How does it feel to be an American?

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Postby crash.landing » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:45 pm

identikit wrote:what I keep wondering and can't really ask any not-that-close friends or former colleagues in the US since talking money is nothing you should do, is eh... hm.

Is there a massive master plan how you guys are going to evade taxes? In my head, that is part of being American now - you evade taxes. Or maybe that's just me, I don't know.


People with shitloads of money evade taxes "legally," while the IRS comes for everyone else. But that's not unique to the US.
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Postby identikit » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:49 pm

yes but I was guessing people (aka everyone else) look more into options to evade taxes now, find loopholes, tricks, that sort of thing (as in illegal ways you might get away with.) Or is paying for this as always the last thing on your mind? I truly don't know.
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Postby crash.landing » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:59 pm

Not sure what you're asking. The average person here generally is not in a position to evade taxes.
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Postby hansibansix » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:01 pm

everyone everywhere tries to evade taxes... the rich can afford to hire someone to find some legal loopholes...
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Postby identikit » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:23 pm

crash.landing wrote:Not sure what you're asking. The average person here generally is not in a position to evade taxes.

yea see I don't know how exactly the tax filing process works from state to state, especially if you are employed. I only know how filing works if you are self-employed or own a business. I figured if it works similar to Germany (which is most likely not the case) - there are ways to pay less taxes by not stating the correct income, forgetting side jobs and what have you.
We tried our damn best to find all loopholes there could possibly be in the US - by hiring one accountant and adviser after the other - but at some point they get really reluctant to advise you on illegal activities. Not sure why, either we found only shit-honest accountants, or Americans are more reluctant to break as many tax laws as possible than Germans are. Back in Germany an advising accountant firm will inform you that no, they cannot advise you on any illegal stuff, that would get them into deep shit. they you leave their office for a drink or dinner, and "off the record" they will tell you exactly. No such luck in the US.
What I did see on the job were all sorts of tricks the (democratic) studio owners started pulling in November. Pretty amazing, down the line the tax cut per movie project was down over 8% compared to Obama years. They did it out of principle, and from what I gathered didn't plan to stop until they get busted.

So I wondered if something is out there, like Invisible Chicago, only for taxes, for Americans.
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Postby Hieronymus Kush » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:23 am

As a cishet black male I fucking loathe this country and plan on leaving as soon as I have the financial means to do so.
in filth it will be found
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Postby moon unit » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:37 am

iambic wrote:I will say that for the privileged immigrant who has a generally frictionless entry and acceptance into the U.S., what badhat is talking about is one of the hardest things to deal with, even after you've navigated the immigration system and attendant obtuse bureaucracies (like opening a bank account, which is weirdly hard?). I think I could talk a lot about American use of space/distance/roads—and how disorienting car culture is in ways that don't feel trivial.

Everything has been covered in this thread but I just wanna say I really appreciated this conversation. As a European transplant that mostly has grown to love America, this is the most dehumanizing aspect of America and the thing that will always gnaw at me. I don't want to live anywhere else but I also don't want to live somewhere auto-centric, which doesn't leave a lot of pickings.

I'm always trying to figure out how we can change legislation and development patterns to make it less so. Badhat you're doing important work and I share your obsession.
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Postby palms » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:59 am

Badhat made some damn good posts itt. I spend a lot of time lately thinking what's going to happen to all the vast American suburbs when (if) we finally get over cars as a society. There's going to be some interesting retrofitting iniatives designed to tackle that problem, I suppose there already are

Let's all have another orange julius
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Postby Kenny » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:57 am

fox wrote:
office plant wrote:
bigcat wrote:There's nothing more embarrassing and irritating to me than going abroad and hearing liberal Americans shit all over this country. Like, do you really want our only positive representation to be from those guys?



my perennial problem with these guys as a non-american is they sometimes seem to believe america's problems are somehow unique, or that they're worse or more deserving of consideration than those of any other country, so they're hypercritical but weirdly nationalist about it


yes it's a way of distinguishing yourself from "those guys" while also monopolizing the conversation


It's weird because I can cop to occasionally having the feeling that I've done this, usually after the fact. I don't think it's soley always about distinguishing yourself from "those guys" though, at least in my instance. I think I feel guilt about not being home in the middle of it and doing anything to help. Like I realize that I'm living a privilege in that I can just avoid Trump if I feel like it and oddly that in someway bolsters my obsession on the topic.
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Postby mascotte » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:58 am

Ok, I can elaborate more on how it feels to be Polish.

It's really hard to avoid oversimplifications and generalizations here and I know my question regarding being an American was based on some common stereotypes.

There are things that I like about Poland and Poles and there are things that I hate. This is a very monocultural country with one dominating religion, race and language. It hasn't been like that throughout the ages. In the 30s last century the ethnic minorities reached 30% of population, predominantly Jewish, German, Russian and Latvian. Despite a few pogroms, mostly inspired by the nazis, and recent change in attidue towards so called immigrants (mostly people with darker complexion) this is a very tolerant country and has been so for centuries.

Catholicism is not present in my life, my father was an active communist who forbade me going to church. I don't know many devoted catholics and I believe that for most of them it is a private thing. What I really dislike is that religion here is an instrument of power, used by both clergy and politicians for their particular aims. The society is thus extremely polarized, although the parliament consists mostly of the right, far right and populistic parties, the left has almost disappeared from the scene. I fucking hate Polish politicians, most of them only care of their own interest - but I guess it is a common thing in today's post politics.

Due to wars and turmoil caused by two neighbor superpowers Poland has been in the process of reconstrucion, the process began in 1989 and will last a couple of generations. This applies to class structure, urbanization, politics, education, public space, economy, redistribution of money, virtually everything. I like this chaos, the need for improvisation, the unexpectedness of ppl and things, and consider it a part of "Slavic spirit", I experienced it in Bulgaria, Ukraine, Balcan states, Russia and so on. This is a messy, exhausted country that has been mothodically demolished for 2 centuries and this transition is the result.

Communism left its mark on mentality here and despite the new generation coming to power, ppl still have no respect for law, the police, public space. After years of oppression, for many democracy and freedom means you can let your dog shit on the pavement or that you cover your macmansion (called the "carringtons" by some) with a blue roof, against local architectural guidline (if there is any). This attitude is present everywhere, everything looks like random patchwork, although in a lighter version than in the Balkans.

I love nature here, 30% of the land is covered by forests and this is awesome. It is relatively healthy, Poland is an exception among heavily industrialized EU countries.

Due to years of occupation Poles are suspicious towards authority, and I like it, this spirit of uprisings, protests, opposing the rulers prevailed and sometimes brings spectacular results. This is great, otherwise this nation has been eradicated by the Russians or Germans.

We have strong cultural tradition, some groundbreaking writers, cinematographers, philosophers, architects, painters, musicians, etc. This helps you feel better.

What I hate the most about Poland is that during its rapid transformation a whole generation (or two) have been left with disastrous income without any help from the government, this creates a huge gap, a contrast between developing countryside and exploding cities. Sure, we succeeded as a whole, Poland is the most dynamic country in all post communist block, but someone pays the price.


Above all I am aware of some facts that must be taken under condition when making judgments about me being Polish. I am privileged, well educated, coming from the largest city, having no financial issues, I admit I am a 1%-er...
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Postby gallits » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:13 am

chowder julius wrote:i would move to europe in a heartbeat except i don't want to live in any of the native english speaking countries and my job depends on being able to understand what people are asking me

i ultimately feel ambivalent about america but the negative opinions are as strong as the positive ones so it's kind of fraught

Dutch isn't that hard and there are tonnes of libraries!
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Postby mascotte » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:53 am

Dutch pronunciation is super difficult
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Postby identikit » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:13 am

But doing the job CJ is doing would require to be more than business fluent in Dutch, so at least 5 years? or more of learning and speaking that language.

Maybe I'm just lazy but every time I think about moving somewhere where I need to learn the language (so every other day) I file it under pipe-dream very fast, I don't think I have a realistic chance to get that good in a new language, now, without a shit load of effort and time.

I just want to kick my former self as pupil into the butt for being so utterly idiotic to NOT pick Spanish. What the hell.
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Postby gallits » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:20 am

No library worker in the Netherlands doesn't speak English fluently so communicating with colleagues wouldn't really be a problem. You'd probably need to have a decent ability at reading dutch and enough conversational dutch to deal with the customer service part of the job. Also I am dumb because I've been living here over 2 years and I'm still little better than basic conversation level. My accent is great tho.
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Postby Kenny » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:23 am

I've really loved my time in the Netherlands, and I've got a pretty good buddy who lives in Utrecht. I'll have to get on Duolingo for Dutch. Should sort myself out in a few months
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Postby gallits » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:24 am

Duolingo is useless ime
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Postby Kenny » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:30 am

I've used it a bit for German and of course I'm not fluent, but I know a lot more German than I did before I started Duolingo and gamifying it is probably the reason why. Of course if I wanted to really speak it I'd need real study
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Postby identikit » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:16 am

I wouldn't call Duolingo useless, I got as far as watching not-super-difficult movies without subs in Danish. But when finally in the situation to actually talk in Danish I was of course shit out of luck. It's a fun way to get started at least.
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Postby barrel eye » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:36 am

Hieronymus Kush wrote:As a cishet black male I fucking loathe this country and plan on leaving as soon as I have the financial means to do so.


I have family in the states, new york city in particular, and have been invited to visit loads but just don't fancy it; almost as unattractive as russia is to me.

Where do you plan on leaving to?
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Postby office plant » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:55 am

gallits wrote:No library worker in the Netherlands doesn't speak English fluently so communicating with colleagues wouldn't really be a problem. You'd probably need to have a decent ability at reading dutch and enough conversational dutch to deal with the customer service part of the job. Also I am dumb because I've been living here over 2 years and I'm still little better than basic conversation level. My accent is great tho.


Wait you're not dutch? god damm it i've been thinking you're dutch for years
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Postby gallits » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:04 am

I'm english
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Postby badhat » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:38 pm

Hey everybody my name popped up a few times in my daily vanity search and I appreciate that folks appreciated what i had to say in here.

If youre interested in learning more, i just wannna bump my suggestion from yesterday that this book is really great and the conversation about it i linked at the bottom is absolutely worth your time and the people in that convo are some of the smartest people in the US right now who are challenging a established ideas not just about transportation but transportation equity- designing systems and policies that actively prioritize identifying and solving historic disparities in mobility for minority populations.

Tamika Butler in particular is one of the most important social justice leaders in the US that you havent heard of unless youre a transpo/land use policy nerd.


gun solve all problems
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Postby joe » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:56 pm

That was a cool post mascotte, thanks
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Postby office plant » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:56 pm

gallits wrote:I'm english


o right! <3
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Postby husbands » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:15 pm

it is v. fucked that israelis living in the US pay no income tax
ROLL COAL
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Postby ill sinner » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:07 pm

poland is one of the coolest countries, despite the scary xenophobic politics you're going through. are you going to unsound festival, mascotte?
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Postby ill sinner » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:09 pm

also the prettiest slavic language imo
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Postby Prof. Horatio Hufnagel » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:09 pm

i got a flight to chicago via warsaw on a polish airline and the language blew me away. i spent half the time looking at all the words because they looked so cool, the other trying to speak to the friendly people sitting next to me that didn't understand a word of english. one of my favourite soundsystems goes over to play raves in poland, looks tight. oh and i ate a bunch of prince polos on the flight. also the polish stores i go to sometimes here have the best crisps/chips

good country imo
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Postby mascotte » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:52 am

No, I don't go to Unsound since I quit drinking. Prince Polos are great though, I eat a few once a week. I completey forgot thw food here. It's really good, even if you dine in a middle of nowhere. It's opposite of what I heard about American food in the interior, my friends travelled east coast-west coast were depressed after having eaten hundred of meals in roadside diners.
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Postby iambic » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:42 am

crash.landing wrote:Not sure what you're asking. The average person here generally is not in a position to evade taxes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_mort ... _deduction
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