Tag Archives: taxes

As its old enemy grows weak and it grows strong, China hasn’t forgotten World War II

23 Aug

Almost 11 years have passed and the war in Afghanistan is still a war. It has helped drain the treasury of a nation that doesn’t want to pay taxes.

An even bigger threat to that treasury and to global peace is occurring thousands of miles away in the Pacific. Its roots are deep, dating at least to 1937, when Japan invaded China.

The Chinese of today look at Americans and wonder how we can be friends with the Germans and the Japanese. We’ve forgotten World War II. They haven’t. Their country was occupied. Ours was not.

The hate never dissipated.

Around 1985, Chinese consumers were getting their first chances to buy televisions. Many were imported from Japan. Many didn’t work right. True or not, the perception was that Japan was dumping its faulty products on China. As the TVs failed, anger rose, then raged. Demonstrations were held to criticize the government for allowing this to happen and for being a party to this loss of face.

The protests continue.

E-mail has been circulating all over China calling for the boycott of Japanese products. One complaint in the e-mail is that the bosses of Japanese companies in China treat their Chinese employees like dogs. Beneath that remains the revulsion of doing business with a nation that murdered millions of Chinese and committed vicious, wide-scale atrocities that included massive gang rapes and burying people alive.

Americans don’t realize it, but almost 90 percent of Japan’s fighting forces in World War II were in China, not the islands we fought over.

While powerful back then, the Japanese of today are struggling to recover from a lengthy economic malaise.  As they do, they watch China grow wealthy and strong. Out of frustration, a bunch of them jumped in boats last weekend and landed on an Island that China claims. They planted Japanese flags.

This lit a fuse back in China, and several thousand took to the streets in protest.

All very interesting, and right now harmless. If, however, these skirmishes escalates and Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan also feel threatened, the U.S. could be lured in.

Anticipating the future, our presence in the Pacific already has grown. If the events of last week continue, it is likely to grow further.

Will there be a dialogue or will it just happen? In such a case, Americans will have to ask themselves: Is this our role, and are we willing to pay for it?


I think debate is needed now, while it is only pleasure craft and civilians taking over disputed islands, while decisions on budgets and taxes are still pending, and while national lunacy is still treatable.

This one could make Afghanistan look like a street fight.

Lanny Morgnanesi

Unlike the U.S., the Danes are blissful, successful and highly taxed

18 Jul

There’s a happy little country in Europe that is so successful, foreigners pay to put money in its banks.

That’s called negative interest. Denmark, population 5.5 million, asks for it and gets it. Mounds and mounds of Euros from the troubled European nations are flowing into Denmark as a safe haven. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the negative interest is low, with two-year debt yielding between minus .05 percent and minus .08 percent, but it shows the strength of that economy.

Unlike the U.S., Denmark has a positive trade balance, relatively low government debt and an unemployment rate of about 6 percent. (compared to about 9 in the U.S.) The Danes are said to be some of the most contented people in the world.

Oddly, or perhaps not, Denmark has the highest rate of taxes in the world.

Isn’t that ironic?

We in the United States are, for the most part, miserable and worried about our jobs, the economy and taxes. Our total taxes, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, are 24 percent of GDP. In Denmark, people are completely satisfied with paying taxes equal to 48 percent of GDP.

“We have a luxury problem,” said Jacob Graven, chief economist at Denmark’s fourth largest bank.

Sometimes, solutions to seemingly unshakable problems can be found in the most unlikely, 180-degree alternatives. To often, however, the ether of the American culture has convinced us they are off-limits, extremely dangerous and will erode and ultimately destroy our way of life.

Why are we Americans, known for innovation, so averse to opening our minds? Who is responsible for closing them, and how did they manage to do such a great job of it?

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