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Progressive taxation is 'soft Marxism'

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Primrose Hill
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Postby Primrose Hill » Thu, 07 Aug 2014 4:20 pm

In a rather simplified version, the properties are our main source of pension. I am guessing that the husband will work for another 10years; clock starts now. In 10years time, daughter should have finished school and university.
I would like to work part-time 3/4day week. We aren't a tweedle dum tweedle dee couple and do not know how to either; that maybe the problem. We are townies and enjoy the townie activities. The husband cannot even change a light bulb and the idea of a good life is akin to watching Felicity Kendall.
I am still working in part as I am too cheap and mean to pay for private medical insurance. Its like $9k -$15k here pa for the entire family.
All these new fangle Osborne taxes are playing a havoc on my planning. :mad: :mad:

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Postby aster » Thu, 07 Aug 2014 6:47 pm

JR8 wrote:
aster wrote:Can't afford to pay honest, liveable wages, yet miraculously making billions in profits each year isn't a problem, then shut down and p*** off.


And that's precisely why, when you visit a chemist/pharmacy/apothecary in Germany a pack of 10 Aspirin will cost you maybe euro 6 (S$10).

Visit one in the US, and a bottle of 250 might cost you US$5 (S$6).


Companies have different pricing policies so chances are the manufacturer is simply overcharging on the European market. If you went to Romania for instance you will probably end paying way more for a pack of Bayer aspirin than you would in the US, and I bet wages there are well below US standards.

Same with Microsoft charging double for software in countries with less than 1/2 the average income of the US.

Need I mention cars and corporate pricing policies on the US market? :)

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 07 Aug 2014 7:35 pm

aster wrote:Same with Microsoft charging double for software in countries with less than 1/2 the average income of the US.
Need I mention cars and corporate pricing policies on the US market? :)


Some countries are protectionist. Germany is re: it's supermarkets (Walmart got squeezed/rubbed out). In Germany only chemists/apothecaries can sell medicine. The equivalent there of Boots/Superdrug, 'high-street chemists', only sell 'shampoo and toothbrushes', oh and curiously... cigarettes, potted plants, flower-pots, wheel-barrows and dildos ['Das Anal Intruder'], vibrators, love-eggs and bondage costumes - but nothing medicinal, that would be illegal (they can however sell 'Homeopathic medicine' lol, which probably confirms all your doubts about the latter).

Singapore did the same to Carrefour here. Very nearly and temporarily did the same to M+S too.

It's the same in large parts of Scandinavia, being a 'chemist shop' is like a heavily protected franchise. Hence why my visiting relatives fill their bags to the gunnels with even the basics like indigestion pills, asparin, antihistamines, cold/flu relief medicine... basically any such product is 90%+ cheaper in the UK than Scandinavia. There is negative incentive there for the state licensed monopoly to have 'generics', so they don't.


p.s. Meanwhile the UK welcome in German discount chains like Aldi and Lidl. I like those shops! But as both a Tesco and Sainsbury shareholder I don't like what their competition is doing to my direct investments right now. But that's life. If Aldi/Lidl listed on the LSE, I'd consider buying a slice.

Imagine the SG government sanctioning LIDL opening a supermarket here. It would be bedlam, 30c beer and $9 Canadian lobsters!!! :) But (exhale), it's ok, they'd never let it happen...

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Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 08 Aug 2014 12:46 am

JR8 wrote:Imagine the SG government sanctioning LIDL opening a supermarket here. It would be bedlam, 30c beer and $9 Canadian lobsters!!! :) But (exhale), it's ok, they'd never let it happen...


And with good reason. Just like Walmart has killed thousands of small town businesses in the USA, the same would happen in Singapore... many mom and pop stores would go out of business.

Sure, they might go to work for the big box store but there is an essential difference. When there is a downturn, the mom and pop shops scale down and do what they need to survive. But, the big box store merely lays off people, giving consideration only to the bottom line, and none whatsoever to those who no longer have an income on which to live.

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Postby Primrose Hill » Fri, 08 Aug 2014 9:43 am

I received this email yesterday from one of the esteemed IFA

According to research from Barclays retirees need £17,500 a year to secure a relatively modest but comfortable retirement.
A poll of 2,000 employees paying to a DC pension found many people had modest expectations in retirement. Behavioural finance experts discovered that a good outcome was described by respondents as an absence of negatives, such as not having to worry about making ends meet and not experiencing a painful drop in living standards.
The top three must haves for a desirable lifestyle in later life, in addition to essential living costs, are being able to pay off money owed, taking an annual two-week holiday abroad and being able to run a car.
Based on these modest ambitions Barclays determined the Living Pension as £17,500 a year.

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Postby Primrose Hill » Fri, 08 Aug 2014 9:56 am

I remembered years ago, aspirin was expensive in UK, pretty much the days prior to supermarket own brands concept. Now 11p get you a box of 16. Tesco own brand Vit C etc is so much cheaper.
Look at Primark in terms of fashion and what it has done to the market.

I agree with Strong Eagle. Whilst it is nice to be able to be able to buy lobster for $9, when times are tough, the redundancies will pile up. The influx of these huge supermarkets will mean the death of the mom & pop shops. Something that UK are losing and have lost in droves. Mom and Pop shops are great, nothing like the local neighbourhood shops and stalls.
It is a huge dillemma - whilst we crave for cheaper and cheaper products, this will mean that these concession shops or huge supermarkets will descend upon us in a matter of time. Then we will bemoan the death of the local shops.

I was back in NW London for a few days recently. Jamie's pukka canary yellow houses, are now littered with tons of posh nosh cafes. The local mom & pop diy shop (yes, she was expensive, but such a charming lady nonetheless) closed up shop after 30years, so has the local art gallery, local cafe (bacon butty place) and local organic shop. Now there's a Cowshed and only a matter of time before Starbucks arrives, yet, when I lived there, all of us petitioned against a highstreet shop.

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 08 Aug 2014 11:15 am

Strong Eagle wrote:
JR8 wrote:Imagine the SG government sanctioning LIDL opening a supermarket here. It would be bedlam, 30c beer and $9 Canadian lobsters!!! :) But (exhale), it's ok, they'd never let it happen...


And with good reason.


You managed to veer right around the elephant in the room, to get up on your political soap-box there :)

Supermarkets here are owned/franchised by the state. There is little or no 'pricing pressure', i.e. competition. You're suggesting that's a good thing, but in whose interests is it? It's akin to arguing that evolution is somehow morally wrong.

Walmart got expelled from Germany due to the same views you're espousing. 'We can't have these rabid capitalists (dirty Americans, spit spit!!) coming in and under-cutting the good Germans who run the corner-shop apothecary. Hell nein!, far better we all pay euro$1 per Asparin! Zis ist ein sozial duty!'.

One could argue that it is all rather like trying to hold back the tide, like perpetually breeding pandas in the face of them being a 'failed species'. There are places where enforced but happy-mediums exist.

Marylebone High Street London. Owned by one family. They dictated the policy of who they will let to. As a result it's chain-free, but also $$$ and pretty high-end. Not too many poor people hanging out in that neighbourhood!

They did or tried to do similar with Kensington Church Street...

Many regional small towns in the UK, they allow new 'out-of-town supermarkets' but it is zoned with the aim that they will co-exist with in-town shops, rather than compete to the death. => Freedom of choice.

I think the concept of a city having a derelict/dangerous (killed-off) downtown, and a wealthier peripheral suburbia is perhaps a uniquely American thing. What's the phenomena called... something like donutization! What to blame, Henry Ford or crack cocaine?

p.s. I remember when there was one telecom company in the UK. You had to rent your handset from the company, and call charges were outrageous. Then the government floated/IPOd it... bam! calling the US went from say £1/min to 1p/min. Bad? The same was done with all utilities, gas, elec, water. Everyone benefited from the resulting competition. Competition is often good for a system; consider 'survival of the fittest' and a coral ecosystem.

vs - Look who owns all the utils and supermarkets here ... ...

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Postby Primrose Hill » Fri, 08 Aug 2014 2:42 pm

Marylebone High St, is full of highstreet shops the last time I looked. Yes, it is rather upmarket highstreet but highstreet nonetheless.
Yes, UK managed to privatised the gas, water, electric etc etc. In this instance has competition made it cheaper for the consumers?
When I was a student in UK, whatever that was expensive, heating was always affordable.
When I left London in 2012, my monthly electric and gas bill was a whopping GBP670 per month.
I was talking about Primrose Hill - the art gallery is gone, the diy shop, wholefood shop, vintage shop. Instead there is a Cowshed Spa & cafe, Sweet Thing, etc

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 08 Aug 2014 7:09 pm

'PH vs Wikipedia' :) [edited to relevance/brevity]
----------------------
Marylebone High Street is a shopping street in London, running sub-parallel to Baker Street... Given its secluded location, the street has been described as "the hidden wonder of the West End" and it was voted best street in London by listeners of BBC Radio 4, winning praise for its being "a haven in the middle of the frantic city".

History
...
The majority of the buildings in the street today date from 1900, since which point the street has been consistently revitalised by the main local landlord, Howard de Walden Estates, which has been credited with turning a "once-shabby area of central London" into an elegant street which carefully manages its "mix of boutiques and small retailers" and is frequented by the likes of Madonna, Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett.[4] property prices in the area have soared in recent years.[5] There is only one Estate Agents on the high street, they have been operating since 1984.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marylebone_High_Street
----------------------------------

Maybe it's just that you haven't visited recently?

I think the matter of your utility bills has arisen before. I absolutely cannot imagine what you'd be doing to get bills so high :???: Your elec/gas £670pcm (about S$1350) ... mine, for an 850ft flat, were below 10% of that.

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Postby aster » Fri, 08 Aug 2014 10:19 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:And with good reason. Just like Walmart has killed thousands of small town businesses in the USA, the same would happen in Singapore... many mom and pop stores would go out of business.


Amazon and internet shopping in general are doing that sort of damage to the high street. Back in the day it was evident that places like HMV were in trouble, but Amazon has now moved beyond just dealing in movies & books.

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Postby Primrose Hill » Fri, 08 Aug 2014 11:39 pm

Hahaha JR8, I was at Côte in July for brunch and the gastro pub on the corner opposite Ash in July. It doesn't matter who is right or wrong, it had an upmarket Waitrose, Paul smith, Emma Bridgewater, White Co, Whistles, my favourite shoes shop- French Sole, tucked in the corner, Cordon Bleu school around there too and the famous haberdashery.
What I am trying to say, it is still has all the Tescos, Rymans, at mobiles, Carphonewarehousr, etc.. Like Primrose Hill it used to be unique but now littered with samey shops. Where is the local butcher? Waitrose? Where is the local fishmonger? Fish works?
One of my best friend lived on a side road off Marylebone High St, Selfridges was her local supermarket. There used to be her favourite local Italian where Strada is now. The waiter had a glass eye but utterly charming man.

We lived in a town house, JR8. Maybe, you haven't lived there continuously and constantly to feel the affects of the country. However there were 4 of us, mom lived with us.


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