Archive for March 7th, 2010

Statists often claim that high taxes have no impact on behavior. Too bad Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi weren’t with me today. I needed to get a taxi from the Nice Airport to the railway station. I asked the cabbie whether he took credit cards and he visibly recoiled and said I needed cash.

During the drive, I asked him why he doesn’t take credit cards. He said none of the taxi drivers take credit cards. He said something to the effect that they would have to charge 10 euro more to make up for the taxes. It didn’t require much reading between the lines to understand that my taxi fare was not going to be reported to the greedy French tax authorities.

Viva le resistance! (I’m probably spelling that wrong and/or using bad grammar, and/or missing some accents, but it’s the spirit that counts)

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Since I’m in France, and bureaucracy is a French word (at least I think), let’s continue our series about pampered government workers. A solid analysis by a reporter from USA Today¬†finds that bureaucrats make almost $8,000 more than their private sector counterparts, but the bigger scandal is the giant gap in fringe benefits. Taxpayers cough up nearly $41,000 for every bureaucrat, but workers in the productive sector of the economy get an average of less than $10,000:

Federal employees earn higher average salaries than private-sector workers in more than eight out of 10 occupations, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data finds. Accountants, nurses, chemists, surveyors, cooks, clerks and janitors are among the wide range of jobs that get paid more on average in the federal government than in the private sector. Overall, federal workers earned an average salary of $67,691 in 2008 for occupations that exist both in government and the private sector, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The average pay for the same mix of jobs in the private sector was $60,046 in 2008, the most recent data available. These salary figures do not include the value of health, pension and other benefits, which averaged $40,785 per federal employee in 2008 vs. $9,882 per private worker, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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I’m in Cannes, France. Not for anything glamorous like a film festival. Instead, I’m here to speak to the European Tax Summit.

It’s a bit chilly at this time of year, but the view from my room at the Hotel Majestic Barriere¬†is nice. Diet cokes are $10 each, so this is not exactly a cheap place to hang out.

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