Biking to work is fun, healthy, and in Europe it’s subsidized. Really.
In Holland, every employer can offer an employee the right to buy a 500 Euro bike every three years with pre-tax dollars. Given marginal tax rates and average income there, that’s the equivalent of an $1000 subsidy from the government. Wow, the Dutch are really doing their part to fight congestion and global warming.
But every subsidy has to be paid for. Why do Dutch truckers and taxi drivers have to pay higher taxes so that University professors can buy fancy new “fahrrads?” Why does the government need to pay people to do something they might do already? And why is bike manufacturing so special?
Maybe bike building is essential to Dutch culture. And maybe the small Dutch roads just can’t handle more cars. But the story of this subsidy reminds me that there are no atheists in foxholes, and no conservatives when subsidies are handed out.
Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
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