The Rush To Mediocrity

The likes of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and most of the MInnesota DFL genuflect toward the Europeans for their economic advice.

Inconvenient fact:  all of Europe’s economies would fit tidily within the bottom third of US states:

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.

Maybe they all need to go to war with us again.

7 thoughts on “The Rush To Mediocrity

  1. It would be interesting to see this chart and how it would change via the standard cost of living index because if you make 72K in North Dakota and and 58K in California its nowhere near apples to apples > In Order to have a smiliar lifestyle to the 72K in ND you would probably need to make 95-110k in CA

  2. Elaborating on PoD, I spent a couple weeks walking in the North of Spain this Spring. The exchange rate was one Euro to $1.25. An 8-ounce glass of tap beer or a cup of café con leche cost 2 Euro which was $2.50. A three-course sit-down meal with dessert and a glass of wine was 10 Euro which is $12.00. Nobody expected tips. An ordinary American could live well over there.

  3. The big difference in European and U.S. living standards, in my view, is that we get much bigger homes with AC, and we do a lot more driving. If you can abide living in an apartment or condo and learn to walk to shops, you can do well.

    Those small homes probably also explain a part of those dismal European birth rates. If you don’t have a place for the baby, you probably don’t choose to have it!

  4. we also work more, and make more, I think the average work week across the EU is 35 hours and 6-8 weeks of vacation typically. They are also nowhere near as productive as well. We work hard so the Europeans can be lazy. Its been that way since WWII

  5. That is correct BB. We’ve lived in Europe and there are lifestyle differences. Europeans don’t tend to entertain in their homes; these tend to be smaller and not conducive to having a bunch of people over for a party – especially if you’re going to cook for them as well. They get together with friends at restaurants or bars, and I’d say that’s the norm. You also don’t have your big kitchens/refrigerators/SUVs for handling a lot of groceries. Instead of the U.S. suburbanite heading to Cub and loading a week or two weeks’ worth of groceries in the back of the van, in a European city you get off the tram or bus after work at your stop, go into the bodega there, and buy enough groceries for that evening and maybe the next morning. Then you walk the block or two home. You really are limited to what you can carry.

    To be sure, this is a difference in “lifestyle” more than “quality of life”. My wife, personally, loved the shop/cook model of Prague and Budapest. When the couple that my daughter nannied for invited us to their home for dinner we knew it was a special effort. The couple – a well-to-do husband and wife pair of lawyers, with two small children – had a very nice apartment, but it was small. Four rooms (counting bath) and the kitchen/living room/dining room was a single room smaller than my living room. It was no more than they needed, though their definition of “need” is different than ours!

  6. @PoD It’s a crude measure, but the difference between poverty rates indexed and unindexed with cost of living at a state-by-state level is here.

    Interestingly, MN’s poverty rate is unchanged by this measure. WI’s poverty rate drops a fair bit. And near as I can tell, the poverty rate drops the most in NM (-4.8%) and rises the most in CA (+5.6%).

  7. Another thing people havent brought up directly is population density as a whole, Europes landmass as a whole is I believe 75% is sq mi/km of what the US is, well the mainland, throw in Alaska and it screws it up. Europe’s populatioin is ~850 million, ours is ~350 million. That plays a huge facor in this as well.

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