Pick Your Road: The U.S. vs. Europe
By Bryan Caplan
In the U.S., we have low gas taxes, low car taxes, few tolls, strict zoning that leads developers to provide lots of free parking, low speed limits, lots of traffic enforcement, and lots of congestion.
In Europe (France and Germany specifically), they have high gas taxes, high car taxes, lots of tolls, almost no free parking, high speed limits (often none at all), little traffic enforcement, and very little congestion. (The only real traffic jam I endured in Europe was trying to get into Paris during rush hour. I was delayed about 30 minutes total).
If you had to pick one of these two systems, which would you prefer? Or to make the question a little cleaner, if there were two otherwise identical countries, but one had the U.S. system and the other had the Euro system, where would you decide to live?
Much as it pains me to admit, I would choose to live in the country with the Euro system. If you’re at least upper-middle class, the convenience is worth the price. Yes, this is another secret way that Europe is better for the rich, and the U.S. for everyone else.