October 15, 2005

EU Rota Takes a Long Post Off of My To-Do List (Comparing US vs. EU Economies)

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 1:29 pm

He compares GDP between individual US States and various EU countries, and also notes the relative percentage ownership of various “creature comforts.” He also looks at how “the poor” in America somehow manage to so often have many of these creature comforts, and shows that America’s poor have more space to live in than the general population in most EU countries.

Yet the media worldwide like to portray America as a land where large numbers of us are one day’s pay away from financial disaster. Some indeed are, but large numbers? No.

Back in December 2000, George Will wrote about US attitudes:

“Americans quickly come to think of pleasures as entitlements.”

Yes, he was being harsh on us at the time, as the stock market was in the midst of a steep decline and the economy was into a slowdown no one wished to recognize (after all, George W. Bush’s inauguration was still a few weeks away). Yes, many Americans at the time were acting like “the crybaby of the Western world.” 911 cured most of that for most us.

But the point as it relates to this post is this: Nowhere in history has continued economic properity enabled a country to collectively think that way (turning “pleasures” into entitlements, which I would prefer to think of as “purchasing goals”) so quickly and so successfully. Wireless phones (one each for everyone in the family), cable TV (piped in to multiple TV sets), Internet access (high-speed, for multiple computers), lawn-care service, and many other things were indeed considered frills, even luxuries, not that many years ago, but are now they are almost typical.

Of course, the dangers of excessive materialism and selfishness exist in such a mindset. And certainly some have succumbed. But as a group, we have no reason to hang our heads:

In fact, Americans give twice as much as Europeans. Even discounting for self-serving tax shelters, trust funds and evangelical movements, real charity in America is huge. Only, the average American likes to send money directly rather than support a federal bureaucracy.”

So the deal here in The States is: As long as you participate in the economy in a meaningful way, and have just a bit of patience, chances are that you will be able to afford most, if not all, of these things, and more. Can anyone say that about the countries of Western Contintental Europe?

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