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Very good summary. Thanks Martin. A couple of additional comments:

0.3% less population growth: Does it really matter to live in the overall bigger economy? Are the Chinese better off than the people of Norway, because China has a bigger economy or would you prefer to live in 4 million people Norway?

Not that your average USian would know Norway from Albania anyway. Heck, many of them probably believe they're as poor as the Inuits...
(To be fair, how many Europeans would know Nebraska from Minnesota?)

Moreover Sarko has promised to use a capital gains tax increase to finance a negative income tax for the poor

Very true, but there's catch: thanks to last year's "fiscal ceiling" the wealthiest taxpayers won't pay an additional cent; the full burden of it will be carried in its entirety by the middle class (That's Sarko's social justice to you).

Affordable health care for everybody, financed by the taxpayers solidarity if necessary.

This is definitely one thing the right-wing governments in EU have been consistently undermining: more co-pay and more and more reliance on private insurer schemes, all in the name of --you guessed it-- reducing the taxes ...
by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Sep 10th, 2008 at 04:00:48 PM EST
Several years ago the economist had results from a geography quiz given to citizens of various countries. Europeans generally scored higher than Americans, but not by much.

Speaking of Minnesota, I haven't met a European (who isn't living in the US) who knows where Minneapolis is (my response after they ask where I am from). About 1/10 have even heard of it. I always follow with "it's 500km northwest of Chicago," and maybe 1/4 claim to have an idea where Chicago is.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Sep 10th, 2008 at 05:23:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Minneapolis has about 370,000 people, so do you know where Dortmund, Essen, Duisburg, Wuppertal or Bochum is?
I don't expect anybody to know exactly where Norway is, but that it is a European country, I think is something. That it doesn't have a huge number of population, say less than 100 million, too. And a country is more important than a state.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Wed Sep 10th, 2008 at 05:35:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Minneapolis has about 370,000 people, so do you know where Dortmund, Essen, Duisburg, Wuppertal or Bochum is?

Yes and no. Minneapolis-St.Paul metro has a population well over 3 million. We're talking a place that's significantly larger than Frankfurt, and roughly the size of Munich.

by MarekNYC on Wed Sep 10th, 2008 at 05:45:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did Munich grow a lot recently? When I lived there, about 10 years ago, I think it was slightly over 1 million.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 10th, 2008 at 05:51:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Metro region. The city is 1.3 million. Depending on which metro standard you use, the metropolitan region is either 2.6 or 4.6 million. The latter is stretching things a bit. For M-SP it seems the equivalent numbers would be 3.1 and 3.6 million.
by MarekNYC on Wed Sep 10th, 2008 at 06:02:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chicago is the 3rd largest metro area in the US, so the lack of European knowledge of that city surprised me more than anything. Despite the actual size of the Twin Cities as pointed out by Marek, I'm not surprised by lack of European knowledge.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Sep 10th, 2008 at 06:21:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My general take has been that most Europeans know where NYC, LA, Miami are. Next comes DC, then SF and Chicago. Beyond that things tend to get a bit vague.
by MarekNYC on Wed Sep 10th, 2008 at 06:47:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it true that the bouclier fiscale exempts the very rich from this?

i had thought the mechanism more like a transactional Tobin tax, seperate from that calculation, but I could very well be wrong...also note the shift of all the RMI and similar funding, creating working poor out of non-working poor; but poor all the same. Though, it should be noted the value of work is an ethical value, good for both individual and collective...

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Sep 11th, 2008 at 03:47:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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