Americans think a lot more about bombs than they used to. The bombing of the TWA flight is still in the news and the bomb at the Olympics briefly held the headlines. These follow the Oklahoma City bomb last year and one a few months ago in Saudi Arabia. One thing that has come across on TV is just how easy it is. As a test, I searched for "fertilizer bomb" (the type used in Oklahoma) on the internet and found several sites that gave detailed instructions. It is hard to justify a total lack of censorship when it comes to making bombs and child pornography and the US Congress passed a law making transmission of such information illegal. However, the law has since been struck down as being unconstitional (violating the right to free speech) and it is impossible to police on the internet anyway. Frightening stuff.
The American tax year is January 1 to December 31 and we had to file a return by April 15. It is effectively impossible to state whether the tax is higher or lower than Australia because the tax codes are so different. For example, in America, you can claim the interest on your home loan as an expense (you can't in Aust.) but against that, you have to pay capital gains tax when you sell it and this can be tens of thousands of dollars. Also, the government provides different services. The Australian government gives free hospital care through Medicare but most Americans pay $50-$100 per month per person to private health insurers. Although there are now fees at university, they are trivial compared with what Americans pay. One thing I do know is that among OECD countries, tax as a proportion of GDP (the size of the economy) is lowest in Turkey, then Australia and I think the US is next. Also complicating the issue is that there is a state income tax (5% here) and sales taxes.
Being America, someone is always trying to sell you something, no matter where you are. The church bulletin has 4 pages and the back page is devoted to advertising. At a black church I visited, there are cardboard fans advertising a funeral company in the seats along with the song books. (Our white church is air conditioned). I should also mention that the Catholic church has a very different attitude to gambling from the Protestant churches. Our church recently had a social outing to the local casino! We didn't go.
More quality bumper stickers:
- If we had known that grandchildren were so much fun, we would have had them first!
- Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
- There is an anti-drug campaign called DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and the normal bumper sticker says DARE to keep kids off drugs but I have also seen one that says DARE to keep cops off donuts!