THE NETHERLANDS: The Unhappy Taxpayer

Fredericus U J.H. Witte is a Dutchman bothered by taxes. When he sees a jet fighter plane overhead he thinks to himself: "During my whole lifetime I won't earn half of what that plane costs." On the bitter morning in February 1957 when The Netherlands' bureaucracy finally produced his 1955 tax bill, Witte exploded in anger. As an assistant bookkeeper for a Rotterdam housing association, Witte, 57, was sure of his own figures. The tax collector, he fumed, had made a mistake.

Cooling off, Fredericus Witte wrote a reasoned letter of protest. "I consider it very disturbing," he began, and at...

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