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TOO MUCH FOCUS ON PRIVATE GAIN?

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America sometimes makes its friends weep. It espouses democracy worldwide, yet at home it advocates a brand that puts far too much emphasis on private gain and insufficient on the public good.

Europeans have traditionally opted for a higher combination of taxes and public spending than the United States. Statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris show that total tax receipts as a percentage of gross domestic product are 29.8 percent in the United States, against a European Community average of 41.2 percent.It is fashionable to decry the high tax/high spending regime in Europe, but almost every public opinion survey shows that Europeans prefer things that way. They want decent social infrastructure; and they like to go out at night.

-William Keegan

London Observer Service