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Questions about people/lifestyle of USA
I don't know whom to ask - so here it is!
vibgyor79




msg:304063
 8:11 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Having been fed on a fair dose of American culture thanks to Hollywood, TV shows, Archie Comics and now recently - the internet, I am more confused than ever.

I have a few questions on people/laws/lifestyle of USA. These questions have always been in my mind but I never knew whom to ask!
So, everybody, pick a question you like -

1) Why is everybody so crazy about catalogs? Aren't they a bunch of merchants trying to sell you stuff with the help of glitzy shiny printed matter?

2) Is gambling illegal in the US? Why are online casinos based outside USA [webmasterworld.com] even when we have Las Vegas choking with casinos?

3) What are food stamps? I think I read about them in Archie Comics a long time back. Do you get them in groceries? What do you do with them?

4) I hear that most US roads have a speed limit of 70 mph. Why do people buy exotic 200 mph Ferraris and Porsches?

5) Somebody in this forum mentioned that he pays 50 percent of what he earns to the government. Whaaat? Come again? 50 percent taxes?

I am really serious about this - I need answers, and I have no way of finding out - Google is no help either!

 

Mike_Mackin




msg:304064
 8:18 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

5>>he pays 50 percent of what he earns to the government.

That would mean Federal Income tax
State Income tax in most states
Local taxes
Sales taxes
Gas taxes
Taxes on your phone bills & other utilities
Business taxes
Registration fees of all kinds
Sin taxes
Real Estate Taxes
Capital Gains taxes
Travel related taxes for hotels and transportation.
+ little FEES that just add up........

[edited by: Mike_Mackin at 8:51 pm (utc) on Jan. 30, 2003]

NFFC




msg:304065
 8:20 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

1) Huge country, mail order is big as a result.

2) In some states and areas yes, others no [assuming you mean organised]

3) To help people on low incomes.

4) Same reasons they do everywhere else.

5) 50% seems a bit high for the US, low from here in the UK!

I'm from the UK so it maybe be best to ignore all the above. :)

Girumuu




msg:304066
 8:20 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

1 - Pretty much, they are. But they're so shiny...

2 - Not really sure. I think it's Nevada state law, and Native American casinos are allowed because they'res different laws or something towards that issue. I honestly don't know.

3 - Food stamps are for the poor, so they can eat, but can't purchase alchohol or other such non-essential stuff in them.

4 - Most of the people who purchase these vehicles are rich bastagies that don't deserve it, think "If I have a Ferrari/Porsche/Hummer etc, people will think better of me/think I'm cool/etc", when it reality it's overcompensation for thier lack of a genuine personality aside from greed, or the desire to seem bigger than the next guy because they've (most likely) gotten the money through means that make me tremble with rage, such as exploiting people for thier own personal gain without a care for anyone else but thier genitals and wads of cash.
/personal rant

5 - Hmm?

john316




msg:304067
 8:25 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>speed limit of 70 mph.

Thats not a literal limit, most folks consider it a recommendation.

Key_Master




msg:304068
 8:25 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

This sounds fun. I'll answer each one.

1. I'm only interested in tech catalogs. That way I can look at all the cool gizmos and parts and dream about the day I reinvent the wheel.

2. Some places it's legal. Personally, I think it should be illegal anywhere you go in the states.

3. It's welfare. It's a subsidy provided to low income families by the government.

4. Who obeys speed limits? I've driven my IROC to St. Augustine from Jacksonville FL going 165 mph.

5. You more you make, the more you pay to the government. Somebody has to pay for those food stamps. Anyhow, I figure most Americans pay 15-30 percent of their wages in taxes.

vibgyor79




msg:304069
 8:36 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

This sounds fun. I'll answer each one.

Warning: I have more questions ;)

Time to hit the bed. It is 2:00 AM here. Will check back tomorrow.

lawman




msg:304070
 8:37 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

it's overcompensation for thier lack of a genuine personality aside from greed, or the desire to seem bigger than the next guy because they've (most likely) gotten the money through means that make me tremble with rage, such as exploiting people for thier own personal gain without a care for anyone else but thier genitals and wads of cash

mea culpa

Both of my cars have speed limiters and won't go over 155. ;)

lawman

mivox




msg:304071
 8:48 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't think my Saab would hit 100 without screaming piteously at me... but 70 is too fast for most of the road I live on, so it's OK.

Syren_Song




msg:304072
 8:50 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Always like to help folks from other countries understand this one -- even though sometimes those of us who live here don't understand everything ourselves. ;)

1. I like to look at the pictures and wonder why anyone would spend their money on such stupid things sometimes. Also, there are some things you can only purchase through catalogs when you're living in certain parts of the country. This is especially true of those folks who still don't own computers or don't have internet access.

2. Gambling is legal only in certain prts of the country, depending on the local laws (e.g,. Atlantic City, NJ; the State of Nevada; Biloxy (I think), MI; and some Indian reservations). It's also legal once you get a certain distance from land, hence riverboat gambling is legal on the Mississippi.

3. Food stamps are given to people by the government when they qualify (don't make enough money to support and feed their families). They're specifically for food. Nothing else - not candy or cigarettes, not even toilet paper.

4. There are a few areas of this country where the speed limits aren't always strictly enforced (like the Dakotas and some desert areas). And sometimes, folks just like to spend their money on foolish things 'cause they don't know what else to do with it and 'cause they think it's cool to show off that they've got enough money to buy such luxury items.

5. Folks who are paying that much in income tax are very rich and probably don't have very good lawyers and/or accountants.

mivox




msg:304073
 8:52 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

5. Folks who are paying that much in income tax are very rich and probably don't have very good lawyers and/or accountants.

heehee... That's what I was thinking. If someone is paying 50% in taxes, the 50% they have left over is probably more than I make in a year before taxes. hehehe.

Mike_Mackin




msg:304074
 8:53 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Why do people buy exotic 200 mph Ferraris and Porsches?

They are chick magnets
<--------------

mivox




msg:304075
 8:56 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

chick magnets

I could never understand why someone would want poultry anywhere near the uphoulstery in a car that expensive... but to each their own. Maybe they use Armor All on the leather or something.

martinibuster




msg:304076
 8:57 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

1) Why is everybody so crazy about catalogs? Aren't they a bunch of merchants trying to sell you stuff?

The merchants don't sell stuff. They sell an image of what the consumer aspires to be. They also cultivate that aspiration.

[edited by: martinibuster at 8:58 pm (utc) on Jan. 30, 2003]

Shakil




msg:304077
 8:58 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

4 - Most of the people who purchase these vehicles are rich bastagies that don't deserve it, think "If I have a Ferrari/Porsche/Hummer etc, people will think better of me/think I'm cool/etc", when it reality it's overcompensation for thier lack of a genuine personality aside from greed, or the desire to seem bigger than the next guy because they've (most likely) gotten the money through means that make me tremble with rage, such as exploiting people for thier own personal gain without a care for anyone else but thier genitals and wads of cash.
================================================

easy tiger, some people love automobiles.

in answer to the question, my opinion is that some of us just LOVE cars. speed and driving.

a porsche etc is not just quick at 200, its even quicker from 0-60 :)

Shak

[edited by: lawman at 9:00 pm (utc) on Jan. 30, 2003]
[edit reason] Sidescroll [/edit]

Rumbas




msg:304078
 9:00 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

A bit OT I know, but taxes? Danish car tax is 180% [homeofsbc.com]! Personal income tax is only around 60-70%.

Not bad, eh? Maybe one should move over to the other side? ;)

Girumuu




msg:304079
 9:05 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

That's why I did include the words 'most' and 'most likely' in what I said. I know not everyone is like that. Just most of the people I've seen.

mayor




msg:304080
 9:06 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

One scenario for the self-employed:

Approx 15% self-employment tax
Approx 30% federal income tax (marginal rate on top of spouse's earnings)
Approx 3% state and local income tax

There's 48%

OntheEdge




msg:304081
 9:07 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Northern neighbor viewpoint:
1. catalouges: stores are too crowded,because sales people are too pushy,and a plain brown wrapper hides a lot
2. Casinos its not about legality, its about regulations.
3. Food stamps; those aren't edible?
4. Fast cars: If you can afford those cars...you can afford your own highway.
5. Thats nothing, compared to us canucks.

georgeek




msg:304082
 9:10 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

a porsche etc is not just quick at 200, its even quicker from 0-60

I agree with that. I see a lot of them in the rear view of the TVR :)

mivox




msg:304083
 9:11 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

5. Thats nothing, compared to us canucks.

Yeah, but you don't get hit with a hospital bill as big as your whole year's income when your kid needs to go to the intensive care unit for a sudden respiratory infection, either. ;)

gopi




msg:304084
 9:40 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

1, Even after 3 years in US i dont understand why people want to buy from a catlog...its justifiable for some exotic stuff you cannot get in your city...but for others?

2, Gambling is only legal in some parts of USA like LV , atlantic city and some indian reservations.

3, Food Stamps are subsidy given by the government to poor people.

4, Cars = status symbol, chick magnet , cool factor etc etc... the more the cost/speed the more the respect you THINK you gain :) I think its universal not a US specific thing.

5, Employed american pays a total tax from 15% to 33%. If you are self employed you pay like around 45% ( federal + state + self employment tax )...There is a difference in taxes between employed and self employed because in the former case the employer will pay half of the social security tax , in the latter case you have to pay full in the name of self employment tax ....

But i think tax in US is less than some "welfare-state" countries like denmark or canada...i heard in some scandinavian countries the maximum tax can reach 75% ...not sure though :) .

I miss india a lot when i pay my dues to Uncle Sam :)
. Back in india i complained how much tax i am paying :) when i came out of india i realised how little or nothing indians pay in tax :)

[edited by: gopi at 10:06 pm (utc) on Jan. 30, 2003]

OntheEdge




msg:304085
 9:45 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

welfare state? canada? i'm offended

mivox




msg:304086
 9:58 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Heheheh... I could get offended over people suggesting US laws might be a bit on the silly side at times, but I chose not to. ;)

But it's probably time to retire this thread from the Active List anyhow... it's getting quite long, and it really isn't very "internet related" is it? hehe.

Gibble




msg:304087
 10:00 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Like Mike_Mackin said in the first post, taxes reach 50% with ease. You have to remember you pay more than just what they take off your paycheck.

And in Canada we have it worse.
~35% Income tax right off the top
+14% on virtually anything we purchase.
+?% when tax time comes around and you realize if you make enough to live, you are going to be paying more taxes...ugh...that reminds me...it's tax time again :(

gopi




msg:304088
 10:05 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> welfare state? canada? i'm offended

thats true ... right?

mivox




msg:304089
 10:19 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> welfare state? canada? i'm offended
thats true ... right?

"Welfare State" is kind of a nasty term, which a lot of people take offense at. If all you mean is a country that provides health care coverage to its citizens, then yes, I guess it would apply to Canada... it would also apply to much of Western Europe.

But it's not a term that's used 'nicely' in most cases... usually thrown around by people lobbying against national health coverage here in the US, along with terms like "Socialist State" and other pejoratives, none of which are really accurate.

As for taxes adding up, if I counted my health insurance premiums into my total tax payments, I'd be paying a comparable percent to the Canadians, but my insurance doesn't offer coverage as comprehensive as theirs... so who's getting the better deal?

And it's not what the thread was about in the first place... hint, hint. ;)

gopi




msg:304090
 11:13 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>> Welfare State" is kind of a nasty term, which a lot of people take offense at

Sorry , I didnt know that , i used it in a positive sense :)

mivox




msg:304091
 11:19 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

No problem... I figured there might be a cultural difference between how it was meant and how it was taken. :)

OntheEdge




msg:304092
 11:57 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

sorry gopi, is was being sarcastic.
Well those of you who envy the "universal health care" keep in mind that true its free, but that doesn't do you any good when the hospitals all close down :-(

mivox...don't forget the tax on taxes when we gas up and commit those sins (alchohol & tobacco)
As far as the thread being off topic... it look pretty much like a wide open request for copmments to me ;-)

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