"Who" has a lower standard of living. France has a much larger middle class than the US does. So does Germany and many of the others. I owld say thhat there top has a lower standard of living, but their middle and bottom do not.<quoted text>
Even in the "strong" countries, their standard of living is lower than ours. I've lived in France. I have in-laws over there and I get over often enough to know what socialism has done to their country. There just comes a point when Peter has been robbed too much to so that Paul can be more equal. You've mentioned social security and medicare but the difference there is that the beneficiaries mostly also paid into those systems. However, when we start taking and taking so that we can just give it away to others who contributed nothing, then you start to have a collapse. That is the situation the "strong countries" in Europe are finding themselves. It is the road that liberals are trying to march us down in this country now.
What problems do the Germans or French have that are worse than our own? We spend $10 more on defence, they spend $10 more on their people. How does that play differently to their taxation and payout system?