Collection abc – H is for House, Helping and How true

Here is the “H” installment of my abc collection. I choose about three words and write about them trying to relate them to Switzerland or the Swiss. This week’s words start with “h”. “H” is for house, helping and how true.

housing, helping and how trueis for House

If you have any money, the government shoves you in the creek once a year with it in your pockets. All the money that does not get wet you can keep.
~ Will Rogers

Taxes aren’t really all that bad. After all, they keep the infrastructure working. Especially here in Switzerland, the streets are more or less without potholes and the public transportation works. Our taxes pay for lots and lots of other things, too. But sometimes taxes aren’t as cut and dry as they seem. At times it would be nice to figure out exactly how they work. Sometimes it’s as clear as muddy water, if you ask me. Take your house, for example.

If you renovate your home you can deduct it from your taxes. That’s good. On the other hand, you have to pay taxes on a fictional income from the rent that you would get if you were renting. But, of course, you don’t pay yourself a rent so there is no additional income. Nonetheless, you have to pay taxes on the money that you don’t see. On the other hand, if you have a mortgage it is deductable from that fictional income. Now if we could only figure out how to pay fictional taxes on that fictional income.

housing, helping and how trueis for Helping

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
~ William James

Lots of what Swiss do makes and has made a difference. Helping others seems to be a positive Swiss trait. Okay, maybe not only the Swiss have this trait but this is a blog about Switzerland so I guess I’m allowed that comment.

Helping others comes in many different forms. Here are a few Swiss who have made a difference to Switzerland and the world.

Henri Dunant was the co-founder of the Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva (now the ICRC). The over 150 year old organization responds to disasters and emergencies to help people affected by armed conflict.

Claude Nicollier was the first (and at the moment only) Swiss astronaut. He has helped create flight software and retrieval techniques among other things.

The family Piccard. A family of scientists and explorers who went high (stratosphere) and low (deepest dive). The youngest, Bertrand, is researching the use of solar energy in planes.

Nicholas von der Flue was honored for helping to prevent a Swiss civil war (back in the 15th century).

Huldrych Zwingli was the leader of the Reformation in Switzerland.

Those are just a few of the people who have helped make a difference in Switzerland and the world.

housing, helping and how trueis for How True

Nothing is as frustrating as arguing with someone who knows what he is talking about.
~ Sam Ewing

I don’t like to argue, I go out of my way not to. But, if I were the arguing type I certainly wouldn’t want to argue with a Swiss. It seems to me that they (or at least the people I know) always know what they are talking about. They get their facts straight and know their dates.

My husband, for example, is a walking and talking history book, calculator and trivial expert all in one. I have a calendar that has famous people along with their dates for everyday. For fun I quiz Ben when their birth-year and death was and I would say about 95% of the time he gets them right. I should know better but it still amazes me. A lot of these people I have never even heard of. You can broach on any subject and he is knowledgeable. You need some math calculated? He’s faster than you can pull out your calculator – and correct. It would be fruitless to try and argue with someone like that, so I don’t even try. Lucky for me I don’t like to argue.

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