You're comparing apples and oranges by comparing the USA to Holland. To accurately do so you must factor in the cost of health care in the USA as well because it's in there for the Dutch. Any program that we pay for outside our taxes that they have included in their taxes has to be factored in.<quoted text>
I took a second look at the list and it's considerably higher cost of living but then the fuel is so high and that simply effects every single thing. Here in america we are so independent because we have cars to go whenever wherever we choose to go and there they use public transit and good ol' muscle power and ride bikes.
I like to be independent myself :)
The one area that is disproportionate is fuel. But even that is mitigated by the incredible train/transportation system in most of Western Europe. We went all over Western Europe on the trains which in most cases are quicker than driving. Parking is impossible in Europe (as it is in most major American Cities) and it's simply easier to take the train. Once in Hamburg Germany the train was due in 3 minutes. I told the wife I'd be right back and was going to grab a bratwurst off a cart further down the track. She grabbed me and said "you are not missing this train". If the train is due at 1:03 it will pull in and open it's doors at exactly 1:03. If it says it leaves the station at 1:05 it will leave at exactly 1:05.
Another time we went to Amsterdam in a rental car. Drove around two hours in the central district (where our hotel reservations were for), ended up parking some five miles from our hotel, took a trolley into the Hotel and worried all night about the car. Amsterdam has thousands of bicycles just sitting in racks. Need one? Take it and ride to where you're going and put in a rack there. Guys in Armani business suits riding bikes. Blond model looking girls riding bikes. Everyone was riding a bike. So we rode a bike and had a great time.
The same "boot" of beer that costs 16.00 at the Tulsa State fair? Costs 5 guilders in the tourist zone of Amsterdam back in the 90's. Less in Germany, slightly more in Paris and so on. But it never came close to what we paid in Tulsa.
"Cost of living" is all relative to your hatred of socialism. My father in law who was a fairly wealthy German and his wife retired to the USA because their children were here. He did a two or three year study comparing all costs including hidden, excise, every tax possible by both countries. He found that Germans pay almost 10% less of their money to the government than Americans do. He was surprised, I was surprised and you need to be aware that socialism is not the problem. Government is.