A member of the Home Guard cleaning his Tommy gun at the dining room table, 1940

https://twitter.com/oldschoolvid/status/990521110931410944

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The Unthinkable and the Inevitable: German Reunification 25 Years Later

Superfluous Answers to Necessary Questions

40-years

Had it survived the collapse of state socialism, the German Democratic Republic would be commemorating its 66th anniversary today. A month before the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the GDR held a massive celebration for East Germany’s the 40th year as a separate country. By the next year, politicians from both East and West worked together to make sure the GDR ceased to exist on October 3rd, in part to avoid the awkwardness of reaching 41.

Twenty-five years later, as the unified Germany dominates the political and economic landscape of Europe, alternatives to this status quo seem unthinkable. While the continued existence of the GDR has recently been the subject of no less that threespeculativenovels, contemplating such an idea is usually geared towards parody and humour.

When we talk about German reunification, it is important to remember that the country created in…

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Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Where are Workers Pillaged Worst of All?

International Liberty

Congratulations to Belgium. According to the new edition of Taxing Wages, average Belgian workers have the dubious honor of surrendering the biggest chunk of their income to government. No wonder part of the country is interested in secession.

We can also give (sincere, this time, rather than sarcastic) congratulations to New Zealand and Switzerland, which impose the lowest overall tax burden on the labor income of average workers (with honorable mention to Chile and Mexico for low tax burdens in developing countries).

Here’s the key data, which shows how much of an average worker’s wages are lost because of income and payroll taxes.

The United States, I’m happy to report, is in the bottom half, which means the government confiscates a below-average amount of money from workers.

Other nations with onerous burdens include Germany, Italy, and France

Regarding the Belgian tax burden, the government understands this is…

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