Here’s something you’ll never hear from our liberal friends about America: just how rich it is.
You’re much more likely to hear of how we’re “failing” our poor by not having our government provide the more-generous benefits that the European welfare states tend to provide.
But guess what? If you had to be born in a random US State or random European nation, your standard of living would be much higher in America – despite the freebies you may receive in some European nation (such as socialized medicine, subsidized college, etc.)
Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute has done the math on it – comparing the cost of living (purchasing power parity, or PPP) adjusted average incomes among the US States and Europe.
The results are below. Keep in mind that these figures are not adjusted for taxes – which tend to be much higher in Europe.
Most European countries (including Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium) if they joined the US, would rank among the poorest one-third of US states on a per-capita GDP basis, and the UK, France, Japan and New Zealand would all rank among America’s very poorest states, below No. 47 West Virginia, and not too far above No. 50 Mississippi. Countries like Italy, S. Korea, Spain, Portugal and Greece would each rank below Mississippi as the poorest states in the country.
What if we look at the statistics a bit differently, measuring consumption instead of income? Such a measurement would account for transfers between the rich and poor.
The results aren’t much different:
As Milton Friedman famously pointed out, “you can’t redistribute wealth without destroying the incentives to create wealth.”
Keep that quote – and these numbers – in mind next time someone says we should be more like Europe.
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