An Open Letter to German Taxpayers

(forgive me, for this post is only tangentially travel-related)

on the way to the gun range tonight (my second time after going a couple weekends ago) i heard a story on PRI’s The World about unemployed Spaniards going to Germany in an effort to find work. with all this talk of Germany’s role in the European debt crisis, and remembering the Solidarity Tax (solidaritätszuschlag) where Germans have an extra tax meant (ostensibly) for improving the infrastructure in former East German states, i just wanted to give a herzlichen dank to the German taxpayer. no, really — a sincere thank you from the bottom of my heart.

your perhaps-begrudging-but-nonetheless-steadfast handing over of your money to your government (not saying this is a good or bad thing, just factually-speaking) means not just economic bailouts for countries you vacation in and better roads and train stations for your ex-communist brethren, but perhaps most importantly and selfishly, allowing me to stay in your country for two years earning a graduate degree tuition-free that i brain-drained right out of you.

i honestly feel somewhat guilty about this. but you know, i’m just going to take what you gave me and thank you for it — two of the best years of my life. i suppose i did pay enough airport taxes and surcharges while traveling during those two years, though, to make up for some of it?

The usual postcard picture of Tübingen

My initial visa to study in Germany

1,899% Tax

Base Fare: Rs. 1750
Taxes and Fees: Rs. 2451
Total: Rs. 4201

i remember when i lived in germany i’d avail myself (ha, using some indian english i learned while booking these tickets for a friend) of €0,01 fares, which would have €18,99 in taxes/fees/surcharges/extortion. so far that takes the cake. 1,899% tax. not like i’m complaining. thanks to germanwings and TUIfly (née HLX), i saw lots of europe on the cheap.