Ken Larsen's website - Comparison of politics in Germany to the U.S.


On August 14, 2017 I had dinner with a former IBM colleague, Erich Guenter, of Germany.  He was visiting North Carolina for a business trip.  It was great to spend some time with him.  I hadn't seen in in about ten years.  I had retired from IBM in 2002.


I asked Erich about how Germany handles some political issues.  Here's what he had to say:


Germany has a progressive taxation system.  Wealthy people are taxed at a high percentage rate than low income people.  [In the U.S. Republicans are trying to convert our taxation system to flat rate ... meaning that they want everyone to be taxed at the same percentage rate.  This benefits the wealthy ... which I argue is the only segment of our population that Republicans care about.]


In Germany, light rail lines began being built in the 1970s.  In those days there were many at-grade crossings.  Now they don't build at-grade crossings.  Everything is "grade separation".  When they refurbish any of the old at-grade crossings, they strive to convert them to grade separation.  This is because of safety and traffic issues.  At-grade crossing are hazardous and obstruct car traffic.  [more info]


Question about light rail stations in Germany:  How much car parking is there per station?  Is it free?  If not, what is the cost?  [In the plan for the Durham-Orange County light rail line (in North Carolina) , only half of the stations will have parking, and it must be paid for by the riders.] 


Teachers in Germany are paid well.  Because of that, they don't have the affordable housing issue that the U.S. has.  [In Chapel Hill teachers and police can't afford to live in Chapel Hill because housing costs are too high.]


Germany doesn't allow development on flood plains.  I need to get Erich to provide the details.  On August 25, 2017 Houston, Texas was hit by Hurricane Harvey and caused massive flooding.  I assert that most of that flooding was caused by over-development.  [details]


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