The welfare state is enslaving European workers

The redistributive state in Europe is creating a big wedge between gross and net incomes. It's unpleasant for taxpayers and highlights the enormous challenge facing policymakers in ageing societies.

For the Germans, July 8 was a good day. Not just because it also happened to be your columnist’s birthday or because of Germany’s emphatic 7-1 win over Brazil in the World Cup, but because this year, it also marked Germany’s Tax Freedom Day. Until then, theoretically all that the average German earned in income over the year was taxed away by government. Now Germans can actually start earning money for themselves for the rest of the year.

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