Depends where you do your shopping, though prices are kind of fair considering you get back so much more back from society. Our taxes pays for free schooling, healthcare and dental care up to a certain age etc. After that it's quite affordable, so you won't get ruined even if you're a low income taker.
Indirect taxes: Electronics etc; 25% Food, hotels and such; 12% Books, magazines, transports and similar; 6%
Then you have direct taxes such as income tax, generally 20-25% and it vary depending on how much you earn. Generally the more you earn the more taxes you pay.
If you only visit here briefly, then it might be expensive, but if you live here you gain much more out of it in the long run :-)
There's some problem with the machinery that creates those contractions for us. I guess it isn't all that easy to write an algorithm that doesn't create contractions in places where they're incorrect. (the current machinery actually does that too in a few cases). I've added it manually now for this sentence.
Yeah, that works fine. One should note that most English speakers outside of Europe (i.e. the United States and the Commonwealth) probably wouldn't be too familiar with referring to something expensive, costly, pricey, etc. as "dear".