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tigerjez
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America v. Europe on diversity... (for smug)

this has come up a couple of times now, so... i am snatching this comment by you:

quote:
I havne't perceived American culture as a whole as standing for diversity; there are elements in it of segregation that don't occur in the UK, for example.


And giving it it's own thread.

i think i have seen you claim that Europe is more diverse than America and that the UK is either more diverse or more accepting of different cultures. You can correct me if I have misrepresented the above as your views, but if i haven't, then what is your criteria for saying this & can you give some examples?

IMHO, Europe itself is *much* less tolerant of diversity. Europe is an insular group of nations whose national identity began what? at least 1000 years ago? they have spent the better part of that time in a state of war with each other over nationalistic/ethnic hatred-- a hatred which really hasn't gone away. Individually, those countries have internal racial/ethnic tensions still present. Now, however, they are facing large-scale assimilation and resulting national identity crises essentially for the first time.

America, by reverse, was founded as a melting pot. We are a nation of immigrants. that has been an integral part of our culture and national identity from the very beginning. We have had two major waves of immigration since being founded by europeans. those included irish/italian in the 1800s & third world "brown people" in the 1900s. Our open door policy towards immigrants has resulted in a larger volume of immigrants from all over the world. immigration in europe, by reverse has mainly been either from the home countries' colonies (india for britain, morocco for france) or as an importation of cheap labor-- a thing which has enforced class divisions in Europe. I.e., From what I have seen in Europe, though, the wholesale "ghetthoization" of immigrants still exists, and there is much less mixing between the races/ethnicities. On the other hand, immigrants have been able to get rich in America & certainly for the last 50 years our law/culture has openly glorified a blindness to race/religion/ethnicity or measures to acheive such. As a side note, Asians actually enjoy the highest standard of living here as a class & thus are labelled "white" for affirmative action purposes.

The larger volume of immigrants in America has made assimilation a question from the beginning, but it has also made it easier to assimilate into American society. i.e., a Vietnamese, Indian, Arab, Italian, Irish, Mexican, Thai "American" in a *cultural* sense much easier than such could become british, french, or german. In fairness, some groups have had an easier time than others because when you get down to it, Irish, Italians & even Mexicans have some fairly similar cultural traits such as Christianity.

It's not in man's nature to get along, but what intolerance we have has certainly been as equally strong (if not stronger) in europe. And, overall, i'd say America has much more diversity within her than our neighbors across the lake.

-- tj

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Old Post 01-02-2004 09:19 PM
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Smug Git
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I never claimed that Europe was more diverse than America, actually. I was merely saying that I didn't see America as a model for diversity (or a positive exemplar, at least) because, for example, there appears to be more segregation in the US (I am in the US as I type, talked about it to paint and some other Americans while I have been here, actually) than there is in the UK. I didn't say anything about Europe as a whole; I wouldn't have done, either.

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Old Post 01-02-2004 09:21 PM
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Smug Git
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The concerns about 'identity crisis', which I have seen raised in this forum by Americans with regards to the need to restrict immigration into the US, are not a particularly big issue in the UK, although there definitely is a bandwagon rolling (particularly driven by the lunatic elements of the tabloid press) on this and some people are concerned. The Blair government has attempted to shift concern onto the effects 'economic immigration' from outside the EU, but no major political party is currently running on ideas of 'national identity' being threatened. In fact, that is pretty much a discredited idea politically, although there are clearly some who still hold to it.

There is no 'identity crisis' in my opinion, not in the UK at least (I don't know enough about other European nations to comment on it). Where it is mentioned it is normally cheap politicking, alarmism aimed at securing support from the xenophobic and ignorant.

As for the rest of Europe, it varies from country to country, I would say, if I had to guess (but it's a guess; it isn't something I know a great deal about). We hear that some regions have some problems, and we don't hear about other regions much at all in this regard.

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Old Post 01-02-2004 09:28 PM
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tigerjez
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quote:
Originally posted by Smug Git
[B]I was merely saying that I didn't see America as a model for diversity (or a positive exemplar, at least) because, for example, there appears to be more segregation in the US (I am in the US as I type, talked about it to paint and some other Americans while I have been here, actually) than there is in the UK.


Such as?

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Old Post 01-02-2004 09:41 PM
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Smug Git
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Re: America v. Europe on diversity... (for smug)

quote:
Originally posted by tigerjez
I.e., From what I have seen in Europe, though, the wholesale "ghetthoization" of immigrants still exists, and there is much less mixing between the races/ethnicities.


I live in one of the British 'ghettos' and as an American you'd probably laugh to hear it called that. It is still pretty mixed, compared to some of the US ghettos (for example, it is only about 50% black).

I agree with you that the US of old (1870 to 1950, say) was the place to immigrate to and succeed or fall on your own merits, although at the same time there was racism of a degree not seen in the UK, for instance (and no surprise there, the UK was pretty much 100% white; the jewish and irish in England were not well loved, but they weren't living in the same sort of situation as Southern blacks, although that is a comment on diversity rather than immigration, as those blacks were not immigrants, but rather they were Americans). I don't think that the modern US is, nor that the record with regard to racial diversity is a proud one (nor is it the worst one around). What we need are people who have spent time in the US and the UK (for it is the UK that I am really talking about, from the European side). I have spent a little time here (4 or 5 months total, I guess); weedy has been here over a year, and goatboy some time longer, so they might have some actual experience to input to this. Of the Americans, I believe that Inky lived in the UK for a while, Sensirific was in Glasgow for a few months, Cornelius is actually an American by birth but lived in England and now Spain (don't know how long he has lived in the US for, if at all). Any input that those people could add, over mine, which is as I've said based on month-long visits to the US rather than regular residence, and living in one of the few 'ghetto' areas in London, would be helpful. Perhaps I am just more used to such resistance to diversity as there is in the UK, and don't see it.

Additionally, I am sure that the acceptance of diversity varies somewhat even over Great Britian (certainly it does in Northern Ireland, although that isn't part of Great Britain) and presumably moreso in the US (NYC really is a melting pot, as far as I can tell, as diverse a place as you'll find anywhere in the world).

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Old Post 01-02-2004 09:41 PM
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Smug Git
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quote:
Originally posted by tigerjez
Such as?


Areas that are nearly all black, or nearly all white, being the most obvious example. The very existance of ghettos is the sort of segregation that I am thinking of.

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Old Post 01-02-2004 09:45 PM
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philjit
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Re: America v. Europe on diversity... (for smug)

If you ever visit London tj I strongly suggest a visit to the East End.

On the specifc of the US, I was told, by a Texan acquaintance of mine, that the argument of "America the melting pot" was a fallacy. He essentially said that if you take out the East Coast and the West Coast the larger part that you are left with is anything but a melting pot.

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Old Post 01-02-2004 09:50 PM
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philjit
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quote:
Originally posted by Smug Git
Areas that are nearly all black, or nearly all white, being the most obvious example.


How big is an "area"? The UK has those kind of things too.

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Old Post 01-02-2004 09:52 PM
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Smug Git
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The densest black areas within the UK are contained in Lambeth and Brent, I believe (I live in the area of Brent that has the largest concentration of black people). There isn't even a street where I am that is all black or close to it, really, and the same goes for Brixton (at least, none of the streets that my friends lived on, which were pretty scummy, or that we went through; I havne't been the length and breadth of Brixton, nor have I been in that gross housing estate).

Something that is interesting about Harlesden is that the daytime population is much more heavily weighted towards blacks than the resident population; I guess that this is primarily because of the profusion of stores selling Afro-Caribbean foods, and so on (three different shops to get your nails garishly painted! Woo hoo!).

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Old Post 01-02-2004 09:57 PM
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The same thing about daytime population (particuarly that you see walking on the streets) is true of other areas that have shops, etc, of a particular ethnic persuasion, I think. And as I have said, we do have ghettos (I live in the one where Operation Trident was launched), but they are not particularly homogeneous.

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philjit
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Woolwich and Plumstead is pretty diverse (one of the reasons I love it).

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Old Post 01-02-2004 09:59 PM
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Diverse is the opposite of ghetto, as I see it. Ghettos aren't diverse, they tend to the homogeneous.

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Old Post 01-02-2004 10:00 PM
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philjit
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you can have diversity of ghettos in one area though.

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Old Post 01-02-2004 11:01 PM
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Smug Git
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That would be most of London. I don't think that we have the same ghettoisation that the US does; maybe it just takes longer to form than the UK has had time for, I don't know.

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tigerjez
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actually, the purpose of the thread really is not just to be an "america is better than europe" or vice versa contest. this issue is interesting because it is a much more open one in the US-- given the relative infancy/chaotic quality of our "culture." also, the notion of an EU itself raises issues of what is "european culture."

quote:
Originally posted by Smug Git
The concerns about 'identity crisis', which I have seen raised in this forum by Americans with regards to the need to restrict immigration into the US, are not a particularly big issue in the UK,


i don't know if i agree with this exactly. It may be more vocalized elsewhere, but it still appears to be a significant issue in the UK, and certainly has been as a matter of immigration law. Britain, for example, has had a restrictive, discriminatory, or carefully-controlled immigration policy since WWII. It has been a country of emigration rather than immigration. Post WWII, its immigration was intentionally limited to cheap labor. as a practical matter, that meant black or brown former colonials.

For lack of a better way of saying it, though, the Brits were a better, more organized Imperialist sovereign whose colonies had better infrastructure. Those immigrants who have come from the "new commonwealth" to mainland britain have not expected "british" culture to accomodate theirs. i don't mean they like being discriminated against, but that, for the most part, the cultural division is fully accepted on both sides. i.e. "british is british" and "indian is indian."

With America, however, our culture was a (turbulent) melting pot from the beginning. It is younger. There has been constant public turmoil over what we are. Thus, there has been a much stronger forum/argument for acceptance of those with great cultural differences as "true Americans."

quote:
I agree with you that the US of old (1870 to 1950, say) was the place to immigrate to and succeed or fall on your own merits, although at the same time there was racism of a degree not seen in the UK, for instance (and no surprise there, the UK was pretty much 100% white; the jewish and irish in England were not well loved, but they weren't living in the same sort of situation as Southern blacks, although that is a comment on diversity rather than immigration, as those blacks were not immigrants, but rather they were Americans). I don't think that the modern US is, nor that the record with regard to racial diversity is a proud one (nor is it the worst one around).


i would say the US is even more open-minded culturally now, and note that we were the ones who paved the way for civil rights law. in fact, you have to argue against a presumption of bigotry if you, quite reasonably, openly hold some tribal schlub from east africa with an FGM fetish in contempt. At least, this was the case pre 9/11.

I agree with the UK being all white-- and thus a little different in straight-up race analogy. but, you could compare slavery/racism in the US to the treatment of black/brown throughout the commonwealth & end up largely comparable. on racism alone, i still will say the US prevails over the UK. in 1772, for instance, there were about 15,000 black slaves in Britain. the Somerset case surely didn't guarantee them equality. The UK ended its slave trade in 1807, but slavery kept on in the empire until 1833. Even after that, you certainly can't argue that the white man saw the colonials all that differently from the way blacks were treated in America. can you? it's been a lot more publicized in America, but lynching has had just as nasty a history in the UK as here.... and the UK has had its own segregation laws, etc.

Also, it's kind of ironic that racism is often seen as only a black-white function. in the US, for example, the hispanics and the blacks more or less hate each other most places. i can't imagine the indians get along all that well with the arabs in the UK, do they?

-- tj

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Old Post 01-03-2004 12:17 AM
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Smug Git
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Actually, post WW2 we had pretty much free immigration from the commonwealth. You might be thinking of pre-WW2, although I don't know what controls there were, then. After WW2 the restriction was probably based on commonwealth/not commonwealth, although we did of course take a lot of Europeans who had fled Hitler (those that hadn't fled further afield, such as to the US).

I'm just saying that the issue is not that big in the UK from my perspective, of course, although that is the perspective of someone who lives there.

In regard of the way that the British viewed black people, there isn't anything that can be defended about the bigtry and exploitation directed to them. However, I would say that it wasn't as bad as the US. In the 1950s and 60s, blacks were not being denied the right to vote through stretching of literacy conditions that weren't applied equally to whites, nor was there the same official policy of segregation that existed in some Southern states. But I wouldn't defend the British actions either; my only point was that I don't consider the US to be an exemplar of dealing with diversity and used the UK as a comparison (I also don't consider the UK to be the exemplar for diversity), and that was my only real point in the sentence that you posted. There are tensions in the UK, too (along with riots, police rascism, etc).

Indians and arabs have no particular axe to grind as far as I am aware. Pakistanis and Indians, however, is a different matter, as you might expect.

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Old Post 01-03-2004 12:31 AM
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The worst example of a failure to make diversity work in the UK is (surprise!) in Northern Ireland, where the British government effectively ignored the gerrymandering carried out by the Protestant elite to keep the catholics down (it should also be noted that they didn't treat the protestant working class well either; the great failure of the civil rights movement of the 1960s was that it failed to bring those protestants into it).

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tigerjez
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quote:
Originally posted by Smug Git
Actually, post WW2 we had pretty much free immigration from the commonwealth. You might be thinking of pre-WW2, although I don't know what controls there were, then. After WW2 the restriction was probably based on commonwealth/not commonwealth, although we did of course take a lot of Europeans who had fled Hitler (those that hadn't fled further afield, such as to the US).


this is essentially what i was saying: immigration in the UK has been limited to those from within the British Commonwealth & to those colonials who have had a much more ingrained cultural caste system.

quote:
I'm just saying that the issue is not that big in the UK from my perspective, of course, although that is the perspective of someone who lives there.


this, i also don't disagree with too much... mostly for the differences i have pointed out. culture has been a much more nebulous concept in America. ironically because we have been more diverse from the outset.

quote:
However, I would say that it wasn't as bad as the US. In the 1950s and 60s, blacks were not being denied the right to vote through stretching of literacy conditions that weren't applied equally to whites, nor was there the same official policy of segregation that existed in some Southern states.


Again, I will disagree here or say some of the differences aren't as apparent because of the fact that the UK in 1960 only had 150,000 blacks out of 50 million people. Nevertheless, they had sufficient lynchings and riots to make it noteworthy. they also enacted laws which were entirely discriminatory. British seaman were openly segregated, for instance. I also thought their voting rights were heavily restricted... but i will have to look into that later.

As for the Indians and Arabs... I have not seen much love between the islamic muslim world and India.

-- tj

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Old Post 01-03-2004 12:48 AM
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Smug Git
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They must have brought segregation of British seamen after my grandfather left the navy, then (he was royal navy, as a gunner on merchant navy ships), or maybe they just suspended it during the war.

I am pretty sure that there was no restriction on the voting rights of British citizens (again, in Northern Ireland there was a different and lamentable situation).

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just wait a tick.

since when does diversity require homogeneity?
since when is diversity based ont he absense of difference, or sameness?


the ghetto phenomena within a single nation can actually be considered a pillar of diversity. there are all TYPES of areas in the US where you can live. we're not a melting pot, we're a pot where you can go and maintain your own cultural identity if you wish. Diversity is NOT homogeneity.

You can come here, find a place you want to live and do your own thing OR become assimilated into the prevailing culture. I'd say that's pretty fucking diverse.

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philjit
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quote:
Originally posted by tigerjez
the fact that the UK in 1960 only had 150,000 blacks out of 50 million people.


I'm not disputing this, but can you proide a source for the figure, either link or a reference point.

quote:
Originally posted by tigerjez
Nevertheless, [the UK] had sufficient lynchings and riots to make it noteworthy. they also enacted laws which were entirely discriminatory


Yes, we did have problems but they were only noteworthy due to the small size of this island. I'm not trying to say that the UK was any better than the US mind, but in comparison to the racist violence ours was much more limited. However, it did result in the introduction of the Commonwealth Immigration Bill in1972. Which essentially said that people from the Commonwealth no longer had the automatic right to stay unless they had been here for five years. It introduced work permits etc which are pretty much commonplace today around the Western world. It also offered to pay for repatriation costs. Is that the discriminatory law you are referring to? Personally I don't think it was necessarily discriminatory, it came into being precisely because we had zero controls on immigration in the post-war period.

quote:
Originally posted by tigerjez
I also thought their voting rights were heavily restricted... but i will have to look into that later.


I think you're confusing european nations from one another. Universal suffrage became law in the Britian in 1928 (Northern Ireland being the exception from that as Smug pointed out). Also , when what was called the British Commonwealth was formed, the right to vote in Britain was given to any person that was living in Britain whose country of origin was a Commonwealth member or a British dependency. That meant that someone could move from say Namibia to Britain, not get a British passport, but still be eligible to vote in local and general elections in Britian by virtue of having a Namibian passport.

Essentially, since the 1950s people of the following countries have been legally allowed to vote in Britain if they live here, without needing to take up British citizenship (i.e. they can do so with work permits that grant residency). Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Fiji, The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives Malta, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, St Christopher and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Western Samoa, Zambia. I'd say that was quite unrestrictive. Hell I didn't even know it myself until I looked into what you said.

Incidentally, as an aside this goes a little wider today. All British, Irish, Commonwealth or European Union citizens living in Britain have the right to vote (European Union citizens can only vote at European Parliamentary Elections and Local Elections though). I realise this is off topic somewhat now, but I'm curious, is there any equivalent of this kind of thing in the US? (as you do have a Commonwealth as I understand it).

Personally, I think one should have the right to vote wherever one lives if they pay income tax. Of course that means that they don't get the tax back as they do now. Actually, that leads me on to another question, if a Brit goes to work in the US then they obviously pay tax in the US, when they leave can they claim their tax back from the Government as an American can over here when the situation is reversed?

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Old Post 01-03-2004 08:39 AM
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There is a tendancy to reckon America as being typical of the east and west coast areas. Such is not the case. There is a vast heartland in America that has a radically different view of life (and of the signifigance and value of diversity) than do the Coast areashere is also a striation of class where the "intellectual elite"--mainly the university faculty members
are very different in their acceptance of ethnic diversity than are the heartland middle and working class who see only threat from diversity and do not consider it a holy grail as taught in the universities.

And I also would like a support for the 150,000 blacks in UK in 1960.
edited to delete one stupid oversight.

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Last edited by oxsan on 01-03-2004 at 09:29 AM

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Old Post 01-03-2004 09:23 AM
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philjit
Arch-Enemy of Idealism

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perhaps oxsan was the texan I was referring to above re: take away the West and East coast and you have anything but melting pot diversity?

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oxsan
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hil as a novel political idea we used to have a Texas politician who advocated that US citizens be allowed to vote on the basis of one vote for each dollar of income tax that they paid to the US. This would apply only to Federal elections. There is no state income tax in Texas. His name was J. Evetts Haley. He also had the idea that LBJ was behind the Kennedy assassinatioin. Just threw that in for chuckles.

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SimpleSimon
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Registered: Dec 2002
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quote:
Originally posted by Phil
I'm not disputing this, but can you proide a source for the figure, either link or a reference point.......


......Personally, I think one should have the right to vote wherever one lives if they pay income tax. Of course that means that they don't get the tax back as they do now. Actually, that leads me on to another question, if a Brit goes to work in the US then they obviously pay tax in the US, when they leave can they claim their tax back from the Government as an American can over here when the situation is reversed?



To answer your question: No.

Do you, as a Brit residing in say, the US, still have to pay UK income tax on income earned in the US in addition to the US taxes on that same income?

Americans working abroad have to pay local taxes and still have to pay US income taxes as well, on the same income.

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Old Post 01-03-2004 05:32 PM
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