In the first few months of life in the Netherlands, what made me most hated and sleepy was a figure: 52% – the proportion of personal income tax that the Dutch must pay. This means that I have to write an article there and more than half of the total income from a university must be handed over to the Dutch government. As an American, nothing beats my nerves more than this 52% tax rate!
As the days passed, my anger was gradually “settled” by what happened three times. One day, there are two “mysterious” money registered in my account, each about $410. The remarks column reads: “Accommodation and textbook fees”. The payment unit is the Social Welfare Bureau and the Social Insurance Bank.
After that, every four months, the social insurance bank “indiscriminately” credited my account with $665, which is labeled “Child welfare subsidy”. Later I learned that the Dutch government provides child allowances to help parents solve their child support costs. Any parent living in the Netherlands can enjoy a quarterly subsidy provided by the government until the child is 18 years old.
In May of that year, an unexpected sum of $4,265 was credited to my account, which was a travel expense. In the Netherlands, every May, almost everyone’s bank account has such a holiday. Even the unemployed are no exception. The reason is: If you don’t get a vacation, you will become depressed, depressed, and so weak, can you find a job in this state of mind?
Compassion for poverty is the foundation for the establishment of the Dutch social welfare system. Although the Netherlands has a market economy, they have a strong sense of equality. The idea of getting better medical care with more money is definitely unacceptable to the Dutch. The newly revised Dutch medical welfare programme is still focusing on expanding the scope of basic medical care. The longer I stay in the Netherlands, the less I feel that life is separated from the entire welfare system. In the Netherlands, people believe not the government, not the individual, but the society. A Dutch teacher once said to me: “We studied the US medical insurance system and found that so many people do not have medical insurance! I can’t believe that such a developed country will choose such a system.”
The biggest problem with American social welfare is that if you are unemployed, you will have no income. On the contrary, the social welfare of the Netherlands is quite safe. The United States may be a free country, but the Dutch are the most free and free people.