Scholars have resorted to cultural traits to explain our reluctance to pay for our government.Alberto Alesina, an Italian-born economist at Harvard, contrasts American individualism rooted in the belief that effort brings success with Europeans’ belief in state redistribution — born of Europe’s long history of inherited wealth. Americans who think they have a fair shot at striking it rich vote against high taxes on their expected future wealth. Europeans who believe wealth is mostly a matter of luck and connections are less resistant to paying taxes for collective welfare.
I couldn’t agree more with the idea of an inherent cultural difference. In my day job I deal with complaints from around the globe. Americans tend to be more entitled by default than just about any other country we deal with. We want more for less. We only want the good deal, even if it comes at a later cost.