Yesterday was July 18, Germany's "Steuerzahler Gedenktag" – basically Tax Payer Remembrance day.
What does that mean? On average, every Euro people earned in Germany went to the government tax collector from January 1-July 17. That's right. Over half the year.
Starting on July 18, your paycheck goes to you.
Amazing, right? Horrifying even?
I'll be honest, I've whined about taxes before. Of course I have.
But the more news I see from back home in the US, the more I'm happy to pay these taxes, for socialized health insurance, etc. Things aren't perfect here, but I have never once seen a GoFundMe for a German trying to afford surgery or dental care. I've never heard of anyone here losing their house because they had to pay enormous hospital bills. People here don't have tens of thousands of dollars in debt (or more!) when they get their college degree. They don't work until a day before a baby's due. And child care is subsidized, so you don't end up working for almost nothing just to keep your job.
So would I like to pay less taxes? Sure.
But would I want less taxes enough give up what my German taxes are used for? Not a chance. Because even if I was rich enough to not have to worry about all that stuff for me (which I'm not), I just don't know how you live knowing your neighbors might wonder how they'll make it through the month.