Final Word from Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Czechs with a bit of money and free time can take a shopping trip to the U.S. that pays for itself in the savings. The dollar is at a record low against the crown, which makes electronics, clothing and luxury items especially attractive in the U.S. But it's not just the weak dollar. The U.S. is a shopper's paradise because of fierce competition, relatively low taxes made possible by huge government borrowing, and the lack of a national sales tax. (The Democrats' new Senate leader, Harry Reid, said the EU system, with both income taxes and VAT, is the worst of all worlds.) Clever shoppers can even avoid the state taxes in the U.S. by buying on the internet. Of course Czechs wanting to take advantage of the bargains will have to get a visa and perhaps submit themselves to the new security grope-downs. But that might be a small price to pay for savings that can exceed 50%. Czech Republic United States of America value-added tax

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