Monday, February 14, 2005

Cowboy Capitalism Heeyah!

Olaf Gersemann, a correspondent for Wirtchaftwoche (the Economy this week) debunks the myths floating among the Euro-left about the U.S. economy in his recently released book "Cowboy Capitalism":

Myth: The U.S. unemployment rate is lower than that of the European Union largely because America imprisons a greater proportion of its citizens.

Fact: The growth in the number of prison inmates in the United States contributed only about .1 to .2 percentage points to the reduction of unemployment between 1985 and 1998. The actual difference in unemployment between most European countries and the US is, of course around 4 full points, nowhere near that .1 or .2 percent

Myth: America is a stratified society with a small handful of wealthy individuals and lots of low-income families, with no middle class in between.

Fact: Measured in 2002 dollars, the share of U.S. households that made $35,000 to $100,000 was 44.5 percent in 2002. That makes the middle class the single largest segment in the US population by a large margin.

Myth: In the U.S. the rich do not pay their fair share of taxes.

Fact: The top 10% of high-income US households pay 65% of all income tax while in Germany that top 10% pays under 50% of the income tax and other European countries follow similar patterns of having very small wealthy classes which pay very little real tax.

Myth: In the U.S. the poor are growing more numerous.

Fact: Between 1972 and 2002 the share of U.S. households with under $35,000 income per year, adjusted for inflation, declined from 44.9% to 40.6%. BTW, that poverty level is higher than the average income in most European nations.

Myth: European welfare provides better for the most needy.

Fact: The poorest 30% on welfare rolls in the U.S. receive 40% of the total benefits paid. In comparison the poorest third receive only 20% in Italy and 30% in France and Germany. This means that the US system weights distribution of welfare more towards the most poor than do European systems. In addition, the official poverty level in the US is almost double that of most European nations when adjusted for relative consumer prices, yet our total number of poor is no higher and the quality of life for our poor is enormously better.


So, the next time a Europhilic Leftist turns up his nose at the oppressive capitalist regime here in America and how our wealthy plutocrats ride over the plundered bodies of our mass of poor and oppressed people, point out to them that in every category of comparison Americans are better off than the equivalent class in Europe and that we have fewer poor, fewer unemployed, less disparity of wealth, an enormously higher standard of living - and then laugh when you tell them we pay about 30% lower taxes too.

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