David Cay Johnson has a great piece out debunking the myths about taxes. He notes that although the US has a lower tax rate than other first world countries like Germany, that citizens in those countries get better services than we do.
A proper comparison would take the 30 percent average tax on American workers and add their out-of-pocket spending on health care, college tuition and fees for services, and compare that with taxes that the average German pays. Add it all up and the combination of tax and personal spending is roughly equal in both countries, but with a large risk of catastrophic loss in America, and a tiny risk in Germany.
Americans take on $85 billion of debt each year for higher education, while college is financed by taxes in Germany and tuition is cheap to free in other modern countries. While soaring medical costs are a key reason that since 1980 bankruptcy in America has increased 15 times faster than population growth, no one in Germany or the rest of the modern world goes broke because of accident or illness. And child poverty in America is the highest among modern countries—almost twice the rate in Germany, which is close to the average of modern countries.
In our country some Americans do really, really well, and for many others, well, just pray that the bad risk tail doesn't fall you.