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Opinion
Tyler Cowen

Life Is Good in America, Even by European Standards

2022 may be remembered as the year when living standards in the US truly pulled away from those in Western Europe.

A newly restarted coal plant in Germany. 

A newly restarted coal plant in Germany. 

Photographer: Friso Gentsch/picture alliance via Getty Images

2022 may be remembered as the year when living standards in the US truly pulled away from those in Western Europe. One concrete piece of evidence is the collapse of the euro to parity with the dollar, or lower yet, but there is also a more general sense that the gap is widening.

The old narrative was simple: Per capita incomes in the US might range 30% higher or more, but Western European lifestyles are less stressful and more relaxing. European health care systems, and their near-universal coverage, are also superior.