Monday, August 3, 2015

The Italian Dream

Friends that I know that come back from Europe all mostly tell me the same thing: They want to live in Europe.

While they were merely on holiday there as a tourist, I actually lived there for several months and I was even a Permanent Resident (yes, I had discounted public transport and free museum access, whoopdeedoo).

Visiting a city or country as a tourist is an entirely different experience from the reality of the daily grind. Life as a tourist is usually better than your daily work regardless of destination, unless you're a shitty tourist or have a super fun job.

 I've seen many amazing things when I was travelling through Italy, but I've also seen many not so nice things as well. Not all European people live in ocean-view villas, drive BMWs and drink French wine paired with Italian blue cheese.

To be completely fair, Italian unemployment rate on the whole is 12.7%. Singapore's June prelim results are showing 2.8%.

Crazy people like Roy Ngerng really ought to go to Europe and live there before he starts saying that Singapore ought to be like Europe. European countries have their own sets of problems, which in my opinion, are far worse than the nonsense we have, like our 3-hour MRT national disaster. In Italy, they have a website so people will know when they are going to get screwed by strikes since "strikes have nowadays become part of our culture and way of life". I shit you not.

Do I want to pay nosebleed high taxes and not have a job?

Effective income tax rate in Italy is minimum 23% and goes up to 43%. Screw that shit.

Wake up, Neo. Wake up.

I know George Carlin is talking about America here, but just omit that part and it's applicable to pretty much everything.


  1. Hey GMGH,

    I live in Europe! In The Netherlands to be exact.
    Fortunately our unemployment ratio is not that high.
    Life is good here, that's for sure.

    However, our taxes are even higher than in Italy.
    Income taxes until you earn $10k: 0%
    From 10k to 33k: 33%
    From 33k to 50k: 42%
    From 50k: 52%

    That's right. Our riches pay more than half their income in tax.
    How does this relate to Singapore?

    Best wishes, DfS

    1. Hi DfS,

      I must say, I am very fond of the Netherlands :) It is my favourite country in Europe!

      In Singapore it is something similar, but at much lower rates:
      $0 - $20k: 0%
      $20k -$30k: 2%
      $30k - $40k: 3.5%
      $40k - $80k: 7%
      $80k - $120k: 11.5%
      $120 - $160k: 15%
      $160k - $200k: 17%
      $200k - $320k: 18%
      $320k+: 20%

      92% of the population have an effective tax rate 10% or below.
      70% of the population have an effective tax rate 4% or below.

      There is a compulsory personal pension of 20% though, but that can be immediately drawed down to pay for housing.

      It's not to say that high taxes is a cause for unemployment, but it is definitely a factor to push people into the black labour markets and hide their income if they are being taxed 23% of the first dollar.

  2. Replies
    1. In many other countries? I agree, but I don't think so in Singapore!


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