Monday, March 21, 2011

Becoming like Europe... socialism

Lets face it. 
Most Americans today have an image in their minds of what Europe/Europeans is(are) like. 
Equality. Beauty. Education. Idealistic. History. Romance.
Really - a lot of Americans think that Europe is better than America in many regards. 


Is it because we go there on vacation? Because movies depict it as a wonderful place? Don't get me wrong. It is a great place! But yet there is a reason that America has been number one in the world.
That reason is:
America was a country founded on Christian values and the freedom to worship God.
And I believe that God has blessed America because of that. 
The second reason that America is so great is because of its democracy.
In America, we have the freedom to buy what we want to buy, to say what we want to say, and do what we want to do.
We vote into office people who share our values (hopefully!)
We pick the doctor who we think is the best. And we go there when we need to! We can call our doctor any time of night or day with questions we have.
The government has minimal say over the products that go onto the market. If you want to buy a breakfast cereal that has more sugar than a bowl of cereal, you can!
Taxes are relatively low (compared to other countries). You can choose where you live and if you want to pay fewer taxes, you can move to a city with a lower tax rate. 
The role of the government is (or should be) to protect us.

Here's some things about Europe (well, namely England) that you may not know.
There are many, many regulations here. 
Sales tax is high - VAT (that everyone pays, regardless of where you live) is 20%. This makes shopping feel really expensive (okay, it doesn't just feel that way. It is). For example, Rimmel Nail Polish. At Boots, it is sold for £4.59 which is a little over $7. At Walgreens, you could buy the same bottle for $3.99 which is £2.50. For you men out there, ground beef at Vons costs $2.99 for a pound (this week - on sale!) and here, in the UK you can buy a little over a pound (500 grams - about 1.1 pounds) for the price of £4 normally, but on sale £3.33 (buy 3 for £10). That's about double the price.
The government tells you what you have to recycle. Some people can't even throw away any food particles (scraps of food, egg shells, bones, etc.). They have to buy a special trash can with "earth-friendly" bags for it and put all their food "junk" in it for recycling once a week.
Police left a note on our front door that we should close our windows so that no one would break into our house.
It is difficult to buy medicine. The chemist (pharmacist) limits how much you can buy. When going into the store, you can only buy one or two boxes at each time. They will actually tell you they can't sell it to you. When I went to buy some CalPol (tylenol) for Georgia, the chemist asked how old she was. This is when she was an infant, and I lied about her age in order to buy it. We didn't use it until she reached the recommended age, but it is amazing that there is such control over medicines.
In the US, they recommend that breastfed infants get Vitamin D. I asked the doctor here and he said it wasn't necessary. Not only do they believe its not necessary, they don't even sell it. There are no vitamins that you can buy in the stores for infants.
You need to pay for "free" TV. There is a yearly licensing fee (£145 or $235) per year.
Health care is government-owned/regulated.  Because of its inefficiencies, it can take a while to receive care. For example, one of my friends needed a mandatory surgery and has had to wait 5-6 months to receive it.
Inflation was set at 5% this past year. 

There is probably more... but this is just a start. A little insight into some of the differences that are based primarily on the differences in government.


Andrea, said...

Yeah I loved visiting London, but I didn't have to deal with daily living expenses there. I was frustrated that we did laundry at a laundry mat and it took FOREVER and cost a lot just to do one load. I know you guys will get used to it all and learn the way to deal with it but I'm sure you will be glad when you can go to the store and buy a cart load of cold medicine if you want and load up on chicken breast for under $2 a pound. Thanks for the post to let people know we need to retain what we have in the US and appreciate our freedoms and what capitalism allows us to have.

Andrea, said...

Also, it may make you feel better to know that not all docs recommend Vitamin D for breastfed babies. I just make sure the kids get some sunlight regularly and they've both been fine without supplements. :)

Boo, Jax and Bo said...

This post is a bit ridiculous. You can buy infant vitamins, both multi and vitamin D in the UK. The grocery stores offer more selection and typically similar or better prices on MANY items than you'd find in the US, they just don't carry certain US brands. The pharmacist was trying to HELP you find the correct medication for your child, not prevent you from buying it - many pharmacists in the US would do the same thing. I can't even remember all the other things you listed but there were a lot of other misconceptions about the UK in there. I've lived in both countries and had children in both, its not really that different!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Hi. Pineapple from the IN board...ignore the last few anon posts - they are being very mean about this. While you do have a few misconceptions on here, we've all been there at times. As I said on the board, it's a matter of asking questions and looking for the positives. I'd delete these posts above (you can delete mine too so it makes sense) and come and meet up with us at the next IN meetup - we're really a nice group!!