The United States is often seen as a leader in the world when it comes to freedom. But, there are many ways where other countries may be more free than the US. In an online discussion, people worldwide shared the freedoms their countries have that the US doesn't; the following are the top fifteen responses.
1. No Taxes on Lottery Winnings
A Canadian shared that you don't have to pay taxes on lottery winnings in Canada. On the other hand, in the US, you must pay taxes on all gambling winnings, including lotteries, making them take home much less than their Canadian counterparts.
2. No License to Sell Street Food
According to an Indonesian, you could cook food, load it in your car, park on the side of a street, and sell the food from your car without a license or permit. You'd have to jump through a few bureaucratic hoops in the US before selling food by the roadside.
3. Low-Cost Ambulance
Someone shared that in many countries worldwide, people can travel to hospitals in an Ambulance for free or at an extremely low cost. This means people don't have to worry about how they will afford an ambulance ride in an emergency situation. Whereas in the US, an ambulance ride can cost between $500-$5,000 depending on the distance and services required.
4. Proper Parental Leave
Parents in Estonia have the freedom to take time off to care for their newborn without worrying about loss of job or income. An Estonian remarked that Estonia has eighteen months of paid parental leave. It can be taken by either parent or shared between the two. Plus, the government matches the parental salary up to a point. In the US, parents legally qualify for 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
5. Free University Education
According to a Brazilian, in Brazil, most of the best universities are the public ones. The citizens can get a degree without going into debt. In the US, on the other hand, many people are saddled with crippling student loan debt or don't attend university because of the cost of higher education.
6. Recreational Fishing Without a License
One Korean shared that only corporate fishermen need a fishing license in Korea. Anyone can go recreational fishing without a license. Whereas a fishing permit is mandatory for recreational fishing in every state of the US.
7. Freedom to Roam
One Scottish man shared that you have the right to roam in Scotland. You can walk almost anywhere you want to, even on private land, as long as you don't litter and close gates behind you. This allows the citizens of Scotland to explore freely without worrying about trespassing. Trespassing is considered a serious offense in the US that could get you in trouble.
8. No Speed Limit on the Freeway
One German said that in Germany, there's a freeway known as the Autobahn, and you can drive as fast as you can as long as your car can handle it. On the other hand, in the US, the highway speed limit ranges from 25 mph (40 km/h) to 85 mph (137 km/h). Anything above that is considered a criminal offense.
9. Freedom to Nap in Your Car
One Polish person shared that in Poland, anyone can nap in their car parked on a sidewalk, and police won't bother them, only to check if they're okay. The citizens of the US have to ensure they aren't violating any parking restrictions before sleeping in their cars.
10. Free Childbirth
Women in the UK don't have to worry about the cost of medical care when having a baby. One woman from the UK shared that they can have a baby for free. In the US, on the other hand, people pay thousands of dollars to give birth at the hospital.
11. Freedom to Live in a Tent Anywhere
Mongolia allows its citizens to live a nomadic lifestyle without being harassed by the authorities. A Mongolian said that their people can live in tents and yurts anywhere. While in the US, people can be immediately ejected by the police and considered trespassers.
12. Body Autonomy
Women in Australia can make decisions about their pregnancy without worrying about government interference. An Australian said that in Australia, they have the freedom to have an abortion, no questions asked. In the US, these laws are hotly debated and vary based on the state in which you reside.
13. Walkable Cities
The US is known for having less walkable cities than its international counterparts. Someone said that in many countries, citizens are free to go places without being dependent on cars. Walkable cities are available, especially for simple things like getting groceries and going to work/school. No one is stranded at home because they're too young/old/disabled to drive a car.
14. Clear Your Record of Minor Crimes
One UK resident shared that in the UK, citizens have the freedom to clear their record of minor crimes after years of good behavior. In the US, offenses will remain on your criminal indefinitely. Although there are ways to have your record expunged, it's a long process that costs hundreds of dollars.
15. Free Family Planning
Young people in the UK can make decisions about their reproductive health without having to worry about influence from their parents. According to one UK resident, the UK has free family planning, which doesn't require parental approval. In the US, these rules differ based on your location.
This post was inspired by this thread.
She started her blog, The Money Dreamer, when she realized the 9-5 job was not the lifestyle she wanted anymore. After designing for a while, she wanted a more meaningful life, which was freedom, so she decided to venture out. She took action so that she can live her dream life and decided to help people to live theirs by helping them how to save, budget, and invest.