On the radio yesterday, I heard yet another thing that clearly makes Germans different than Americans: a majority of Germans oppose lower taxation. But that's not all -- while the greatest support for lower taxation was found among those earning less than 18,000 euros a year, the greatest opposition to lower taxation came from those earning at least 36,000 euros a year. In other words, the more you earn, the more willing you are to pay taxes -- at least in Germany.
This discussion is taking place against the backdrop of the incredible debt accumulated as the government (read: taxpayers) bailed out banks. The current governing coalition of Christian Democrats and Libertarians has, much like Democrats and Republicans in the US, promised to generate more taxes by "growing the economy" -- so you need to lower taxes in order to increase tax revenue. You know, fighting for peace, fucking for virginity, etc.
One reason why Germans are having none of it may be because the concept does not make sense to German media. Here is a 10-minute segment from the German Nightly News (from Oct 15, 2009), which only lasts a half an hour -- and that is including the weather:
Marietta Slomka, the moderator, totally slams this libertarian politician; she points out that, even according to his plan, they would have to come up with 86 billion euros, and he has only proposed to cut 10 billion from the budget, but if taxes are reduced as proposed he would have a shortfall of 35 billion euros. In other words, if this politician gets his way, he is actually going to increase the debt by 25 billion, not reduce it at all.
The United States would be a different country if politicians were taken to task like this on the nightly news.