say that the world is a mere extension of the United States, essentially our cultural, business, and political colony."

    "Who thinks and says these things? I've never heard this. I've lived in America all my life."

    But, you've never lived in Utah all your life. Then, that statement would resonate.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    June 7, 2019 5:24 p.m.

    "Americans tend to think that we are the center of the universe, that U.S. popular culture has taken over the world, and that all the important companies, technology, movies, social media, art and academic progress are centered in the U.S."

    "American egocentrism seems to say that the world is a mere extension of the United States, essentially our cultural, business, and political colony."

    Who thinks and says these things? I've never heard this. I've lived in America all my life. I've been puzzled by this perspective all my life. We're very welcoming of different ideas and cultures in America. People will roll their eyes at that statement, but think about it. Putting America down is part of American culture. We're always talking about how much better Europe is than us. We're always putting ourselves down, our transportation system, our healthcare system, our TV shows and comedy, our political system. It's been this way my entire life. Think about it.

  • WeThePeople Sandy, UT
    June 7, 2019 3:05 p.m.

    I'm glad Mr Bell and his family has a good time in Europe, and thought it was a nice place.

    I'm sure that's exactly what they wanted him to think.

    But I'm worried that he was unable to resist the allure of the socialist propaganda that has fooled so many Americans.

    Bell does not discuss the fact that most Europeans are forced into the tyranny of socialist healthcare. They're free speech and economic liberty are restricted! They aren't even allowed to own guns or resist this tyranny.

    America is at the forefront of global freedom! We cannot give in to the collectivists.

  • Gkwahlberg Salt Lake City, UT
    June 7, 2019 2:50 p.m.

    America may not be the center of the world, but it is the center of my world. Other countries have some wonderful cities and beautiful places. But America is, in my opinion, the best country in the world for me, and, I hope other people from Europe or wherever, think the same of their home.

  • There You Go Again St George, UT
    June 7, 2019 1:11 p.m.

    My first thought was this piece read like a script from Rick Steve's.

    My second thought was I hope this piece is not a one and done for the author or the DN.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    June 7, 2019 12:36 p.m.

    @Irony Guy - Bountiful, Utah;
    In Austria, my granddaughter with type-1 diabetes can get her month's insulin for about $63. Here it costs her well over $1000.
    As a former healthcare executive, would you be willing to comment on that situation?"

    Well, former healthcare executives wouldn't be able to afford to rent homes for European vacations if they didn't charge $1000/month.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    June 7, 2019 11:58 a.m.

    Mr. Bell, here's another interesting contrast. In Austria, my granddaughter with type-1 diabetes can get her month's insulin for about $63. Here it costs her well over $1000.

    As a former healthcare executive, would you be willing to comment on that situation?

  • Jamchild Centerville, UT
    June 7, 2019 11:58 a.m.

    This is an odd title. Do the Deseret News editors not dare to say "America is not better than other countries" on the front page?

  • Husker2 , 00
    June 7, 2019 11:23 a.m.

    I lived in Europe for 2 years and it was a wonderful experience. There is a lot to enjoy and appreciate in the various European countries. Their histories and contributions to world culture cannot be underestimated. As a veteran, I am very proud that my United States stepped in and saved these countries during WW I and WWII. I'm sure we'll be happy to do it again if necessary.

  • Dart Thrower Ogden, UT
    June 7, 2019 10:39 a.m.

    I have had a similar life experience. I was raised in a very rural environment in Utah, with most people thinking that a trip Las Vegas was breathtaking. The course of my career has allowed me to travel to about 60 countries and live for good lengths of time in several different countries. I have found that the world out there is magnificent place, full of good people and amazing experiences. Americans would be well served to adopt some humility and see what the rest of humanity is up to, because in many ways it is kinder and more fulfilling. America is truly unique and has offered so much opportunity to so many people, but when it comes to "living" - that is the joy of day to day life - we seem to be way behind the curve.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    June 7, 2019 10:32 a.m.

    Vienna is a beautiful city full of culture, parks, good transportation and a healthy life style. Oh, and universal health care!

    Why can't we have that in this country?

    Or is it that Americans can not be trusted with "nice things"?

  • patrioticAMERICAN South Jordan, UT
    June 7, 2019 10:29 a.m.

    Americans have a tendency to be arrogant & think that our supposedly superior democratic govt makes Americans superior to citizens from any other country. It's usually those who haven't traveled outside the US, who seem to feel most strongly abt this.

    But when I travel around the world, I realize that others are just like me--they have their own unique struggles, & a variety of values & traditions, just as Americans do.

    I've met a Muslim gardener tending the Orson Hyde Garden in Jerusalem & he helped me see that as a Latter-day Saint, I share many of his values. My sympathy for Palestineans was furthered by an Iranian friend, who helped me see how the creation of the Jewish state pushed them off their homeland.

    I met warm-hearted Austrians who taught me the value of forgiveness--that we can be friends w/people who once joined Hitler in trying to subjugate the world.

    I met humble Hungarians who had only been free of Communism for a few yrs, & saw the damage it had inflicted.

    I met a WWII resistence fighter in France & many warm gracious people.

    I've met a refugee from war-torn Uganda, a wonderful women, who taught me abt resilience.

    We are no better than anyone else.

  • pwlohse Dueren, 00
    June 7, 2019 10:26 a.m.

    Great article. The same could be written of Hamburg, Copenhagen and Stockholm. And on top of what was written, these large European cities are very safe.

  • majmajor Layton, UT
    June 7, 2019 10:20 a.m.

    We take the best, and sometimes the worst of the world. Some people hate the term but we are a blended culture. The blending continues today.

    Other people think that culture is owned by other nations... is isn’t. There is no such thing as “stealing of others culture.” In America, we believe including portions of other’s beliefs or traditions is what makes us Americans.

    The above includes the American version of English. English isn’t even close to a pure language, we accept its Germanic, Latin, Spanish, Tex-Mex, and more and more Asian components..

    In many ways, “we are the world” because we are, collectively, still trying to figure out what it means to be Americans...

    FYI, Thai and Indian food are far better then anything my European ancestors brought with them..

  • Ranch Here, UT
    June 7, 2019 9:54 a.m.

    Excellent article.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    June 7, 2019 9:38 a.m.

    Its OK. Most Europeans think they are the center, not of the world, but of Western Civilization. And they have a point. We do have it pretty good here in the USA, though. I dare say more people want to come here than anywhere else, especially if they could. Some are just glad to get out from where they are to anywhere else. That is sad. Everyplace should be a good place.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    June 7, 2019 9:34 a.m.

    "Grocery stores are packed with Austrian and European brands and products. We hardly saw an American brand. "

    If you understood, it's that the European versions of our FDA and FTC don't allow European food makers and sellers to put all the chemicals, steroids, nitrates, fats, plastics, preservatives, etc. in their food supply. America is not the fattest country because we all have zero self control, it's that our food supply is full of junk. Europeans don't go to the grocery store 4+ times a week because they just love shopping there, it's because their meats, dairy, breads, etc, are fresh and made with fresh ingredients and they don't last long in refrigerators or pantrys. They actually value the health of their citizenry over the value of businesses bottom lines.