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I've met a lot of Norwegians here in the Dominincan Republic over the years. There are a hell of a lot of Norwegian windsurfers and kiteboarders, and the village where I live (Cabarete) is considered one of the finest spots on the planet for both sports. It's also considerably warmer than Norway, so it's no surprise it's such a popular destination for the Norwegian surfing crowd. No wetsuits required!
I've had many a conversation on the beach or in the bars with Norwegians, and have heard just about all the comments in the letter cut and pasted below, but I doubt many readers of this forum have. And even I have never seen them all gathered together in a single succinct summary. I found this in the letters column at Mark Steyn's website and thought it might be of some interest to y'all.
Have been enjoying your Euro-bashing tremendously these past few weeks ? keep up the good work, as it seems to be sinking in throughout the UK and even in Holland. Up here in Norway, the anti-EU folks are gaining popularity, to such an extent that the government coalition (spineless wussies, for the most part) have put off the idea of another referendum to join the EU indefinitely.
The royalties on North Sea oil are truly staggering, making the Norwegian government (note: not the people) shamelessly rich. There is now so much money in the Oil Fund (officially, to be used for everyone?s pensions) that they don?t know what to do with it all. God forbid they use some of it to reduce the taxes around here ? oh no, instead the government has decided to increase the VAT from 24% to 25%!!
So ? come on over and do a piece on Norway. Basically the richest (real) government in the world where the citizens none the less:
1.?pay an extra 25% tax on everything they buy and all the services they require,
2.?pay a fee to the government to own a TV,
3.?pay a fee to the government to own a car,
4.?pay 50% income tax, (what good is 5 weeks of paid holiday a year when you have no disposable income to do anything?),
5.?pay tolls on the highways for the worst roads in Northern Europe,
6.?send their kids to schools ranked the second worst education system in Europe, just above Greece,
7.?pay upwards of 100% tax on new cars because they are considered luxury items,
8.?pay USD 1.70 per liter for gas at the pump (that?s USD 6.45 per US gallon ? for your American readers), despite the fact that Norway is the third largest exporter of oil in the world after Saudi and Russia,
9.?pay USD 10.00 for a pint of beer at the pub,
10.?pay USD 5.00 for a box of Kellogg?s Corn Flakes,
11.?pay a tax for traveling abroad (on work or on holiday) because it is considered a ?benefit? to not live in your own house for a period of time,
12.?pay a tax on ?air-miles? earned while flying (work or holiday),
13.?pay an enormous estate tax when you die (despite the fact that whatever assets you have managed to acquire while alive were paid for in after-tax ?dollars?),
And my favourite:
14.?pay a VAT tax (25%) on the tax we pay for municipal services (garbage collection, etc?)
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. In a nutshell, Norway is quite similar to the continental basket cases like France, Belgium, Germany et al., but with two important differences. First, Norway still has a vibrant birth rate (come here in summer time and no explanation needed). Second, oil. If it weren?t for the oil revenues this place would be like your recent description of Britain in the 70s (Sunny Jim Callaghan). Some people call Norway the last communist country in Europe. That?s not really fair; at least the Soviets produced some educated students. But if a country with the ?richest poor people and the poorest rich people in the world? doesn?t want to buy into the Franco-German Europtopia Model ? then you know there has to something wrong with it.
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