One day over lunch as I was wynging (whining) about the high British tax rate, a classmate informed me that people don't move to England to make lots of money. They come here for a nice way of life.
I have learned since my husband started work here that this is true. While the tax rate and cost of living is higher, the income is the same as if working in New York City, the lifestyle is, in fact, better: instead of working 16-18 hour days, my husband works 12-14 hour days, and usually just a few hours on a Saturday for the entire weekend. This weekend is the first he has had to work more than a couple of hours on Saturday and at all on Sunday. But generally, his weekends are entirely flexible.
I'm sure there are those whose hours are worse, but overall, it seems people have a better standard of living here and that, for the most part, my classmate was right: the way of life is very nice. I've decided I'll take this trade-off, any day.
I told him as much in another lunch, and we discussed another difference between cultures/political systems. In both countries, there is an expectation of those in the higher tax brackets to give to the poor. However, in the U.S., the expectation is culturally-enforced. Here, it's taken via taxes. But people don't take kindly to wynging about taxes. It's considered a duty to pay for other's healthcare, but that's a topic for another post...