Economics focus: Don’t look down | The Economist
America is far less inclined than many of its rich-world peers to use taxation and redistribution to reduce inequality. The OECD, a think-tank, reckons that taxation eats up a little less than 30% of the average American’s total compensation, compared with nearly 50% in Germany and France. America’s top federal income-tax rate of 35% is lower than in many other advanced economies (although most Americans also pay state taxes). Britain’s top tax rate is 50%. Swedes and Danes acquiesce to tax rates that would outrage many Americans: Sweden’s top rate is 57% and Denmark’s is 55%. Unsurprisingly, the American state is also less generous to the poor. Unemployment benefits in the United States replace a smaller share of income, and run out more quickly, than in most European countries.